Feds Prevent Information Release In Price Probe
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Last month, CBS 11 News requested information from Dallas County’s Parkland Hospital as part of a federal investigation into commissioner John Wiley Price. But on Wednesday, CBS 11 News learned that federal prosecutors have asked the hospital to not hand over that information.
Among the items asked for were contracts between Parkland Hospital and businesses named in FBI search warrants. They include the company Wai-Wize, which is owned by Willis Johnson, Price’s friend.
Wai-Wize’s website says that it has a contract with Parkland Hospital for its new $1 billion hospital, being built now. Johnson has not returned phone calls.
In a statement, a Parkland Hospital spokesperson said, “The U.S. attorney has asked that we not release any information about its inquiry, as that might impede the investigation. We intend to fully comply with the U.S. attorney’s request.”
CBS 11 News also learned that federal prosecutors asked the Texas Attorney General’s office not to release the information to any reporters. In a letter to the Attorney General’s office, assistant U.S. attorney Walt Junker said, “We are currently conducting a criminal investigation, which in broad terms, involves allegations of public corruption, tax evasion and money laundering.”
The letter goes on to say, “Any release of information regarding this matter will interfere with and/or prejudice the ongoing investigation.”
Matt Orwig is the former U.S. attorney in the eastern district of Texas. He said, “This is a very broad ranging investigation, with tentacles into a lot of different activities. Parkland is going to be a very significant player, and it doesn’t mean they did anything wrong.”