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Tuesday, February 18, 1997

`Republic' faces new split, anti-lien law

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From Staff and Wire Reports

PECOS, February 18, 1997 - Rick McLaren of Jeff Davis County is not the
first to file false liens on property to harass people he disagrees
with, but he may be among the last to get away with it.

Filing fraudulent court documents, a favorite havoc-creating tactic of
the Republic of Texas group that McLaren claims to be ambassador and
general consul for, would become a criminal offense under a bill before
the Senate Jurisprudence Committee.

The committee delayed action on the bill by Sen. Teel Bivins,
R-Amarillo, Monday to ensure valid documents wouldn't inadvertently be
covered by the measure. It could be voted on next week.

The issue of phony court judgments and liens has attracted widespread
attention because of their use by the Republic of Texas, a group that
contends Texas was unlawfully annexed as a state by Congress in 1845.

Bivins, however, said he's not targeting a particular group. He said the
problem even has come up in divorce battles.

``I've heard of angry spouses trying to ... get revenge on spouses that
have divorced them,'' he said. ``I'm certainly aware there are organized
groups as well. The point is that this practice is going on and needs to

Joy Streater of the County and District Clerks Association testified
that legislation is needed.

``It is a growing, mushrooming situation in the state of Texas,'' she
said. ``It is clogging up the legal system.''

McLaren filed numerous court documents in Jeff Davis County before the
Republic of Texas was organized. When he claimed a lien on all property
in Texas that Houston-based Stewart Title Company owns - and scheduled a
sale to dispose of it - Stewart filed a petition in Senior Judge Lucius
Bunton's federal court for an injunction to stop the sale.

Judge Bunton not only stopped the sale last April, he ordered McLaren to
stop filing bogus liens and harassing witnesses against him. When the
"ambassador" continued to file documents, Judge Bunton issued a warrant
for McLaren's arrest, and he spent a month in jail for contempt of court.

Freed on bail, McLaren failed to report to his pre-trial services
officer and continued activities Judge Bunton had banned. When ordered
to appear in federal court to show cause why he should not again be held
in contempt of court, McLaren failed to appear and Judge Bunton again
issued a warrant for his arrest.

Holing up in his "embassy" southwest of Fort Davis, along with armed
bodyguards, McLaren has said he would not surrender without a fight.
McLaren was arrested by U.S. Marshal's at his Davis Mountain Estates
property last May, following Bunton's contempt ruling.

U.S. Marshal Jack Dean said the civil warrant is a low priority for his
department, and it will be served in due time.

Meanwhile, the General Council of the Provisional Government of the
Republic of Texas has suspended McLaren as chief ambassador and consul
general for "unlawful acts which had been done by him in his office."

On Friday, the organization's news pages on the World Wide Web stated
that McLaren continues to perform additional unlawful acts outside his
authority and in violation of the Constitution and his oath of office.

Dialogue has been initiated between President Archie Lowe and McLaren to
correct the problems. Last fall, another group based led by Odessan
David Johnson formed their own provisional Republic of Texas government,
over a dispute with Lowe and McLaren over financial actions.

Johnson's group accused Lowe and McLaren of making purchases with
warrants backed by the illegal seizure of state property assets, and
obtained a warrant from their own Republic court charging the two with
treason and conspiracy.

Johnson was accused of selling bank charters to other members of the
Republic's ruling council by the Lowe-McLaren faction, and was expelled
along with several other members, from their ruling council.

Bivins' bill would make it a Class A misdemeanor the first two times a
person files a false court document or lien, punishable by up to a year
in jail and a $4,000 fine. A third offense would be a third-degree
felony, punishable by imprisonment for two to 10 years and a fine of up
to $10,000.

The bill also would give the victim of a false lien a way to have it
removed from deed records, Bivins said. It would allow a clerk to reject
a fraudulent document, while providing a way for the person who files
such a document to petition the decision in court.

Gov. George W. Bush has declared the issue an emergency at the request
of Attorney General Dan Morales, who has been engaged in a legal
skirmish with Republic of Texas officials.

A state district judge has ordered the Republic group to stop filing
fraudulent documents, but group leaders have said they don't recognize
the judge's actions.

Morales has said that ``hundreds if not thousands'' of bogus liens are
clogging the state's property records systems. Liens can cause financial
and legal difficulties when property owners attempt to sell those
properties or list them as assets.

Franco happy with RCDC's progress

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Staff Writer

PECOS, February 18, 1997 - Plans for making the Reeves County Detention
Center, "a great facility" with a top-notch staff, are just some of the
goals the new Chief Executive Officer at the center has in mind.

"The quality of staff and the work ethics here at this facility is what
attracted me to the position," said CEO Rudy Franco.

Franco, who has been with the facility since November after retiring
from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, has already began implementing his

"We've got the basics covered, as far as my main concern goes," said

He outlined his strategy, which included implementing a response team
and crisis team at the 10-year-old facility on the southwest side of

"We have both teams in place now, which is one of the most important
things we wanted to do, in case of a riot or disturbance," said Franco,
"and I am now confident that we can deal with any situation that might
arise with these teams in place."

Franco stated that he would like the RCDC to emulate BOP's philosophy as
much as possible, since the facility does house BOP inmates and needs to
follow the BOP rules.

"The more we do this, the more they will have confidence in us as a
facility and ensure the security of the place financially," said Franco.

Franco's current focus, with the disturbance control teams in place, is
on the training of the professional staff.

"We want to have the best staff possible, which is one of the main
things that really impressed me about this facility," he added.

Franco had the privilege of opening up two other facilities while
working with the BOP, one as a warden and one as an assistant. He
retired as warden from the Federal Correctional Institution at La Tuna,
a secure federal prison with 1300 inmates and 300 staff just northwest
of El Paso. His main authority was for a $24 million dollar a year

At the RCDC, he'll soon be overseeing an expansion planned for the very
near future, which will increase the inmate population to nearly 1,000.

Franco said he will be very involved in "every phase of the expansion."
in which day-room space would be converted into as detention space. That
would allow an additional 300 beds at the facility, which currently can
house about 650 inmates.

The inmate count at the RCDC today was 639, with 573 BOP inmates and 63
INS inmates.

"From what I've discovered this facility is very important to Reeves
County and the expansion will help the economy, this is very vital," he

Construction on a second perimeter fence, another project currently
underway at the facility, will be completed in about 3-4 weeks,
according to the CEO.

"All these changes are to better our facility, make it stronger," said

Even though Franco, had received other job offers, upon his retirement,
he stated in his resume that he wanted "a CEO position in a correctional
setting that will provide a challenging, stimulating environment."

"I was out here for the riot last year with the disturbance control
teams from La Tuna and what really attracted me was the quality of staff
and how much heart they had," said Franco.

"I knew they had a lot of potential and I wanted to see this facility
grow and become a really great one," he said.

Franco jokingly said, "The guys from La Tuna told me, if you ever need
us out there call us, and I told them, well if you ever need US, call
us, because we'll be ready."

"I'm very proud of our teams and know they are prepared for anything,"
he said.

Franco said he feels, "a real commitment and ownership with the Pecos
facility" and hopes to stay here for a long time.

"I would like to stay here and see the new expansion and possibly in the
future a new prison with additional staff," he said.

Commissioners discussed in December a plan to build a second prison
across Locker Road from the current detention center, and Franco stated
that a new prison here in Pecos is a big possibility that would boost
the economy.

"This new facility would add about 900-1,000 additional beds, with the
possibility of 250-270 jobs," said Franco.

Aside from looking towards the creation of a new facility, plans for
employees at the RCDC include a physical training center, in conjunction
with what the county has in mind, and an obstacle course.

Franco strongly believes that all staff should be physically fit and
hopes to implement physical training into their curriculum.

"Aside from all the physical training for the staff, we are also looking
at upgrading staff uniforms," said Franco.

Presenting the right image is also very important, according to the CEO.

New Assistant Warden Tony Perez, agrees with Franco, stating that, "any
changes that will be made will be thoroughly discussed between all of

Franco recommended Perez for the position, and upon learning about the
challenges and possibilities of the facility, Perez accepted the job.

"Rudy told me about the great staff here, a place where we could give
them some guidance and direction and how good this place could really
be, I decided I wanted to come down here with him and be a part of it,"
said Perez, who worked with Franco at the La Tuna facility.

Perez was associate warden at La Tuna from 1994 to 1995. He came to
Pecos after serving as warden of WCC Willacy County State Jail, a
private correctional facility which housed 1,000 inmates, and also
worked as acting warden at a Correctional Federal Medical Center housing
over 500 inmates.

"This place has a real potential of being a great facility," he said of
the RCDC. "My intent is to be here as long as I can at some capacity and
to see the expansion and future construction," said Perez.

Perez is already gathering proposals from staff members as to what they
would require as far as the expansion.

"We need to start finding out what will be required as far as staffing
and inmate population," said Perez.

The RCDC has a strategic planning committee, which handles everything
from personnel requirements to equipment, and anything else that is
needed to meet the Statement of Work requirements, as provided by the
BOP, according to Franco.

Both agree that the cooperation they have received from the staff will
enable them to carry out their goals for the facility.

Doctor reports scam attempt by `plumbers'

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Staff Writer

PECOS, February 18, 1997 - A local doctor is warning local residents
against two men who attempted to get into his home by posing as plumbers
on Monday.

Dr. Joseph Darpolar said earlier today that two men approached his home
at #7 Winding Way in a green pickup.

One of the men, a Hispanic in his 30s wearing a colorful shirt and
jeans, walked up to his front door and spoke with his mother-in-law, who
answered the door.

She indicated, said Darpolar, that the man identified himself as a
plumber and he and the other man were there to do some work.

The doctor said that his mother-in-law then told the man to wait as she
called her daughter - Darpolar's wife - to verify a work order. When she
walked back to the front door the men were gone, he said.

Darpolar added that because of the suspicious circumstances he felt the
men were probably at his home for criminal purposes.

He said the police were not contacted because his family didn't feel
they had enough information for the authorities but wanted to let the
experience known so as to warn Pecos residents.

Police Chief Troy Moore said he has not heard of any other similar
instances but added he has been made aware of, "an outfit," that has
been over-charging the public for an, "asphalt topping," job.


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High Monday 79, low last night 50. Tonight: Cloudy with a 40 percent
chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low around 45. East wind 10-20 mph.
Wednesday: Cloudy with a 70 percent chance rain. A few thunderstorms
possible. High around 55. Northeast wind 10-20 mph.
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