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Price Accused of Hiding Land Deals Reneging on Lawn Care Expenses

by Jack Douglas | CBS11

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DALLAS (CBS11) – Jurors in Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price’s federal corruption trial were told Wednesday, Price hid investments in three land deals and failed to pay taxes or mowing expenses on the properties.

Debra White, a nurse, testified her then-husband, George White, entered into a verbal agreement with Price in 1999 to buy land near Dallas Baptist University, near I-35 and I-635 in Mesquite and in an area referred to in court as Fairport-Trinity.

But when it came time to sign a formal ownership agreement, Price’s executive assistant, Daphney Fain, was the one that signed on the dotted line, White said.

The government called White to the witness stand in its continuing efforts to prove Price hid investments and revenue from the Internal Revenue Service, as part of a wider conspiracy involving political bribery.

White said the land partnership was struck at her home, and that the verbal agreement was that her ex-husband and Price would own the properties and share the expenses evenly.

On cross examination, Fain’s defense attorney, Thomas Mills, noted Debra White had earlier given federal agents a statement that said she was not in the room at the time the deal was reached, and only overheard parts of the conversation.

White at first denied that scenario, saying, “I was in the room. I heard the conversation.”

But when Mills pressed further, White acknowledged, “I wasn’t in the room…I don’t know that it makes a difference.”

White also testified that the Fairport-Trinity property was sold in February 2005 for $35,000, but that Price’s share – $17,000 – came in a check made out to Fain, instead of the commissioner.

In his questions to White, Mills argued that, in fact, Fain was the real partner with George White, and that’s why the check was made out to her.

But Debra White threw a wrench in that theory, saying that at the time of the closing, in her presence, “John Wiley Price got the check.”

She also said, with the divorce from her husband, she and Price now own equal interests in the property in Mesquite, but that he owes her for taxes and mowing expenses.

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