A judge accused of misconduct has ended up bankrupt twice, the latest time reporting she and her husband owe more than $1 million.
Oklahoma County District Judge Tammy Bass-LeSure and her husband filed for bankruptcy in June 2009. They acted after banks foreclosed on six modest Oklahoma County houses they owned. The 2009 bankruptcy case is pending.
They initially reported in the bankruptcy case that they had assets of $1.14 million but liabilities of $1.22 million. They later reported their liabilities actually were $1.03 million.
Bass-LeSure stepped down a week ago from a high-profile murder case involving pharmacist Jerome Jay Ersland after prosecutors said she couldn't be fair.
Prosecutors complained because the judge in July gave the names of three attorneys to a personal trainer at a meeting in an Edmond gym, even though he had a pending drug case assigned to her. The trainer also already had an attorney. One of the attorneys listed by the judge represents Ersland.
District Attorney David Prater on Friday called the judge's action immoral and corrupt. He confirmed Monday prosecutors are "following up on information related to other activities by the judge that have come to light" in the past week.
Bass-LeSure, 43, has declined to comment since making a brief statement to the media Aug. 31, minutes after taking herself off the pharmacist case. She told friends her actions have been misrepresented in news accounts.
Her husband, Karlos LeSure, 46, showed up Friday for a news conference called by the judge's supporters, but he did not make a statement.
They could not be reached for comment for this story.
Bass-LeSure has been a district judge in Oklahoma County for almost 12 years. The judge makes about $124,000 a year and she, her husband and children live in a northeast Oklahoma City house valued on county records at $456,072.
She and Karlos LeSure have been married more than six years. Their financial troubles apparently arose in part because real estate investments went sour, court records show.
Some of their properties were sold at sheriff sales before they filed for bankruptcy. They rented out some houses but were not always paid by tenants, records show.
Much of their debt comes from the $504,366 mortgage on the home where they live, records show. That home is not the focus of any of the foreclosures.
Other debts include a $59,070 student loan, an $18,485 remodeling bill and $16,969 in restoration services on a previous home that burned.
Karlos LeSure reported in the bankruptcy that he was a mortgage broker but "may eventually be unemployed... due to turmoil in mortgage industry." An office number for his mortgage business is no longer in service.
He identified himself at the Friday news conference as a Baptist church's associate minister.
They filed a type of bankruptcy case designed for debtors who want to repay all or part of what they owe.
A bankruptcy judge in November approved a 60-month payment plan. Under the plan, they surrendered ownership in four Oklahoma City properties. They owed close to $250,000 on those properties. They keep their current home.
The plan calls for some unsecured debts to be paid at 8 cents on the dollar.
The judge and her then-husband, James K. Jones, filed a bankruptcy petition in October 1995, asking for relief from certain debts. They reported $37,510 in assets then and $57,330 in liabilities.
She then worked as an assistant public defender. James Jones was unemployed. They divorced in 1999.
The pharmacist Ersland is charged with first-degree murder in the 2009 fatal shooting of a masked robber. He said he acted to defend himself and two employees. Prosecutors allege he went too far.
AT A GLANCE
Oklahoma County District Judge Tammy Bass-LeSure has not been charged with any crime over the misconduct accusation. However, sources say prosecutors told her last week they will file a judicial complaint. That is the first step in a process that could lead to her removal from office.