Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Zoo contributor dodged indictment for gambling

Multi-county "8-liner" operation

Waco – The Cameron Park Zoological Gardens are situated on 52 acres of rambling vines and scrubby woods just uphill from the Pecan Bottoms on the banks of the Brazos River.

Mornings resound with the sound of white-handed gibbons hooting and hollering to defend their territory beside a couple of waterfalls on a pond beside a cave where they spend their days swinging through a series of ropes and tree branches.

The disappearing species is native to Burma, Thailand and Malaysia. They swing through foliage, taking 10-foot leaps and walking on tree branches as if they are tight ropes, balancing with their long arms. Males rarely grow to be more than 20 pounds; females are substantially smaller. They drink by licking the water from their white-skinned hands.

The zoo is beautiful, filled with rare species such as the American bald eagle, rhinos, tiny dik dik antelope, and elephants.

Everything has a price tag, it seems, and everything is marked by a plaque to let visitors know who paid for it. For instance, an attractive waterfall that spills into the little pond where the centerpiece exhibit of white-handed gibbons lives says it was donated by the Waco Realtors Association.

Real Estate.

There is an item for you. Area law enforcement administrators to this day talk about the slick deals a seasoned real estate operator made to hang on to his assets that were in danger of forfeiture when they were the subject of an illegal gambling investigation. The fact that he used the zoo as a bargaining chip is a source of wonder to these hardboiled detectors of crime.

Real Estate financier Jim Hawkins and his wife Nell are “Visionary” contributors to the zoo, having devoted a million-plus dollars to its design and upkeep. There are various grades of benefactors, including Guardians at $500,000; Sustainers at $250,000 an Conservators at $100,000.

Mr. Hawkins's Jhawk Enterprises is in the Conservator class of corporate contributors.

Mr. Hawkins is also the campaign treasurer for Chief Deputy Randy Plemons, a candidate for McLennan County Sheriff.

A former principal of mortgage derivative securities packager First City Financial Corporation, Mr. Hawkins operates as Jhawk1.

A number of years ago, the family business took on marginal commercial properties at a couple of locations on Waco Drive in this city, developing them as illegal 8-liner gambling parlors that used the popular machinesto entice compulsive gamblers into games of chance against the odds of the machine coming up with a favorable combination of computer chip-generated numbers.

When the number of free games they won were totaled up, investigators learned in Falls, McLennan and Bosque Counties, they were paid off in cash.

Of course, that practice is illegal.

That's when law enforcement in those jurisdictions moved in to confiscate the machines, initiate forfeiture proceedings on the properties, and otherwise encumber the assets.

In Waco, police were frustrated – stymied – by city management because Mr. Hawkins's contributions to the zoo were threatened by his coming indictment.

Word among the top brass in city and state law enforcement circles, Mr. Hawkins threatened to withdraw his financial support of the zoo.

Thus arranging leniency, his lawyers entered in countersuits as an intervenor in the forfeiture actions, praying for the relief of allowing him to take possession of the properties in which he was a lienholder, then sell them, along with the gambling machines, and thus recoup his losses.


  1. Actually, I believe his former son-in-law, Tony Martin took the rap for it. At what price? As Waco turns a blind eye...

  2. Reading this sheds light on why Plemons campaign has been run so dirty. I keep hearing from friends, who they know as their employees, tell tall tales about Plemons oppoent McNamara. Everyone in law enforcement realizes that Plemons is grossly underqualifed, even with all the misdirection and outright fibs told by his main backer Sheriff Lynch. Everyday, the sories get more unbelievable. I'm just waiting until they get to the point where Lynch is telling people that highly renown US Deputy Marshal McNamara, despite all his public appearances, doesn't really exist.

    I do take heed in the fact that when a political opponent has to stoop to making up lies to tell people, it is a clear sign that they are losing the battle and they know it.

    But the lies aren't the only thing that concern me about the Plemons backers. I am hearing a growing number of reports from business owners that support Marshal McNamara. I keep hearing the same story that when Plemons cronies spot a local business supporting the real lawman instead of their favor granting paper candidate, these deputies, and yes I said DEPUTIES, are going into these businesses threatening to ruin these private businesses if they don't support paper cop Plemons. No wonder these deputies have gotten such a bad rep if they are actually bullying lawful business owners who are exercising their rights to chose and support a candidate of their chosing. I guess the Constitution is the one piece of paper that paper cop Plemons doesn't have on his wall.

    I wouldn't have believed it myself if it weren't for the fact that gambling kingping Hawkins was the Treasurer for the Plemons mob.

    So come take my Parnell McNamara for Sheriff sign again, I have more and will not be intimidated by bullies with badges.

  3. My one major question is why, oh, why you won't just break down and tell us what you really think? But, be that as it may be, would you please let me know your general location and how many signs you have lost? I mean, are you in China Spring, or Riesel, West, or Moody? Are the signs displayed at a business, or a residence? Why do you suspect that someone endowed with a badge made off with your signs? You can remain Anonymous. I know many people whose last name is "Anonymous." - The Legendary

  4. P.S. Mr. Anonymous: I would ask you if you reported the loss of Parnell McNamara for Sheriff of McLennan County signs to local law enforcement, but I would not be able to report your answer in a timely fashion because first, I would have to fill out a public information act request, then I would have to wait 10 days to see if there is any litigation involved. By then, the matter would no longer be newsworthy. You see, I have it on good authority that a certain group of bright young men are working on a virtual campaign sign directed from the desktop computer of any consumer that will project a holographic campaign sign in various sizes and shapes and colors. This way, it's tamper-proof unless you actually jimmy jammy with the computer or steal it. Swear by my tattoo, - The Legendary, a well-known seafaring man who lives upon the coast near Joppa.

  5. Hilarious as always how someone can write away and bad mouth people as anon. and you AMEN them 'til the end....

    but the second someone posts something disagreeing with you, it's mr. big shot with the "oh why don't you post your name"..........

  6. Isn't that special? - The Legendary

  7. Irony - Complaining about someone for bad mouthing someone else anonymously, in a post that was done anonymously. LOL

  8. I would have reported the theft of my sign, but I would be running the risk that I could be reporting it to the very people responsible for the theft being that I do not live inside city limits.

    As for my business itself, I do enjoy answering people's questions when I'm asked why I have signs for both McNamara and Plemons. I proudly tell them that I'm for McNamara and that Plemons' deputies threatened my business if I didn't put up his sign too. Apparently, I'm not the only one who's had problems with Plemons' bullies with badges, so I encourage other business owners to freely tell your customers why you had to post a Plemons sign under duress.