DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — A former Dallas City Council member has pleaded guilty to accepting bribes from a real estate developer while serving on the council’s Housing Committee.
A federal plea agreement unsealed Friday says Carolyn Davis took the developer’s money from November 2013 to June 2015 in exchange for help winning approval for an affordable housing project.
“Sadly, we’ve seen this conduct in Dallas too much. Sometimes public officials can’t resist the allure of payments,” said Erin Nealy Cox, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas.
Davis was charged with conspiracy to commit bribery concerning programs using federal funds. She faces a sentence of no more than five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
“If you are a public official, and prioritize your interest over your constituents, we will prosecute you,” said Nealy Cox.
Court records say the developer, Ruel Hamilton paid Davis more than $40,000 and promised her future consulting work in return for her lobbying and voting for the deal worth more than $2.5 million in “City of Dallas funds and obligations.”
A federal grand jury indicted Hamilton on two counts of bribery. His Amerisouth Realty Group owns low income apartment communities in Texas and Oklahoma. Prosecutors allege Hamilton offered bribes to Davis and one more former Dallas City Council member.
Sources told CBS 11 News the other former City Council member is Dwaine Caraway, whose already convicted in a public corruption case surrounding Dallas county schools.
Davis spoke to CBS 11 News six years ago after a city-initiated investigation into a program that helped offenders re-enter society proved thousands of tax dollars were misspent by some employees.
Project Reconnect was shut down, the program manager faced a criminal charge, and eight employees were put on paid administrative leave.
Davis defended the program, which faced allegations an employee or employees traded sex for housing vouchers.
“The ex-offender program is a good program here in our city,” said Davis. “It takes people out of the prison setting and into the civilian life. It helps them get prepared and ready for a whole new world that’s changed.”
Davis added at the time, that the city conducted ethics training for employees.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawling sent CBS 11 News the following statement in regard to Davis:
“I join my fellow Dallas residents today in a shared sense of despair over a former council member’s betrayal of the public trust. I’m also sick and tired of the vultures who lurk around City Hall in search of corruptible public officials. There is no place in our government for those who cheat the good people of Dallas by offering bribes, just as there is no place for those who accept them. We should all be grateful for the work of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District, as well as the Dallas FBI and IRS for continuing to root out public corruption. As FBI Special Agent Jackson said this morning, the public deserves better. I have asked City Manager T.C. Broadnax, who began his tenure in 2017, to initiate a review of housing projects that are connected to the charges announced today.”