Victims' Rights Caucus

Speeches

 Madam Speaker, to the residents of Houston and the surrounding cities, the name ``Marvin Zindler'' was synonymous with ``champion'' and ``crusader.'' You see, Marvin Zindler has just as many stories as the Lone Ranger himself--just as many tales about his struggles for justice too. He was a fighter for the ``little man,'' defending those who were swindled or scammed--seeking retribution the only way he knew how, with a bright light, an all-seeing camera lens, and a television audience.

For the last thirty-four years, Marvin has been the much loved and revered face of television station KTRK Channel 13 in Houston, Texas. He was known for his consumer reporting--one of the first in the business to do so--letting the unsuspecting public in on the down and dirty dealing of local businesses throughout Southeast Texas. It was his thirst for integrity and justice among his fellow citizens that led Marvin to work day in and out to unmask the unscrupulous. But to truly understand Marvin, you have to understand the man behind the camera--who he was before he became ``The Marvin Zindler.''

Marvin was born into the wealth and privilege of society in 1921 and he was not sure where he wanted to go in his life. Torn between careers, Marvin came roaring into the media world as a DJ and spot reporter for a former, local radio station. He moved onto a career with a former Houston newspaper and did spot news reports for a local television station. It was during his early stint in the media that Marvin began to lean towards the law enforcement profession. In the early 1950s, he was a volunteer police officer--all while continuing to be a voice in the media.

In 1962, Marvin put aside his media career and became a member of the Sheriffs Department. Assigned to the fugitive apprehension unit, it was his responsibility to round and rope up those who sought to flee American justice. Madam Speaker, legend has it that Marvin Zindler once chased a Texas fugitive through the heat of the Mexican deserts and into the rainforests of Central America, where he caught up with the Texas outlaw in what was then the U.S. held territory of the Panama Canal Zone. Marvin had a U.S. warrant for this criminal's arrest, but it was not sufficient enough to arrest him in Mexico or Central America. So he just waited untilthe fugitive touched U.S. soil--the Panama Canal. He then brought him back to face the Texas courts.

I first met Marvin back when I was a prosecutor. I have the honor and privilege of calling him a personal friend of mine and remained so throughout my judicial career. I can attest to his larger than life personality and his determination to make a difference in the world.

With the Sheriff's Department, Marvin established and ran the consumer fraud division. He was good at his job, perhaps a little too good as rumor has it. In 1972, Marvin was fired from the Sheriff's Department because local businesses were angered by his consumer fraud investigations. It was soon after his abrupt departure from law enforcement, he was hired by Channel 13 to be their on-air consumer reporter. From then on, a star was born.

Marvin Zindler stalked unscrupulous businesses like a lion stalks its prey. He was famous for his ``rat and roach reports'' on health inspections of local restaurants. He stood up to the bureaucrats who tried to walk on the backs of poor Houston residents, who did not have two dimes to rub together and had been swindled. He sought out immoral used car salesmen who made double-crossing deals of one-sided contracts and high interest rates--milking the consumers out of hundreds of dollars.

While the Houston public adored their TV crusader, Marvin did make some enemies, including a local county sheriff. In 1973, not yet a year into his TV career, Marvin exposed the State's best kept secret, a brothel called the Chicken Ranch in La Grange, Texas. His news story not only led to several ladies of the