Fifth Circuit Affirms Multi-Million Dollar Verdict in Houston Bribery Case


HOUSTON, TX – Today, the Campaign Legal Center (CLC), alongside lawyers at Brazil & Dunn and the Greenwood Prather Law Firm, declared victory after a multi-million dollar verdict was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The decision handed down by Judge Leslie H. Southwick requires Lawrence Marshall and others to pay as much as $5,000,000 to the plaintiffs, the Gil Ramirez Group. Ramirez was locked out of the school district’s construction contracts after refusing to participate in the scheme in which the school board president, Marshall, was accepting bribes in cash and campaign contributions in exchange for preferential treatment with the award of lucrative public construction contracts.

“This decision affirms the fact that city officials in a position of public trust should work to ensure that public funds benefit the students and employees of their school districts. We are pleased that the victims of this pay-to-play scheme saw justice done today,” said Danielle Lang, co-director, voting rights and redistricting, at CLC, who delivered oral arguments in the case. The case was also litigated in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas by Gerry Hebert, senior director of voting rights and redistricting at CLC. CLC has been part of a legal team representing the Gil Ramirez Group, since 2016.

"After more than a decade of hard fought court struggles by our courageous client Gil Ramirez, Jr., the Fifth Circuit has affirmed the finding of the jury and trial court judge in this case that pay to play bribery scheme was going on at the Houston Independent School District,” said Chad Dunn of the Houston-based law firm Brazil & Dunn. “State, local and school district leaders should stand up to attention at this finding and pick up where the jury's work ended by taking important steps to root out corruption in one of the largest public school districts in our nation."

The case is called Gil Ramirez Group v. Houston Independent School District.