Bluegrass Conspiracy : Scratch a child support case and solve murder (Part 3)
Ironically I had changed my company name in ads to American Dream Talent Management when I crossed criminal elements in the police force. So, you could say my American Dream was destroyed.
Bluegrass Conspiracy : Scratch a child support case and solve murder (Part 3)
Ironically I had changed my company name in ads to American Dream Talent Mangagement when I crossed criminal elements in the police force. So, you could say my American Dream was destroyed.
VI: An American Dream Destroyed
In 1986 I was twenty-one years old, a college student, with a part-time job at Zondervan Family Bookstore in the Fayette Mall in Lexington, Kentucky. On 05-22-86 there was an article in the Lexington Herald-Leader written by Don Edwards about Musical Messengers and its owner, Lynn Richardson. Shortly after reading the article I started to supplement my income at the Family Bookstore by doing singing telegrams for Musical Messengers. I was the kissing bandit.
In January 1989 Lynn Richardson offered to sell Musical Messengers to me and my girlfriend, Denise Pate. Denise and I started to make payments to Lynn and in l991 she handed over the costumes, client list and routine descriptions and moved to Florida.
On 08-14-91 Articles of Incorporation were filed for Playful Entertainment Network, Inc. and on 02-17-92 the Lexington Herald-Leader’s Business Monday announced the opening of its office at 3101 Richmond Road, Suite 313 and noted that Playful Entertainment, like its predecessor, Musical Messengers, offered a number of services: bartenders, clowns,. dancers, magicians, costume characters, singing telegrams, dance-o-grams, and strip-o-grams, as well as party planning for birthday and bachelor parties, etc. On 02-21-92 Senator Mitch McConnell sent a letter congratulating me on the opening of this business.
We were a legitimate business and we never at any time offered to anyone or provided to anyone any illegal service. From the very beginning I was determined that the public would know that we did not provide call-girl or call-boy services. In fact, because we wanted to ensure the legality of all of our offered services, my attorney Gary Matthews completed and on 10-02-91 had delivered to me a report on the legalities of the strip-o-gram part of the business, specifically, on the rules governing strip-o-grams in public places.
Playful Entertainment and its successor company Dream Team Management flourished and within a few years our clients included: Anita Madden, Joe Namath, Rick Pitino, Tubby Smith, Rex Chapman, Bill Curry, Special Olympics of KY., Somerset School System, Estil County School System, Lexington Public Schools, Fayette County Sheriff's Dept., Lexington Police, Fraternal Order of Police, DEA, White Hall State Shrine, Spindletop Hall, Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington Parks and Recreation, Maury Povich, Jenny Jones, HBO, Ricki Lake, Toyota Manufacturing, St. Elizabeth Anne Seton Church, Kentucky Utilities, Immanuel Baptist, Central Baptist Hospital, Brand Consulting, Geddes Pools and Fencing, Webb Brothers, Tom Gentry, Payson Stud, and Calumet Farms.
In 1993, however, evil reared its ugly head. Christopher Hignite and his company collided with corrupt officers of the law. In May of that year and again in January of 1994, Detective George Doyle of the Lexington Police Vice Squad suggested to Christopher Hignite that people who offer to provide strippers for money were perceived or known to be people who provide prostitutes. When Hignite told Doyle that he was not one of those people, that he ran and would continue to run a legal business, Doyle questioned his wisdom. On the one hand, if he continued to operate legally, the police would pursue him as if he were operating illegally. On the other hand, if he would begin to provide the services of prostitutes and pay Doyle and his associates protection money, he and they would flourish indefinitely. Hignite refused to play Doyle’s game.
On 04-14-94 the Lexington Herald-Leader reported that Lexington was suing massage parlours, Some of those under investigation are owned by Deborah Wardlaw. Margaret Kannensohn says this is a continuation of her efforts to rid Lexington of prostitution.
By March 1995 I have moved to a nice house on Boston Rd. Playful Entertainment had expanded its advertising and we were now in listed in the Paris, Georgetown, Somerset, Ashland, and Bowling Green, Kentucky sections of phone books. But I had come to believe that the police were illegally tapping my phone: there was interference in the line, sometimes you could hear people saying your name, and sometimes you could hear police radios in the background.
On 03-01-95 I called the Lexington Police Department. I talked first to G.R. Watkins and said I wanted Internal Affairs and he asked why. I said that I had reason to believe that rogue cops were tapping my phone; furthermore, that they were seeking pay-off money for services I do not provide and they have suggested to me that, were I to provide those services and pay protection money, everybody would be happy. Watkins switched me to Detective Dan Gibbons because Gibbons was the supervisor on duty. Gibbons took my name, still did not give me Internal Affairs, but instead transferred me to Larry Walsh, the Chief of Police. The Chief asked me for the officers’ names, he asked me if I had told anyone else, and then he told me to talk to Detective Suels. Detective Suels asked for the officers names; he said that he had heard rumours about these officers; he asked for my name and phone number; I did not heard from him again.
03-14-95 Landlord, Rick Satterwhite writes a letter to me explaining that he is terminating my lease as of 03-31-95. The reason he gives, on 03-14-95, is a raid that has not taken place and will not take place for a week. Though the date on the letter is, ‘03-14-95’, it is not given to me until three days after the raid.
03-21-95 Lexington S.W.A.T. team stages a raid on my house after several attempts, one of them successful, to plant drugs in the house. The officers again take me into a private room at the police station and attempt to blackmail me. Upon finding out that the planted drugs were not enough for a felony I take a misdemeanor and leave.
03-24-95 Rick Satterwhite delivers the letter written on 03-14-95 to my house.
03-28-95 Rick Satterwhite, my landlord, returned to my home and stated to me that he was told by the police in his kitchen that I ran a prostitution ring and was a cocaine dealer. However, he had recently talked to the lead detective on the case and, as it turns out, the detective did not believe that any of the charges were correct. The detective had informed him that a small amount of marijuana had been found and nothing else. At this point, he asked if he could offer to let me stay and tear up the letter. I had already found a new house in Georgetown and declined.
12:00 I called Mayor Pam Miller’s office because escorts are getting way out of control and costing me business and making it more dangerous for us. I left a message. I then called the Lexington Police about the escort problem. I was told to talk to Detective Green with the Vice Squad and he would be in the next day.
I called and asked for Detective Green. No answer, got answering machine, left a message.
Called for Detective Green a second time. Told to call Detective Winings.
1:00 I called the ACLU and asked if I could file an illegal competition lawsuit against the escort agencies if I could prove they provide illegal services and take jobs away from our legal company. The representative claimed that I had a valid complaint and my idea sounded interesting. However, the ACLU was very busy and I would have to seek independent counsel. He then asked if I would keep them updated on the situation for their files.
1:15 I called Mayor Pam Miller’s office again. I left another message.
1:30 I called the County Attorney’s office and talked to Margaret Kannensohn. She told me that all strippers are doing some kind of crime. She is a Christian and won’t help me even if I believe I am doing nothing wrong. She told me to call the Police Department and I told her that they had told me to call her. I told her about my idea to file a lawsuit. She had no interest and did not want to set up a meeting with me.
2:00 I called Det. Winings He said that the advertisers who allow the escorts to advertise are the problem, not the police for not closing them. He told me if I wanted them shut down, he wasn’t going to help me get rid of my competition. I told him I’ve done an investigation into them and have enough evidence to file charges on many. Would he like to see my file? . He told me to try and shut them down myself, he won’t help, he doesn’t want to meet with me, and “good luck.”
Unknown to me at the time and not known to me until 2007, on 11-04-97 a Court Complaint pursuing child support was issued by Margaret Kannensohn, Byron L. Ockerman, Christopher E. Hutchison, R. Barry Minton. and on 11-10-97 a Civil Summons was issued for me and signed by Robert M. True and Amy Fowler. The child’s mother, Michelle Brizendine tells me in 2007 that she had absolutely nothing to do with making the Complaint or with issuing the summons
On 1-3-99 I sent a letter to Attorney General Ben Chandler asking for his help. He returns my letter and contacts me by phone. Mr. Chandler assigns investigators from his office to help me and the investigators and I have several meetings, however, nothing ever comes of this. One of these investigators, Chris Lilly is later assigned to head the ABC division in Frankfort.
02-26-99 I received information from social services about Domestic Abuse from Jennifer. This is from the Cabinet for Families and Children. Many contacts are issued and they try to contact by phone. We have all of the confidential reports that were filed. There can be no doubt that social services knew where I was at this time..
On 5-10-99 we performed at a bachelor party for James Paul. We were hired by Vince Matteini of the Lexington Police Department. Everyone at the party was a police officer. There can be no doubt that the police knew where I was at this time..
06-20-99 I typed and sent a letter to the Cabinet for Families and Children asking for anything in my file so that I can give this to my attorney. On 06-25-99 I receive a letter confirming my request for any documents filed in my name that they may be in possession of. Nothing further is ever received from them. However, there can be no doubt that social services knew where I was at this time.
On 8-23-99 the Lexington Herald-Leader reported that the city planned to move against escort agencies. The article mentioned Deborah Wardlaw and her attorney David Andrews. Mentioned also was Assistant Police Chief Fran Root,..
On 08-25-99 Deborah Wardlaw called me and asked if I had heard of the new ordinance being planned for escort agencies. She informed me that she and her attorney, David Andrews, had planned on fighting the ordinance and asked if I would like to join. I explained that in my business I would not be required to obtain this license.
On 09-07-99 Margaret Kannensohn called me. Clearly, she knew where I was. She asked me if I had heard anything “on the streets” about the new ordinance. She said that she knew that I didn’t do escorts but that she thought I might know some of the people that run them. She asked specifically if I had talked to Deborah Wardlaw or her attorney about the lawsuit they were planning to file, I told her that Wardlaw had called and asked me if I wanted to join the lawsuit. I told her exactly what I had told Deborah, that the escort ordinance did not apply to me.
On 9-20-99 Deborah Wardlaw called again and told me that she was going to have her attorney David Andrews file suit against the city to contest the new fees ordered in the city’s new escort ordinance. She told me that she and others in her business had always made protection payments to the police, that Doyle, Lyons, Sorrell, Winings, Taylor and Henderson were involved in the business, that they still wanted their cut, and that she was not going to pay them and the new fees as well. She told me that she had told Doyle this in a phone call she had had with him and that he told her that they would kill her if she attempted to expose them.
Deborah Wardlaw's Murder
On 9-23-99 the Lexington Herald-Leader reported that Deborah Wardlaw had been killed in her apartment. There was no forced entry, a pillow was put to her head and the bullet was from a 9mm weapon. The Herald-Leader reported that Wardlaw ran an escort agency; it did not report that in 1999 Lexington police were carrying 9mm weapons.
On the television, the evening news did back-to-back stories with no connection whatsoever drawn between the two: the first story concerned Margaret Kannensohn’s campaign against the owners of escort agencies and the second reported the discovery of Deborah Wardlaw’s body.
On 09-24-99 in a Lexington Herald-Leader article (“Police ask for help in latest killing”) David Lyons is given as the officer to call if anyone has any information that might be useful in the investigation of the killing of Deborah Wardlaw.
09-27-99 Det. David Lyon’s drove past our building several times and then approached our front door and left a card. Jill Mitchell and I were just up the road on our way back to the office and watched as he pulled out of the driveway.
09-27-99 Detective David Lyons called and talked to Jill Mitchell. He asked a lot of questions about Brandy Tucker. He wanted to know her schedule, what kind of documents that we keep for our parties, asked for our address and phone number even though he had just visited our building and had been the one to initiate the phone call. He stated that Brandy Tucker was not under investigation for the murder of Deborah Wardlaw and neither were we. He said Brandy knew Deborah and that's why they wanted to talk to her. However, why would he need to know answers to the types of questions he was asking? He appeared to be very nervous during this conversation and his voice shook.
Later that day, David Lyon’s visited my office and tells me he knows I talked to Deborah Wardlaw recently. He asks me if she had given me any clues as to who might have wanted to kill her. He then starts looking all around our office and even picking up our calendar and booking forms. Jill asks if we’re under investigation for Debbie, he says, should you be? I then tell him unless he wants to arrest me don’t contact me in any way except through my attorney.
09-29-99 Margaret Kannensohn called and asked me if I knew anything about Deborah Wardlaw’s death. I told Kannensohn that Wardlaw had told me that cops had threatened her for not wanting to pay them.
11-11-99 I start an organized effort and organization determined to fix the escort problem. I send letters out to major Kentucky churches asking them to call and ask police and County Attorney to fix the problem. 11-11-99 AEIOU letter to churches all over Kentucky
11-16-99 Francoi Jackson wanted to interview for a job. I knew she was a police officer. She came to the interview wearing a wig and with a video camera in her purse. She wanted to tour the entire building. Later that evening, Margaret Kannensohn would ask me about her.
11-16-99 I sent a letter referring to phone calls and fighting escorts to Margaret Kannensohn at County Attorney’s office and tell her I know she sent an undercover officer to my business. I tell her that I knew Dee Marlow, aka Francoi Jackson, was a police officer and I tell her, finally, that Deborah Wardlaw had told me that police officers had threatened her life. I then ask her what is being done about escorts and offer to send my investigative report. I receive no reply.
01-18-00 Criminal Complaint filed against me by Detective Phil Taylor about Marty case listing my current address at the time.
01-19-00 Criminal Warrant issued for me for failure to obtain escort license
03-13-00 Criminal Complaint filed by Detective Phil Taylor for me after sending Jill to a party listing my current address
Criminal Summons issued on complaint filed by Phil Taylor sent to Jessamine County with Criminal Complaint listing my current address
04-26-00 Fayette County has charged me with running an escort agency without a license. They have also charged me with providing prostitution after setting up a contractor of ours. The very same types of activities I had worked diligently to eliminate and was warned I would be set up for if I didn’t “play the game”. They then alter evidence and lie on the stand in order to convict him, Marty Nicholas. My attorney sends motion for discovery and bill of particulars to Margaret Kannensohn. All files from this case are sent to her office
06-22-00 Arrest and detainment of Chris Hignite by Sheriff Joe Saunier and others
07-12-00 Commonwealth's Memorandum of Law is sent to my attorney listing my current address
07-13-00 Jill pulled over and Chris arrested after initial mistaken identity by Jessamine County for Fayette County listing my current address
07-17-00 It is now claimed (11-06-07 that on 07-17-00 the Sheriff’s Department tried to serve the child support summons to me at 3433 Clays Mill Rd., my mother’s house, with a note that I had moved to 221 B Industry Pkwy. in Nicholasville. Clays Mill Rd. had never been listed on my driver’s license or any other official document as my official address since graduating high school. Furthermore, the Sheriff’s department did not need to go to my mother’s house to find me because the County Attorney, as the evidence shows, knew exactly where I was.
08-18-00 Supplemental motion for discovery and bill of particulars for Chris
08-30-00 Request for video evidence from Jim Havey at Fayette County Attorney's office
10-26-00 Lexington Herald-Leader reported that a Mr. Barnett wins a ruling against two policemen in Lexington for knowingly withholding evidence that would exonerate him in a murder trial. The officers are Craig Sorrell and David Lyons.
11-11-00 Fayette County officials hint that another county may be tapping phones for them both during a hearing with the Fayette County Attorney’s office
11-13-00 Response to motion to exclude exhibits by Brent Austin for Chris and Jill is sent to County Attorney.
02-10-01 Lexington Herald-Leader reports that some Lexington officers integrity has been questioned during another lawsuit naming Det. David Lyons, and Det. Craig Sorrell.