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Sheriff’s Confidant Pleads Guilty in Bexar County/Premier Management Scandal

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The San Antonio Express-News had a revealing story yesterday reporting that John Reynolds, long-time campaign manager and friend to indicted now ex-Bexar County Sheriff Ralph Lopez, pleaded guilty to one count of felony theft in conjunction with his role in the Premier Management bribery scandal.

According to the article, Reynolds

"told Premier to pay the equivalent of 1 percent of commissary sales to Lopez's campaign fund and give three payments of $7,500 each that Reynolds said were donations to the Optimists, when, in fact, the money went into his own bank accounts.

Williamson testified that he called Reynolds this past spring, as the investigation was heating up, and asked him for receipts for the three $7,500 donations.

Williamson said there was dead silence until John Reynolds stated, 'You're killing me; you're killing me,' at which time Ian Williamson claimed it was then that he realized that John Reynolds had never delivered the donations," according to court documents.

At one point, Williamson stated, Reynolds demanded a consulting fee of $5,014. When Williamson asked why he shouldn't write a check for a round $5,000, he said Reynolds replied: "that $5,000 looked too funny."

Other filings by the district attorney's office have shown checks made out to Reynolds' accounts and signed by Michael LeBlanc, who is an owner of Premier along with his brother Patrick, and by Chris Burch, who replaced Williamson as Premier's CEO."

Sheriff Lopez recently pleaded no contest to receiving an inappropriate $10,000 trip to Costa Rica paid for by Premier. Premier ended their contract with the County after the scandal broke. As we’ve noted, Premier Management is owned by Pat and Michael LeBlanc, owners of private prison firm LCS Corrections.

As part of his guilty plea, Reynolds will be required to speak openly to investigators about all of the business dealings of Premier, the LeBlanc brothers, and LCS Corrections, amongst other companies he was involved in.

Our previous coverage on the Bexar County scandal:

A Closer Look at LCS Corrections

Premier Private Commissary Scandal Keeps Growing

Bexar County Sheriff Indicted

Private Commissary Contracts Lead to Corruption in Bexar County

And from Grits for Breakfast:

Bexar County Bribery Allegations Over Jail