Lubbock's Wooten, now charged, had past ties to White House - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/21/10

Lubbock's Wooten, now charged, had past ties to White House

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By James Clark | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – A Lubbock man now charged in federal court for failing to pay his state business taxes was once investigated by the FBI and special prosecutors in a case that goes all the way to the White House.

KCBD NewsChannel 11 broke the story last week that Mike Wooten was charged with Misprision of a Felony related to the now defunct West Texas Lighting. Court records say the underlying charge is wire fraud, and Misprision is a lesser charge with a statutory maximum of three years in prison.

Wooten is the nephew of Linda Medlar Jones. She was the mistress of President Clinton's nominee for Secretary of HUD or Housing & Urban Development Henry Cisneros.  Jones was sentenced in early 1998 to more than three years in prison for conspiracy and lying to the FBI. 

Court records indicated that she was demanding money from Cisneros, which was well publicized starting in 1994.  An official government report says "payments to Medlar... could be construed as 'hush money.'"

What was not so well publicized was Mike Wooten's role in Jones' life and how he, in at least one instance, helped funnel money from a friend of Cisneros to his Lubbock business WTL and ultimately to Jones.

But that's not what caught the eye of special prosecutors.  According to a final report released by prosecutors in August 2004, Wooten approached a company that was bidding on HUD business.  Wooten asked for a 20% consulting fee.   Meanwhile, according to the final report, Jones was using her influence to get that same company the benefit of special treatment in the bidding process.

The special prosecutors believe that if Wooten and Jones had been successful, then Jones would have demanded less hush money from Cisneros.  The company in question was upgraded in bid scoring, without explanation, from "not competitive" to among the top three in the bidding.  However, ultimately the company did not win the bid.

Why not file charges for it?  The report says, "Although the evidence reviewed above suggests that Cisneros … had improperly sought to divert HUD business to … benefit Medlar, her family, and Cisneros, there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that such a scheme was implemented."

Is any of this related to Wooten's current case?  KCBD NewsChannel 11 does not know yet.  Sources close to Wooten's former business say there is much more to the story and they don't understand why Wooten faces reduced charges. 

For now we continue to follow the court case and hope to get more insight as time goes on.

(Click here) to see the final report by the Office of Independent Counsel.  It is 4.1 Mb and might take a while to load.

(Correction: in the first posted version, the word "not" was missing in the 7th paragraph)

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