Consultant for Harris County District Attorney denies scamming poker clubs
The scam reportedly involved legalizing poker rooms in Houston in return for money
Several months ago, police descended on two poker clubs in Houston, TX, shutting them down and arresting nine individuals. It had been asserted at the time that the clubs were violating gambling laws and were a “public nuisance,” but the charges were later dropped after the Harris County District Attorney (DA), Kim Ogg, came to her senses and recognized that no wrongdoing had taken place. While the incident should have come to a close at the time, one of the poker clubs had asserted that an associate of Ogg’s, Amir Mireskandari, had engaged in malicious activity, asserting that he could get the DA to legalize the clubs (even though they were already legal) in exchange for $250,000. The scam has managed to perpetuate the debacle and the individual at the center of the possible fraud has spoken up to deny any part in the activity.
The owners of Prime Social Poker Club reportedly paid the money in order to sway the DA’s position on the gambling clubs. Mireskandari has said he had no role in defrauding the club, nor did he suggest that they make the donation to a political action committee that he was involved in for the 2018 elections. He asserts that the club, as well as the Post Oak Poker Club, fabricated the story in order to force Ogg to drop the charges.
Mireskandari said in an interview last Friday, “I’ve lost more friends in the last four days, and become a persona non grata, for accusations where I believe they are completely false, fabricated, out of context.” Mireskandari was paid $10,000 a month by a private investigator, Tim Wilson, to draft a city ordinance that would benefit Houston-area poker clubs and Wilson was, at the time, providing security for Prime Social.
Mireskandari admits to receiving the payments because of the financial benefit – $120,000 in total – and that he suspected he could use relationships with elected officials as a campaign donor in order to push the ordinance. However, he adds that he never discussed the proposal with any elected officials.
Texas law permits organized poker games as long as the venue doesn’t take a piece of the action, which is the model Prime Social and Post Oak had applied to their businesses. Regardless of any particular personal opinion on gambling, the properties were operating in accordance with state and local laws and law enforcement should have never gotten involved.