Former Galveston County candidate sues bank over NSF check mess

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Feb. 14, 2012, 2:32am


GALVESTON - Galveston resident Reginald L. Gilford Sr. alleges a bounced check with Texas First Bank is a form of political trickery, a lawsuit filed Jan. 31 in Galveston County District Court says.

According to the suit, Gilford wrote a check in the amount of $1,250 on Dec. 28, 2007, to pay the filing fee for his candidacy for the Galveston County Commissioners Court Precinct Three seat as a Democrat in advance of the Jan. 2, 2008, deadline. He claims he learned a month later from a Galveston County Daily News reporter that the check bounced.

The insufficient funds prompted the Galveston County Democratic Party to remove Gilford from its list of candidates even though Gilford insists he had enough money to cover the transaction, the original petition says.

The suit shows Gilford attempted to remedy the situation with the bank only to discover inconsistencies in what Texas First Bank of Texas City vice president Dickie Campbell told him regarding deposit regulations.

Gilford stated he had made a $150 deposit at 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 4, 2008. His balance of $1,309 and overdraft protection should have covered the check, the lawsuit states.

The bank employee told Gilford the money had to be deposited by 10:30 a.m. for the check to clear, the lawsuit states.

Gilford claims he'd never been told of the 10:30 a.m. deadline when he started the account.

"It seemed to me that since I was running for an office, the bank would have called to tell me I was $90.92 short and needed to get it in by 10:30 a.m.," the suit states.

He alleges the defendant's actions and conduct in question were political in nature since he knew he was able to pay the amount.

However, Gilford claims there was little time to solve the problem after Galveston County Democratic Party Chairman Lloyd Criss told The Galveston County Daily News that Gilford's name had to come off the ballot, the suit says.

Gilford claims he "had to continue to deal with the disappointment, frustration, insult and letdown of [his] would-be voters, friends, family, church members, neighbors and all." His mother, who was recovering from a stroke at the time, "became more upset because it was still being carried for a while in the local news that [he] was a candidate, which was no longer true."

According to the original petiton, the plaintiff spent nearly five years trying to resolve the issue with the defendant.

He consequently seeks unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

Gilford is representing himself.

Galveston County 212th District Court Judge Susan Criss is presiding over the case.

Case No. 12-cv-142

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