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Felony conviction of new McKeon director revealed

Posted: July 24, 2012 4:01 p.m.
Updated: July 24, 2012 4:01 p.m.


The day after he named Morris Thomas his district director for the Santa Clarita, Simi and Antelope valleys, Congressman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, disclosed Tuesday that Thomas had been convicted of a felony and served jail time for that conviction.

McKeon made the news public after members of his staff fielded phone calls Tuesday about Thomas’ conviction. Thomas currently is The Signal’s general manager.

McKeon said that as “a man of faith” and a “believer in forgiveness,” he chose Thomas to be his “ambassador” to the three valleys after Thomas fully disclosed a checkered past.

Thomas, who resigned as a lawyer in 1992 and who was named district director for the 25th Congressional District on Monday, had told the congressman about a “mistake” he made as a lawyer more than 20 years ago that resulted in a felony conviction against him.

Thomas was convicted of one count of grand theft and sentenced to 18 months in custody over a dispute involving client funds.

As a result, he resigned from the California State Bar in 1992.

“After paying my debt to society in 1992, with two step children and three daughters of my own, I commenced a journey to try to redeem myself,” Thomas said Tuesday.

That journey led to McKeon’s door when the congressman went looking for someone to replace Bob Haueter as district director for the 25th Congressional District.

“When I had an opening on my staff for the district director position, I reached out to Morris to discuss his interest in serving as my ‘ambassador’ in the community,” McKeon said Tuesday.

“We had a good discussion about how to move forward a positive agenda for the benefit of my constituents in the 25th Congressional District,” he said. “All that time Morris disclosed his regrettable mistake he made over 20 years ago and the price he paid personally for making such a bad decision.”

About the appointment, Thomas said Monday: “I’m honored to have the position.”

“I’m looking forward to providing services to the community on behalf of the congressman.”

Thomas has lived in the Santa Clarita Valley for more than 20 years.

He received a bachelor of science degree from California State University, Long Beach, and a juris doctor from the University of California, Los Angeles.

He was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1981 and resigned in 1992.

A native of Alabama and a former police officer in Washington, D.C., Thomas was also a small business owner before joining The Signal. He served as circulation director, administrative director, publisher of the Santa Clarita Valley Business Journal, interim publisher of The Signal and general manager.




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