This article is co-published with The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan local newsroom that informs and engages with Texans. Sign up for The Brief Weekly to get up to speed on their essential coverage of Texas issues.
Over the past quarter-century, former NFL player Kenny Hansmire has leaned on government officials across the country to grow the National Child Identification Program. The Texas-based company sells kits that it claims help track down missing kids.
A ProPublica and Texas Tribune investigation found that politicians have committed millions of dollars to purchasing the fingerprinting kits despite little evidence of their effectiveness and the company’s use of exaggerated missing-child statistics. Numerous Texas law enforcement agencies told the news organizations they couldn’t recall using a kit to help find a runaway or kidnapped child.
For Hansmire, NCIDP stands out as a success amid a decadeslong string of troubled business ventures, from municipal debt collection to college all-star football games. In some cases, he has recognized politicians who supported the company with awards at NFL games and other events.
Hansmire has formed or been involved with at least a dozen Texas businesses in the past three decades. Many of them have faced lawsuits from creditors, lenders or contractors for unpaid bills, or they lost the right to operate in the state after failing to pay taxes or file tax returns, according to a ProPublica and Tribune analysis of business filings and court and tax records.
In raising money for some of his businesses, Hansmire linked up with a Connecticut securities broker to persuade at least 10 investors to lend some of his companies $1.9 million, according to public records. The effort drew scrutiny from the Connecticut Department of Banking, which found that the men defrauded or misled investors in the sale of securities. Hansmire reached a settlement with the Banking Department and agreed to stop seeking investments and to pay an undisclosed amount in restitution.
Hansmire did not respond to detailed questions from the news organizations about the legal and financial challenges his companies have faced. Instead, he issued a broad statement to the news organizations saying that he’s “always taken responsibility and paid debts entirely.”
“I have always been an entrepreneur with both ups and downs,” Hansmire said in the statement. He added that he believes that “most businesses” face legal disputes and noted that the lawsuits against him “have been properly resolved, closed, and are completely unrelated to the National Child ID Program.”
Hansmire said his company’s kits have been lauded by law enforcement leaders for helping during the “first and most critical minutes of a search for a missing child.”
He didn’t provide proof that he had paid off his debts, and publicly available records show that numerous state and federal tax liens against him and his companies remained in place as of early May. A public IRS filing shows that Hansmire and his wife had at least $2 million in outstanding tax liens as of October 2022, though the agency would not confirm if that’s how much they still owe to the federal government.
Little information is available on Hansmire’s more recent companies. They have no websites, and we found no liens or lawsuits against them. Others appear frequently in court records, news reports, business filings and other public documents. Below is an accounting of those ventures.
Company name: Capital Assistance Group
When it was active: 1990s
Hansmire’s role: President, according to news coverage from the time
What it did: The collections agency landed contracts with cities across the state to recover unpaid traffic tickets that had resulted in warrants. During a 1991 meeting, Hansmire promised officials in White Settlement, a municipality near Fort Worth, that the company would “at least double the amount you pay us or we will write you a check for the difference.”
Legal and financial issues: Tax records show that the IRS and the state of Texas filed four liens against Capital Assistance Group in the early and mid-1990s that totaled more than $31,000. The state ones are still outstanding, according to Texas Workforce Commission spokesperson Angela Woellner, who said the liens were for unpaid unemployment insurance taxes. In 1993, a county court judge ordered Hansmire and Capital Assistance to pay $9,850 plus $3,283 in attorneys fees to an 87-year-old East Texas widow, Ruby Flournoy, who has since died. According to court records, Flournoy loaned Hansmire the money, which he promised to pay back with “certain funds to be paid over to him by the city of Forest Hill,” a suburb of Fort Worth that had hired Capital Assistance, according to news coverage. Flournoy’s son, Robert Flournoy, an attorney who represented his mother in the case, said in an interview that Hansmire never paid. In 1995, Hansmire was sued by the city of Arlington for “unpaid collection fees.” A judge subsequently ordered Hansmire to pay the city $5,000 plus attorneys fees, court records show. Arlington Assistant City Attorney Ursula Monroe Patterson said the office couldn’t confirm if Hansmire paid because records are no longer available and none of its current employees are familiar with the case. Hansmire did not directly address questions about the lawsuits or specific liens.
Company name: Inkless Image Security Corp.
When it started: 1996
Status: Voluntarily terminated
Hansmire’s role: Secretary, treasurer and president
What it did: Hansmire partnered with Peter A. Pyhrr, a Dallas-area inventor, to form the company. The men were granted a patent in 1999 for an “inkless fingerprint methodology” that could be used to verify the authenticity of written medication prescriptions or to confirm the true identity of airline passengers “for security purposes in case something illegal happens to the plane (bombing or hijacking).” To do this, doctors and airlines would use paper coated with an invisible chemical solution that pharmacists and boarding agents would check by applying another chemical solution. Pyhrr could not be reached for comment.
Legal and financial issues: In 2004, a justice of the peace ordered Hansmire and the company to pay Riddell Inc., a manufacturer of professional football gear, nearly $5,000 plus interest and fees. It’s unclear why Riddell filed suit, as the case file is not available online and the court ignored repeated requests to provide it. Available records indicate Hansmire paid. He did not directly address questions about the case. A Riddell spokesperson said that the company couldn’t comment because its general counsel wasn’t around at the time of the lawsuit and its prior general counsel had died.
Company name: Identaprint Texas Inc.
When it started: Registered in 1996
Status: Forfeited existence
Hansmire’s role: Hansmire’s lawyer at the time, Carl Barnhart, was listed on the Texas secretary of state website as the registered agent. The company’s incorporation filing isn’t available online, but court records from a 1996 lawsuit against the company state that Hansmire was its president.
What it did: The company sold inkless fingerprint materials to individuals and businesses, including in the area of child identification, according to court records.
Legal and financial issues: In 1996, a contract sales employee who also had invested in the company sued Hansmire in a Dallas state district court, alleging the company failed to pay her commission on the sale of inkless fingerprint materials. She also alleged that Hansmire failed to repay loans for $9,205 and $1,880 that she gave him in exchange for 10% of company stock, as well as an undisclosed security interest and the rights to any future patent for “Inkless Fingerprint Tamperproof Tape,” a product designed for use by the drug testing industry. The parties reached a settlement that required Hansmire to pay more than $40,000 to the employee-investor, who did not respond to requests for comment. It is unclear if it was paid. Hansmire did not directly address questions about the case.
Company name: Overtime Sports Pacific Inc.
When it started: 2004
Status: Forfeited existence
Hansmire’s role: Chair, CEO, co-director and registered agent
What it did: In late 2004, Hansmire bought a majority share of a 58-year-old college football all-star game in Hawaii with his longtime friend and business partner Mark Salmans and his wife, Mindy. Local news coverage stated that, before the sale, the Hula Bowl had struggled with attendance, sponsorships and debt.
Legal and financial issues: In January 2006, less than two years after purchasing the game, the company sold it following a string of public controversies centered on naming rights, relocation of the game and ongoing struggles with attendance. Later that year, the company that Overtime Sports had hired to handle promotion and advertising sued Hansmire’s company and the bowl’s new owner for $103,000, claiming it hadn’t been fully paid. The new owner blamed Overtime Sports, according to news coverage, but Hansmire asserted that his company “left Hawaii without any debts.” Court records and news coverage indicate the parties were working toward a settlement, though it’s unclear if they reached one. Hansmire did not directly address questions about the case, and none of the other parties responded to requests for comment. Mark and Mindy Salmans also did not respond to requests for comment. The case was dismissed in October 2008.
Company name: Overtime Marketing LLC
When it started: 2005
Status: Voluntarily dissolved
Hansmire’s role: President, CEO and director
What it did: Overtime Marketing LLC did business as the National Child Identification Program, according to federal tax liens and court records. It’s unclear if running NCIDP was the entity’s primary purpose, but Hansmire moved to terminate the company in September 2015, citing an intent to restructure the business. Two days later, he formed Stillwater Solutions 23 LLC, which does business as NCIDP.
Legal and financial issues: In April 2009, the IRS filed a lien against the company for nearly $9,000 in unpaid employment taxes. Records show Hansmire paid the full amount later that year. In 2012, the IRS, which declined to comment, filed additional liens against the company for unpaid unemployment taxes totaling more than $73,000. Nearly $45,000 of that was still outstanding at the time of publication, according to publicly available records. In 2014, a district court judge in Dallas ordered Overtime Marketing, which was doing business as Texas vs. The Nation, to pay almost $35,000 to a sports radio station that had sued the company, alleging it was not compensated for on-air advertisements. Two years later, Frost Bank sued Overtime Marketing and Hansmire for overdrafting his business accounts by nearly $50,000. A county court judge approved a settlement agreement that required him to reimburse the bank. A Frost spokesperson confirmed that Hansmire paid but declined to comment further. Hansmire did not directly address questions about the case.
Company name: Overtime Sports Southwest LLC
When it started: 2006
Status: Forfeited existence
Hansmire’s role: Member and president
What it did: After leaving Hawaii, Hansmire launched a new bowl game in El Paso called Texas vs. The Nation, which pitted the state’s top college football players against their peers from across the country. According to local news coverage from the time, he recruited the University of Texas at El Paso’s football coach to lead the state team and persuaded local officials to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in the venture on the promise that it would turn the city into an important destination for NFL scouts and have a multimillion-dollar economic impact. After a few years, attendance fell. Hansmire blamed El Pasoans for not showing up to the fourth game, on Feb. 6, 2010, describing turnout as a “big disappointment,” and threatened to relocate. He later apologized, but the City Council scaled back El Paso’s financial commitment. He moved the game to San Antonio the following year and later the Dallas suburb of Allen, where it was played a final time.
Legal and financial issues: Overtime Sports Southwest was later renamed Overtime Sports Southeast. In 2014, Hansmire and Overtime Sports Southeast filed a lawsuit against Dethrone Royalty Holdings Inc., the title sponsor for the final game, which resulted in a settlement that allowed Hansmire to pay outstanding bills from the game. A year later, California-based Direct Access Fund LLC, which had lent Overtime Southwest money, sued Hansmire for failing to repay. The parties settled that year, but in July 2016, Direct Access Fund asked that the case be removed from the dismissal docket because Hansmire still hadn’t paid. A settlement later awarded Direct Access Fund, whose attorney did not respond to requests for comment, $213,750 plus $13,000 in attorneys fees. It’s unclear if Hansmire paid. “I am very proud of what Texas vs. The Nation accomplished in El Paso,” Hansmire said in his statement. “The game was instrumental in furthering numerous football careers.”
Company name: Safety Blitz Foundation Inc.
When it started: 2015
Status: In existence
Hansmire’s role: No formal role is listed in state records, but in an interview with ProPublica and the Tribune, Hansmire said that Safety Blitz, a nonprofit, was formed so that the for-profit National Child Identification Program could accept donations. Mark Salmans, who is director of operations for NCIDP, is listed as the foundation’s registered agent.
What it does: According to its federal tax filings, Safety Blitz’s mission is “to provide child ID safety kits that allow parents to collect specific information by easily recording the physical characteristics and fingerprints of their children on identification cards that are kept by the parent or guardian.” In Texas and South Carolina, the millions of dollars that lawmakers have approved for kit purchases went to the foundation, which then used the money to purchase kits from the National Child Identification Program.
Legal and financial issues: A review of IRS records found that the foundation didn’t file its required annual tax form for the first three years of its existence. That resulted in the loss of the organization’s tax-exempt status. A letter from the IRS to Safety Blitz shows its exemption was reinstated in 2019. “I have no position with the Safety Blitz Foundation,” Hansmire said in a statement. Salmans did not respond to questions about the organization.
Company name: Stillwater Solutions 23 LLC, doing business as the National Child Identification Program
When it started: 2015
Status: In existence
Hansmire’s role: Registered agent and manager
What it does: The company sells child identification kits to governmental entities and schools across the country, according to contracting records. Federal records show the company spent more than $200,000 on lobbyists since 2019 to push legislation in Congress that would support taxpayer-funded purchases of the company’s kits.
Legal and financial issues: In November 2021, Stillwater temporarily lost its legal right to operate after a tax forfeiture but was reinstated in January 2022. Tax forfeitures can occur when a company fails to pay taxes, but Hansmire said in this case it was because the company didn’t file its franchise tax return on time. “Stillwater missed a mundane filing deadline,” Hansmire said in a statement to the news organizations. “This was corrected, and we are in good standing.”
Jeremy Schwartz contributed reporting.