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Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Law and Sausage

Chronology of Crime, Power and Politics

You have heard the expression--there are two things you don't want to watch being made, law and sausage. Well, I have seen both, and fully understand the analogy. Over the last decade, I have been in Jefferson City watching and testifying about issues important to me. One of those issues is the bail bond industry. I was there in 1997, 1998, and 1999 when bail bond legislation was being considered. I was there when the notification to law enforcement bill was passed in 2001. I was there when SB1122 was passed, the bail bond language being hidden in a dentistry bill. I was there when new measures were deliberated in 2005 and 2006. Being present for a decade, I could see some of the hidden factions at work behind these bills. To see some of the factions, take a look at the development of these bills, and the antics that have taken place the last several years.

Players List

Jack Allison of Mexico, MO-Democrat, general bail bond agent, president of Missouri Professional Bail Bond(ing) Association (
MPBBA). Hired lobbyist Steve Carroll in 2001.

Virgil Lee Jackson of St. Charles, MO-Active in legislature since 2001. Bondsman. Worked for Allison Bonding until his arrest in 10/05. Hired lobbyist
Steve Carroll in 2001. Arrested for conspiring to murder competitor Gerald "Jerry" Cox. Member and director of MPBBA.

Glen Dotson of Silex, MO-Bounty hunter/bondsman. Long-time associate of Allison and Jackson. Co-conspirator in murder plot against Cox.

Gerald Cox of St. Charles, MO- General bail bond agent. Local competitor of Lee Jackson. Victim of murder plot. Member of MPBBA. Former State Representative 1978 and 1982, Democrat.

Steve Carroll of Hannibal, MO-Democrat. L
obbyist and attorney for MPBBA. Lobbyist for Allison and Jackson before the formation of MPBBA. Former State Representative 1984-1992.

Senator John Cauthorn of Mexico, MO-Republican-Senator, term-limited out of office 2006. Neighbor to Allison. Sponsored MPBBA legislation 2004-06.

Representative Bob Behnen of Kirksville, MO-Republican-House of Represenatives. Sponsored legislation for MPBBA 2004-06. Currently running for the Senate seat previously held by Cauthorn.


1) Jackson, Allison, Carroll, and others successfully defeated restrictive bail bond language in the legislature in the years of 2001 and 2003.
2) In 2002 Jackson and Allison created a bail bond corporation called
American Guarantee. The company president and agent positions were traded between Jackson and Allison for the first few years. The company never licensed as a bail bond corporation. In 2004, Jackson incorporated Missouri National Surety. It is never licensed as a bail bond corporation, either. Although the corporations were not licensed, both companies wrote bonds in Missouri.
3) In 2004, Jackson, Allison, and others in leadership for MPBBA wrote bail bond legislation. It was sponsored by Senator Cauthorn (
SB1027) and Representative Behnen (HB1197). In the final days of session, Behnen incorporated the bail bond language into an omnibus bill titled "dentistry." The bill passed. The new language promoted by the association allowed for the licensing of convicted felons, who have not been convicted in the last 15 years. It was nicknamed the "Lee Clause" and took effect 1/1/2005. (Jackson hadpreviously been unable to get a general bail bond license because of the long-standing DIFP practice of not allowing convicted felons to have general bail bond agent status. Jackson had been convicted of burglary in 1959, burglary in 1967, forcibly breaking into a post office in 1971, and first-degree robbery in 1984.)


12/31/2004-Jackson allegedly visits Cox and threatens to kill him because he believes Cox had reported to the authorities that Jackson's bail bond corporations are fraudulent. Cox allegedly promises Jackson that he will make things right. Note: This is one day before the highly-anticipated Lee Clause goes into effect.
1/1/2005-The Lee Clause becomes law.
1/2005-Jackson makes
application for a general bail bond license. It is denied stating that Jackson had "falsely claimed" he had not been convicted of misdemeanor charges involving gambling in 2002.
1/20/2005-Cauthorn, who is serving his last term, introduces legislation (
SB213) written by MPBBA requiring all agents in the state join a state-sanctioned bail bond association. Those not wanting to join the state-approved association will not be allowed to renew their licenses. Of course the MPBBA knows that their treasury will be greatly enriched if they can force every bail bond agent in the state to be a member. Jackson and Allison are both leaders of MPBBA.
1/31 to 2/9/2005-
Campaign contributions are reported by Behnen from Jackson, Allison, MPBBA, Cox and others.
3/1/2005-Behnen introduces legislation (
HB662) in the House that is identical to the Cauthorn bill.
4/12/2005-Behnen, Committee Chair, inserts the bail bond language into another licensing bill,
HB665. The bill passes the House but does not reach a vote of the full Senate.
DIFP denies Jackson's general bail bond agent license because he had acted as a general agent without a license. This is the same issue that allegedly had caused Jackson to threaten Cox to begin with.
9/15-10/24/2005-Lee Jackson is under investigation by the ATF for conspiring to murder Jerry Cox. The ATF allegedly has taped conversations with Jackson orchestrating the conspiracy. Jackson makes arrangements to have Cox shot after the televised football game on 10/24/2005.
10/24/2005-Jackson is arrested and held on federal charges. He is denied bail.
11/4/2005-The DIFP issues a
press release ordering a "crackdown" on convicted felons who are licensed as bail bond agents. Announces they are taking action against James Cox's license because he is a convicted felon. James is the son of Gerald Cox.
11/12/2005-Allison and Carroll are quoted in the
St. Louis Post-Dispatch denouncing Jackson's actions. Also quoted as going to clean-up the industry of dangerous felons and said that the association had revoked Jackson's membership. Allison denies knowledge of Jackson's extensive criminal history. The report states that Allison has other felons working for his company. Behnen is quoted in the same article admitting that the Lee Clause apparently was passed to help an individual, but could not recall Jackson's involvement in Behnen's bail bond bill.
12/22/2005-DIFP announces they are taking action against Jackson's bail bond license.
1/17/2006-Cauthorn introduces legislation (
SB885) for MPBBA. Allison still serves as president and Carroll as lobbyist. The bill prohibits some felons from writing bonds by carefully using the statutory definition of dangerous felony, which is a short list of heinous crimes like forcible rape, forcible sodomy, and child sexual abuse. However, the same bill would allow felons to write bonds if convicted of crimes including manufacture and distribution of drugs, fraud, theft, or other felonies not resulting in serious injury to another person.
3/9/2006-Behnen introduces legislation (
HB1997) for MPBBA. His legislation, although includes the dangerous felony clause, also includes language making the bail agent responsible for the payment of judgments (not the company) and requires an agent wishing to leave a company get a written release from his current company before going to work for a competitor. To Behnen's credit, he never gave this bill a hearing.
3/27/2006-Cauthorn's bill gets
stuck in committee.
4/11-4/12/2006-Cauthorn tries to get all the bail bond language wanted by the association into another insurance licensing bill (
SB895) that was written and promoted by the DIFP. The amendment is defeated. Cauthorn threatens to kill the DIFP's bill in his committee, the Fiscal Oversight Committee. The bill sponsor agrees to add the bail bond language when the bill reaches the House.
Wes Shoemyer-Democrat, who is running against Bob Behnen (for the Senate seat now vacant by Cauthorn) accepts campaign contribution from Allison household.
5/4/2006-The House committee puts Cauthorn's bail bond language in the bill as a
committee substitute.
5/12/2006-The bill dies without being passed.
6/1/2006-Dotson is arrested for allegedly furnishing the gun (to Jackson) to be used in the plot to murder Cox. He is held without bail.
6/4/2006-Allison is
interviewed by the Joplin Globe. The Globe featured two stories about Allison's agent in Joplin, who is a convicted felon. Allison denies knowing about his agent's felony convictions, but states that it is legal for felons to work in the bail bond business.
6/19/2006-James Cox's hearing regarding his felony convictions is held before the Administrative Hearing Commission. Cox is represented by Carroll, the lobbyist and attorney for MPBBA.
9/2006-DIFP announces that corporations can no longer be general agents. Require all general corporations to convert licenses under an individual general agent.

So where do we stand? My guess is that MPBBA, Allison, and Carroll will be back in the halls of the Capitol in January. Cauthorn is gone and Behnen seems to have lost interest in their shenanigans. They will shop for a new politician and the saga will continue. They will continue to sponsor legislation that allows felons, that represses small, independent companies and agents, and enriches their own pockets. Presumably, Jackson will eventually go to trial. Hopefully, no one will forget the role that Jackson, Allison, Carroll and MPBBA have in making sausage--I mean law.

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Although Missouri Bondsman encourages debate on topics of interest to the bail industry, please be aware that comments are moderated. Please observe the posting rules. No comments will be printed that contain spam, profanity, or libelous comments. Please post comments in a civil, professional manner.