Two political consulting companies have sued Houston trial lawyer Jason A. Gibson, alleging he failed to pay for work they did on his campaign for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate.
In Lonestar Strategies LLC v. Gibson, filed in the 151st District Court, the plaintiff alleges Gibson failed to pay $12,500 for campaign services. In Stanford Campaigns LLC v. Gibson, filed in the 190th District Court, the plaintiff alleges Gibson failed to pay $15,855 for campaign services.
The plaintiffs in both suits, which were filed July 25 in Harris County, bring breach of contract, quantum meruit and promissory estoppel causes of action against Gibson and seek actual damages plus interest, costs and attorney fees.
Gibson, president of the Houston Trial Lawyers Association, says he withdrew from the U.S. Senate primary race after six weeks. He says he did not sign contracts with Lonestar Strategies or Stanford Campaigns, and he denies he owes them money.
“They did not state or claim I had written agreements with them. They know I don’t,” says Gibson, owner of the Gibson Law Firm.
Gibson says he paid $3,500 to Lonestar Strategies. He also says Stanford Campaigns sent him an invoice for $15,000, but he wanted an itemized invoice and has not received one.
“I pay my bills. If they had done the work, I’d pay them,” says Gibson, who was in the U.S. Senate primary race from December 2011 to February 2012.
Brett Hill, an associate with Houston’s Chris Bell PC who represents Lonestar and Stanford, says, “I think that, on something like that, it comes down to communication. They actually have invoices to prove what they did.”
Gibson says he will file a counterclaim in each suitand will “vigorously defend on the principle of the matter, because I don’t owe it.”
In Lonestar Strategies, the Houston-based plaintiff alleges it presented a written agreement to Gibson on Jan. 5 at the urging of Gibson’s campaign manager Ed Espinoza. As alleged, “the parties agreed” Lonestar would help Gibson do fundraising, including by assisting him with contacting potential campaign donors.
“Following submission of the written agreement, Defendant agreed to the services of Lonestar, though he never signed the written agreement presented to him by Espinoza. Satisfied with the oral agreement, Lonestar proceeded with the agreed upon tasks for the rest of January 2012,” Lonestar alleges in the petition.
Lonestar alleges that, after Gibson voluntarily dropped out of the campaign on Feb. 2, it has been unsuccessful in collecting $12,500 from Gibson for services rendered and that Gibson disputes the amount due.
Espinoza, of Ed Espinoza Strategic Consulting in Austin, says Stanford and Lonestar were “part of the team” for Gibson’s campaign. As to whether each did the work they promised to do for Gibson and if Gibson owes money to them, Espinoza says, “In my estimation, he certainly owes it to Stanford. My recommendation to him regarding Lonestar Strategies is that he pay a lesser amount.”
In Stanford Campaigns, the Austin-based plaintiff alleges that it met with Gibson and Espinoza on Jan. 5 to “discuss the purpose Stanford would serve in the campaign,” and it was to “conduct opposition research, candidate background research, issue research, and compose polling memorandums as well as a briefing book.” Stanford alleges that Gibson “never signed the written agreement” but Stanford proceeded with the “agreed upon tasks” during January 2012.
Stanford alleges in the petition that after Gibson dropped out of the race, it has been unsuccessful in collecting payment for the services, and that Gibson also disputes the amount.
“Nevertheless, in his April 15, 2012 Quarterly Report (Q1, FEC Form 3, Report and Receipts and Disbursements), Defendant reported he received $15,855.00 from Stanford Campaigns,” Stanford alleges.
Hill says his firm’s attempts to resolve the payment dispute prior to filing suit have been unsuccessful.