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Dallas commissioner bribe case puts some companies at risk

John Wiley Price, courtesy of Dallas Morning News (via YouTube)Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price was arrested by FBI agents in late July in a high-profile public corruption investigation in which he stands accused of taking more than $1.1 million. The payments made and received and number of players involved are numerous, and the 107-page indictment against him includes 11 federal corruption charges.

How do we make sense of it all?

I spoke with Marcus Christian, a partner in Mayer Brown’s Washington, D.C. office, about the charges.

First, a little background. The indictment against Price alleges that Kathy Nealy, a Dallas political consultant and long-time associate, bribed Price to sway votes before the Dallas County Commissioners.

Authorities allege that Price threw his support behind Hillwood, an industrial, commercial and residential real estate developer owned by H. Ross Perot after Hillwood hired Nealy to lobby for its project.

The indictment accuses Price of taking $950,000 in cars, cash and land from Nealy.

“This will take a long time to get to trial, thanks to all of the moving parts, sheer number of documents involved and decisions the prosecutors need to reach concerning whether they will have unindicted co-conspirators testify against Price,” Christian said.

“Some of the companies involved may get a non-prosecution agreement and help the government with the case,” he said.

What should a company, and those in its supply chain, do when it gets a jury subpoena in this case or others like it?

“The company should do its own investigation to see if it has any potential involvement — as much internal investigating as it can before the government gets involved. If a company can offer up any evidence to help the case, it will only reflect well on it,” Chrisian said.

“And any red flags that signal impropriety on the part of a related third party or a rogue employee should be investigated, remedied and communicated to the regulators,” he said.

Price and Nealy pleaded not guilty at their arraignment on July 25.


Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog and can be reached here.

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1 Comment

  1. Price's activities have been well known in Dallas for many years and apparently tolerated by his voters. I have at least two friends who told me they walked away from deals in Dallas County, because of the corruption of JWP and his cohorts. It will be interesting so see the companies that failed to walk away.

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