DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – As Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Prices’ legal troubles seem to be growing, his attorney says he’s preparing for a legal fight.
Attorney Billy Ravkind says he’s “fairly confident” there will be a federal indictment. But he also complains about the way he says the government is going about it. “There seems to be a real effort—with no rules—to get rid of John Wiley Price.”
Ravkind insists it’s unusual to have so many criminal allegations put in a civil suit, the way the government did in an affidavit supporting a civil seizure suit released last week.
The government accuses Price of money laundering and bankruptcy fraud and wants to keep nearly $500,000 seized from Price during its investigation, including cash seized in Price’s home during a raid in June of last year.
“I know generally where the funds came from. I know they weren’t anything illegal. Whether or not they were funds that should’ve been disclosed in the bankruptcy, I don’t know the answer to that,” Ravkind told CBS 11.
That’s one government claim. Ravkind insists there are explanations for other government allegations.
Why would anyone provide Price money to buy property when he was fresh out of bankruptcy? According to the government’s affidavit – Price was receiving loans during his bankruptcy proceedings — and received a $150,000 loan a little more than year after emerging from that process. “He’s got quite a few people that try to help him, give him business opportunities, I don’t think I should be mentioning their names. But they’re out there and they’re real. And if we go to trial they’ll be testifying.”
And what about the government allegation Price was illegally moving money through another associate’s legitimate business? “There was no money laundering; money laundering means there was something illegal going on. It doesn’t necessarily mean money is moving, it means the movement is illegal. And that won’t be the case, as it develops.”
Ravkind also says he represented Price’s associate Kathy Nealey during the Dallas City Hall scandal. Then she testified for the government. But now Ravkind claims—unbeknowst to him—the government was already investigating her relationships with Price. “I have a problem with Kathy Nealey, and her being a witness in the city hall case,” he says, adding, “And from what I read in the affidavit they were already considering her a criminal and they didn’t disclose that to anybody. I don’t know what’s going on there. I find that troubling, very troubling.”
“I represented her (Nealey) when she was cooperating with the government; and I would’ve expected to have been told at that time if they were looking at her for criminal conduct.”
Ravkind doesn’t believe Price, Nealey or others linked to Price have done anything illegal. And no one has been formally charged with a crime. Still, Ravkind anticipates having to prove Price innocent in a court of law.