Supreme Court Justice Medina takes heat from Ethics Commission
Texas Supreme Court Justice David Medina has run afoul of state authorities for failing to file a personal financial statement on time, then not paying the required $500 late fee, according to documents from the Texas Ethics Commission.
State officeholders and candidates were required to file the annual statement of personal assets and investments on April 30. A member of the state’s highest civil court since 2004, Medina did not file his statement until June 30 and has not paid the $500 late fee. He did not immediately respond a request for comment Friday.
Medina’s case has been referred to the Office of the Attorney General for collection of the $500 and to the Comptroller’s Office for warrant hold proceedings, according to a letter dated July 22 to Medina from Becky L. Levy, director of the TEC’s disclosure filings division.
Referral to the Comptroller’s warrant hold proceedings means Medina’s salary could be withheld until his debt to the state is settled. The annual salary for a Supreme Court associate justice is $150,000.
Levy sent letters to Medina on March 30 reminding him of the April 30 deadline, on May 18 notifying him of the delinquency and again on June 2 saying the TEC would refer him to the AG and comptroller.
The penalty for failing to file a personal financial statement on time ranges from $500 to $10,000 and is determined by the TEC.
In the financial statement, Medina lists his occupation as “Texas Supreme Court Justice” and reports owning stock in Cooper Industries Inc., an electrical equipment company based in Houston and Ireland. Medina has worked as a member of Cooper’s legal team in between his tenures as a judge. He does not report any gifts of more than $250, interest payments, real estate assets or business associations.
Medina is the only state officeholder currently on the TEC’s list of late filers of ethics reports.
It is not the first time Medina has been delinquent with disclosure requirements. According to the Texas Register Archive, maintained by the University of North Texas, Medina failed to comply with campaign finance report requirements on time in 2001, 2002 and 2003, during which time he worked for Cooper.
Medina and his wife were thrust into the spotlight in January 2008, when they were indicted for fabricating evidence and arson, respectively, in connection with a fire that destroyed their Houston-area home in summer 2007. The Harris County District Attorney dismissed the indictments almost immediately. A second jury indicted Francisca Medina in April 2008, but those charges were dismissed in August 2009 due to insufficient evidence.
Medina, who competed on Southwest Texas State University’s karate team, is the subject of a recent YouTube video where he spars with a law clerk, via the Supreme Court of Texas Blog. Medina is next up for election in 2012.
(Photo: Flickr Creative Commons/mrbill)