Extortion is, according to the dictionary, “the practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats.” This word seems to best fit Assistant County Attorney Brenda Bailey’s course of action after becoming aware that the complainant in her case made false statements to the police in order to cause a false arrest and thwart the collection of a legitimate bill by a local business owner.
Central to the false criminal complaint filed by Chrissy’s Massage Studios against local philanthropist and Brazos VIP founder David Flash is the claim that Mr. Flash’s company was attempting to collect a debt that had been fabricated and had no basis in reality.
Since Mr. Flash had a contract, he did not cease collection activity or cancel Chrissy’s Massage Studio’s invoice, when threatened with criminal charges if he would not do so. With the aid of friends at the CSPD, where the business owner is employed full time, criminal charges were filed based on a report filled with false information and Flash was arrested on a warrant when getting a speeding ticket a couple months later.
After becoming aware of the charges via arrest (nobody at CSPD or County Attorney made any contact with Flash during the investigation or to even inform him of the charges), Flash and his legal counsel immediately provided extensive written documentation to show that claims made in the criminal charges were false. The contract. Ad copy. Three rounds of proof edits. A long, clear-cut paper trail demonstrating the validity of the debt and the integrity of Mr. Flash’s statements about the facts of the matter was delivered to Bailey.
Brenda Bailey received and acknowledged the validity of documentation demonstrating that the person being prosecuted was not a criminal, but the victim of malicious prosecution by a city employee bent on avoiding payment of a valid invoice that their business owes. However, her response was not what one would hope and expect from a public servant whose client is the State of Texas and whose aim should be the interest of justice.
Aware that the owners of Chrissy’s Massage blatantly lied to police to effect a malicious prosecution, Bailey makes no effort to prosecute the actual illegal activity in the case. In fact, Bailey actually seeks a positive financial outcome for the false complainant in exchange for dropping the false charges via cancellation of a valid liability they owe, i.e. the debt still owed that Chrissy’s Massage filed false charges to avoid paying. In addition, the waiver Bailey requests in exchange for being cut loose from false charges would insulate Chrissy’s from infringement claims around their illegal use of ad materials that Brazos VIP held the copyright to as well as malicious prosecution tort liability (and thus the city’s joint and severable vicarious liability).
Assistant County Attorney Bailey’s offer and David Flash’s response follow:
Bailey’s Offer: “case involving Chrissy’s Massage being dismissed…with a proviso that any potential civil suit be waived to give finality to this matter.”
Flash’s Response: “Your request that I sign away my right to the civil claims against Brannen attests that you agree the original claim was valid. As you are aware, the case centers around the complainant’s assertion that I fabricated the advertising agreement which you have now been provided copies of. Now that you agree that my Brannan civil claim is valid, your criminal case is, as I am sure you are aware, groundless. This makes your attempt to extract financial concessions benefitting the complainant seem to fit the definition of extortion. It seems as though your actions on behalf of the complainant are geared toward helping commit a breach of a civil contract through the use of extra-legal state action.”