- Associated Press - Saturday, February 8, 2014

A furniture store mogul loses $7 million in a Super Bowl bet with customers. A man posing as a distinguished Army general has his lie unravel after he offers a police chief a White House tour. And a former basketball star tries his hand on the diamond. These are a few of the happenings across Texas in this week’s edition of Lone Star Brites:


FORT WORTH, Texas - The medals and uniform didn’t convince a North Texas police chief he was truly dealing with a U.S. Army brigadier general.

Michael Douglas McDowell claimed to be one when he visited Fort Worth police Chief Jeff Halstead two years ago offering a tour of the White House or Pentagon. But the chief became suspicious and later discovered through investigators that McDowell had never served in the military.

The 57-year-old McDowell on Tuesday pleaded guilty to impersonating a public servant and was sentenced to five years of probation. He also pleaded guilty to bigamy for marrying a woman while still married to his estranged wife.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports (http://bit.ly/1btIye1) McDowell spun a web of lies that lasted for years as he claimed a long military career that included secret intelligence work. He was sometimes seen with a briefcase handcuffed to his arm. He had a Washington, D.C., phone number with a voicemail informing callers that someone from his “command staff” would call back.

McDowell often wore medals and ribbons, and had a Purple Heart license plate.


HOUSTON - Seattle’s victory in the Super Bowl has cost flamboyant Houston furniture store mogul Jim McIngvale some $7 million.

The owner of one of the nation’s largest independent furniture stores, Gallery Furniture, McIngvale promised customers who spent at least $6,000 and took delivery in the two weeks before the game that he’d refund their purchase cost if Seattle won.

The Seahawks delivered.

McIngvale, known as “Mattress Mack,” says his accountant told him the latest promotion was a “crazy idea” and now the accountant is “pulling his hair out.”

McIngvale says while he didn’t do well financially, he did build on his brand. He says the promotion was not covered by insurance.


HOUSTON - Retired seven-time NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady plans to try pitching for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League.

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