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Pastor sues State Rep. Byron Cook, alleging fraud

HOUSTON – The executive pastor at one of the largest megachurches in the United States is accusing state Rep. Byron Cook of defrauding him on a half-million dollar investment.

Mike Buster of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano filed a lawsuit in Collin County Friday against a company called Unity Resources, LLC, against the faces of the company, Mark Mersman and Mark Solomon, Jr., and against the men he alleges were behind the operation, Cook and Joel Hochberg.

All of those defendants were sued last November by a friend of Attorney General Ken Paxton’s named Charles “Chip” Loper, III. The same law firm, Scheef and Stone, LLP, is representing the two plaintiffs; many of the paragraphs in Buster’s petition are copied verbatim from Loper’s.

The nature of the two lawsuits is similar: Unity Resources sold mineral interests by the acreage in Texas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming, and the plaintiffs bought in to deals that didn’t pay off.

Their complaints overlap on two matters and diverge on a third.

According to Buster, Unity and Cook sold properties back and forth between Unity and Cook-controlled entities to drive up their book value before dumping them on a sucker, Buster. According to Buster’s petition, the other partners in Unity also had no idea Cook was unloading his own undesirable properties on to Unity.

Buster also alleges that Unity made specific representations to him that the company would only profit on a commission.

“In these ‘principal’ transactions, Unity and Legacy (a related company) substantially marked up the costs of the mineral acreage before selling them to Buster and deriving a substantial profit. Unity and Legacy had told Buster that the only money it would make on its mineral transactions with Buster were in the form of a 5% finder’s fee. This was false. The profits Unity and Legacy received in the form of Buster’s investment proceeds were substantially more than 5% on ‘principal transactions.’”

This sort of secret profiting at Buster’s expense was material information that should have been disclosed to him, Buster alleges.


Tom Mechler to address report he’s stepping down as Texas GOP chairman

Jonathan Tilove American-Statesman Staff

Texas Republican Party Chairman Tom Mechler will address on Saturday a report that he plans to step down and let the State Republican Executive Committee pick his successor at its quarterly meeting on June 3.

“He’s going to respond to these rumors on Saturday,” said Texas GOP spokesman Mike Joyce.

Mechler, an Amarillo oil and gas consultant, has served as chairman of the Republican Party in the nation’s biggest red state since March 2015, when he succeeded Steve Munisteri.

Speculation about Mechler’s plans was launched by a report Thursday on, a conservative internet radio show, that Mechler was quitting.

Mechler’s term is up in June 2018, when a successor would be elected by the state Republican Convention. If he steps down before then, the executive committee, with two members from each senatorial district plus the chairman, would pick an interim successor until the convention.

The rumor prompted speculation about a number of potential candidates, including Rick Figueroa, Mark Ramsey and James Dickey.

Figueroa was with Mechler in San Antonio this week as part of the Republican Party of Texas Hispanic Engagement Listening Tour. James Dickey is the chairman of the Travis County Republican Party. Ramsey is an executive committee member from Spring.



Multiple sources within and outside, yet close, to the Republican Party of Texas are telling that RPT Chairman Tom Mechler is set to announce his resignation on Saturday, May 20th.

RER sources began making us aware that rumors were swirling about the future of Mechler on last Tuesday evening.  However, by Wednesday morning, a consensus of the sources was lost.  There were reports that it was merely “fake news” and more vetting needed to be done.

By Wednesday evening, the chatter become hotter, and RER sources were drawing back together into consensus.  RPT Chair Tom Mechler is on the verge of resigning.

By this morning, every RER source was convinced that the rumors were true, and that from all of their channels of communication, the story was not “fake news”, and Mechler had already handpicked a successor.  So sure were our sources, that each believed it was an absolute green light to go with the story.

Moments before breaking the story live at 12 noon Texas time today, we were informed by one of our sources that Mechler had already announced his intentions to the RPT staff.

The obvious question of why Mechler is resigning has yet to be answered.  Our sources have not been able to detect a specific reason.  It may not be until Mechler’s announcement that one is given.

According to our sources, Mechler’s handpicked successor is Rick Figueroa.

Apparently, SREC Liberty Caucus members weren’t caught off guard by the potential Mechler resignation.  RER’s understanding is that they are pressing hard for SREC Committeeman from SD7, Mark Ramsey, to be their candidate.

With the next SREC quarterly meeting scheduled in Austin on June 2nd and 3rd, Mechler is pressed to announce by May 24th per the bylaws of the RPT.  If Mechler does indeed announce his resignation, the election of an interim chairman, which will preside over the state party until the state convention of 2018, will be conducted on that weekend.

In just over two weeks, the Republican Party of Texas could have a new chairman.


Copyright©2017 Raging Elephants Radio LLC

‘Sanctuary Cities’ protest in Austin honors undocumented mothers

by Raven Ambers

While some spent the day honoring their mothers with gifts and cards, others organized to protest the “sanctuary cities” bill they say impacts mothers the most.

“As terrorizing tactics are used by Abbott, by Trump, by ICE, the mains ones that are affected are the mothers,” Julieta Garibay with United We Dream said.

Opponents of the new law say it is racist and unfairly targets every Hispanic in Texas. They’re calling it the “show me your papers” law.

“The mothers say we want to stand together today. We want to come out to the streets and say we won’t allow SB 4. We won’t allow racism in our state and that’s what we did it on Mother’s Day,” Garibay said.

The “sanctuary cities” law punishes communities and officials in Texas who don’t abide by federal immigration laws and orders, making sanctuary cities a crime.


‘School choice’ change to finance bill begins high stakes negotiations (VIDEO)


AUSTIN (KXAN) — State lawmakers are running out of time. They’ve only got two more weeks to nail down a school finance plan. The Texas House passed a $1.6 billion revamp, but the Senate just shook things up.

Earlier this year, the Texas House-led by Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, banned public dollars for private schools. Instead, they approved a plan by Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, to raise all public school money. But Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and the Senate will not fix school finance without some tax dollars in private hands.

Senate Education chair Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, put it in writing last week. Parents of students with special needs would get a little more than $8,300 a year.


Abbott skirting traditional media surprising, effective

The governor’s low-key style is different from his more gregarious predecessors, but he says tactics like using social media for major announcements puts him closer to the people.

John C. Moritz, USA Today Network Austin Bureau

AUSTIN – When Gov. Greg Abbott signed one of his top legislative priorities into law, the key players who shepherded perhaps the most controversial bills through Capitol’s sausage-grinding process were not at his side to receive a commemorative pen or to take part in a photo-opportunity handshake.

Neither were the constituency groups and activists who clamored for the clamp-down on so-called sanctuary cities.

As for the reporters who had filed the daily dispatches about the protests and side deals that go along with passing divisive legislation, they were at home about to sit down to Sunday dinner. About 20 minutes earlier, they received a cryptic message urging them to log onto the governor’s Facebook page, where the first-term Republican would announce to a video camera that showed a near-empty office that his signature was on Senate Bill 4.

Many Capitol insiders and veterans say the 6:30 p.m. Sunday event was emblematic of Abbott’s style since the beginning of 2017 legislative session that is entering its last weeks. He’s hardly been seen button-holing lawmakers on the House or Senate floors or in the back halls on bills he wants passed or killed.


With Friday’s House calendar defeated, ‘Mother’s Day Massacre’ complete

By Sean Collins Walsh – American-Statesman Staff

In what’s been dubbed the “Mother’s Day Massacre,” a small group of tea party-aligned Republicans in the Texas House this week used parliamentary maneuvers to defeat more than 120 bills in retaliation for what they consider a pattern of unfair treatment by the House leadership.

The victims of their obstruction, however, weren’t the top allies of House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, who had none of his priorities defeated, but rank-and-file members who saw scores of their proposals effectively killed as the self-styled Freedom Caucus gummed up the legislative process while key legislative deadlines approached.

The final blow came Friday, when the group successfully petitioned to remove all 121 bills from Friday’s Local and Consent Calendar, the agenda for bills not considered controversial that are approved without significant debate.

Under the House rules, five members can request that a bill be removed from that calendar, requiring it to be debated and adopted like a regular bill. But because Thursday was the deadline for the House to approve regular bills, pulling those measures from the agenda Friday spelled all but certain death for many of the proposals. (They can be revived if the Senate approves an identical measure or if they’re tacked onto a germane piece of legislation from the Senate.)



Do you really know who’s teaching your children in Texas?  Do you know of their values and beliefs and what they are liable to introduce to your children?

Judy Nelson, a self-described atheist, appeared before the Texas House Public Education Committee on May 2, to testify against House Bill 1485, the Academic Freedom for Teachers Act.  Nelson stated in her testimony that she has taught science in middle school for Ector County and Dallas County. She says she now is attached to a science-devoted YouTube channel, Living Science Videos.

Living Science Videos seems to be attached to the extremely popular YouTube channel operated by one of the leading atheist in Texas, Aron Ra.

HB1485, authored by freshman State Rep. Valoree Swanson (R-Tomball RER n/a), has the intent of protecting teachers, especially in science, from legal jeopardy and the freedom to present alternative perspectives on subject matters introduced in classrooms to students.

The go-to example is the subject of climate change.  So hostile is the academic environment, that teachers, even in Texas, face potential legal jeopardy for presenting any evidence that theories of man-made climate change are not accurate.

Although the text of HB1485 expressly prohibits introduction of religious proselytizing or instruction into any classroom discussion – it must be science v. science – atheist Nelson continued to focus on the certainty that discussion would wade into the areas of deity, intelligent design, and “God did it” solutions to scientific questions.


Copyright©2017 Raging Elephants Radio LLC


The normal tension and heat within the Republican Party of Texas has risen several degrees on the thermometer.  And, this time it’s over race.

State Republican Executive Committee member from Senatorial District 11, J.T. Edwards, is calling out Texas GOP Chairman Tom Mechler for being ineffective in growing the party through new black voters. Edwards appeared on in April to charge Mechler with not following through on his repeated promise to put heavy resources and emphasis on bringing more black voters into the party here in Texas.  The result has been tensions rising between longtime black activists and officeholders in the Texas GOP over the issue of black voter engagement.

At one point during the interview conducted by Apostle Claver T. Kamau-Imani, Edwards exclaimed in complete exasperation toward Chairman Mechler, “Do your damn job!”

Feelings inside and outside the party were already being rubbed raw over the efforts of the Texas GOP to attract more black Texas voters prior to a meeting that was organized and held in Dallas in late March, 2017.  Black conservative leaders, all aligned to the Texas GOP met face-to-face. Others who had schedule conflicts and couldn’t travel to the Metroplex, like J.T. Edwards, attended via telephone.  R.W. Bray, Director of Black Engagement for the Texas GOP, had a place on the meeting agenda to report on what efforts and progress the party has made toward the goal of a larger black presence in the party.

In his exclusive interview with, Edwards claimed that Bray’s report was not met with universal approval and took some hits. Edwards complained that the report was not accurate and honest.  The lack of progress and honesty deeply troubled Edwards.

“Basically, we received a briefing from our dear friend and brother, R.W., that was akin to parting the sea, turning water into wine, healing the sick and making the blind see.”  Edwards is known to be a no-holds-barred, blunt communicator when in a bad mood.  From the opening moments of his exclusive RER interview, it was pretty apparent that he was in a bad mood.

“At the end of his presentation the question was asked (of Bray) ‘Where’s your number?  Where’s the metrics?’ There is none,” said Edwards.

In the eyes of Edwards, that was the two major points that he’s concerned about in regards to Bray.  First, the briefing that he gave was so glowing, and that there’s no data collected to determine how effective any efforts have been to grow the party with black voters.

“We walked away scratching our heads saying there is no black engagement.  There is no black outreach.”  To bolster his argument that there should be some collection of data and compiled metrics on black voter growth, Edwards said, “The Latino engagement director, the Asian engagement director, come up with numbers, stats, figures, everything.  And, we have nooothing!”

Now entering into the mix comes Texas GOP Chairman Tom Mechler.

On April 1, an email thread was started by respected Houston black Republican, Bill Calhoun of the Texas Federation of Black Outreach.  The email was provided to by Edwards.

Public officeholders and Texas GOP officials on the email thread included: State Rep. James White (R-Woodville RER85), Texas GOP Chairman Tom Mechler, Texas GOP National Committeeman Dr. Robin Armstrong, and State Republican Executive Committee members Stephen Broden, Tina Gibson, along with Edwards and Bray.

From what was submitted to us by Edwards, it seems the email started blandly with Calhoun and White going back and forth over the age-old argument of what is the best strategy to attract black voters and how to ride on the coattails of Trump’s presidential victory.

But, then Edwards added an email to the thread that flat out challenged the Republican Party’s dedication to achieving racial diversity. “The real question on the floor is: will the RPT finally recognize and respect its historical roots or is it truly a Party of White People?

I wonder if my SREC colleagues and members are ashamed?”

11 minutes later, Edwards sent another email, “Furthermore, are black, loyal members of our Party just tokens?”

Calhoun tried to steer the conversation back to strategy, messaging, and Trump.  That didn’t deter Edwards as he charged that the party “doesn’t want to protect minority candidates”.

Then Calhoun showed his agreement with Edwards, “That is why I was so disappointed in the small number of voters that R. W.’s engagement strategy has developed.” Calhoun went on to write, “Bray is but one guy.  We need tools to spread the word, a destination for voters to arrive at and a simple message that they can share. This is not complicated.”

And, then Edwards went directly after Mechler in his next email.

“Platitudes are not a strategy, I don’t think Mechler is interested (it shows). I know he is on this email.

He know I know his approach SUCKS. 

The daunting thing is: the inability to listen due to bias.

It was the Chairman who said the map is changing in 2019. Here is a fact, deportations are thru the roof AHEAD of 2019, so now who you turn to?

Oh that’s right.. The dependable voters: Black People!!!!

*throws hands up in the air*

Make me wrong Tom.


Tom “Water Boy” Mechler took the bait.  He responded directly to Edwards.


I don’t want there to be any confusion. RW Bray is doing an extraordinary job, is proceeding in the exact manner I have asked him to, and he has my complete confidence. It’s unfortunate that you have chosen to be one that persists in tearing down instead of building up. We have made significant progress in the area of RPT Black Engagement and will continue to do so under Bray’s leadership.



(Note: Chairman Mechler earned the nickname “Water Boy” for the now-famous recording of him stating that the way to get legislation passed that the liberty movement desires is to “carry the water” for the officeholders.  If they are opposed they will oppose.)

It’s the only entry in the thread from Mechler. It lit the fire hotter under Edwards and he tore into Mechler.


Where are the metrics?

Tear down? With due respect, I find it frightenedly insulting.  Accountability is the order of the day and that’s your job.

Do it.


Edwards dominated the email thread from that point with no others participating.  He continued to hammer on the lack of verifiable data that black voters are being added to the RPT files, and that the only number mentioned has been 120 black voters that are members of the MLK, Jr. Association.

Edwards’ last thread entry made clear his passion for the party and why he’s making such a fuss.

“Never accuse me of tearing this party of ours down. I bleed, eat, sleep, and cross the blazing Sands for us.

It mocks what we are.

You are better Tom.


As a candidate for Chairman at the 2010 Texas GOP state convention, Mechler made growing the party through racial diversity with a heavy concentration on black voters, an essential plank of his campaign platform.

Elected to the Chairmanship by the SREC in a 2015 special election to complete the term of retiring Chairman Steve Munisteri, Mechler specifically mentioned party diversity in his acceptance speech.  In an interview with immediately after the meeting’s adjournment, Mechler was asked of his comment to the challenge, and he repeated his commitment to advancing racial diversity in the party.  His statement is included in the RERhotclip attached to this article.

The RERhotclip of Edwards’ exclusive interview goes into greater and deeper detail about the racial tensions that seem to be seeping to the fore at Texas GOP headquarters in Austin, and between party officials.

In a follow up article, Texas GOP Director of Black Engagement, R.W. Bray will respond to the charges of SREC Committeeman J.T. Edwards.


Copyright©2017 Raging Elephants Radio LLC


Dana Waller Hodges from Concerned Women of America, Texas, is an actual victim of a hidden-camera crime. She’s passionate about the passage of Senate Bill 6, “The Privacy Act”.  SB6 has picked up the infamously familiar name the “bathroom bill”.

During a press conference at the Texas Capitol on April 17, 2017, Hodges expressed her outrage that the Jessica Ferrar “Anti-Masturbation” bill has been given a higher priority than SB6 “The Privacy Act”.

A constant in every Texas legislative session is the abundance of irony.  The level of political irony, as observed by multitudes of liberty-driven Texas citizens, elevates their level of fury.  SB6 has provided another opportunity for irony to be on display.

State Rep. Jessica Ferrar (D-Houston RER15) filed bill HB4260 which has the caption text of: Relating to the regulation of men’s health and safety; creating a civil penalty for unregulated masturbatory emissions.

A quick scan of the portfolio of bills that hardcore leftist Ferrar has filed looks like a pro-genocide, anti-Christian list of greatest wishes.  Ferrar claims that the filing of HB4260 was intended to be an intentional political stunt.  A joke.  A snarky answer to the recent victories for pro-life Republicans in the last few legislative sessions.

However, it’s not funny when the Speaker of the Texas House Joe Straus (R-San Antonio RER0) and the leadership team join in on the fun.  Filed right at the closing of the filing window in March, HB4260 was given a first reading, and assigned to the House State Affairs Committee on April 4, 2017.

Thus far, HB4260 hasn’t been assigned a date to be heard in committee.  With the days quickly evaporating for the 85th Legislative Session, for Chairman “Lord Byron” Cook to do so would go from participating in a crude, crass, and mentally-sick joke, to a blatant insult to the people of Texas.

Thus far, SB6 has not been assigned to committee, at all.  “King Joe” has made it quite clear that he has no intention of seeing SB6 make it to the floor of the Texas House.

HB2899, a House version of SB6 authored by State Rep. Ron Simmons (R-Carrollton RER78), was heard in House State Affairs and remains pending in committee since April 19th.


Copyright©2017 Raging Elephants Radio LLC