Political Predicament

Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price arrested in political corruption case

Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price arrested for corruption

One of Dallas' most influential politicians was arrested July 25 following a three-year federal investigation. Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price faces 13 felony counts of conspiracy, bribery, tax violations and false statements.

A 107-page federal indictment reveals the corruption case against Price and three associates: Kathy Louise Nealy, Dapheny Elaine Fain and Christian Lloyd Campbell.

"The indictment unsealed today alleges that for more than a decade, in a shocking betrayal of public trust, Commissioner Price sold his office on the Dallas County Commissioners Court in exchange for a steady stream of bribes," U.S. Attorney Sarah Saldaña said in a statement.

 The indictment alleges that Price exchanged votes on city contractors for roughly $1 million in kickbacks from lobbyist Kathy Nealy.

The indictment alleges that Price exchanged votes on city contractors for roughly $1 million in kickbacks from Nealy, a lobbyist and political consultant.

"Among Nealy's business clients were vendors seeking contracts with Dallas County and businesses pursuing other matters on which Price voted in Commissioners Court," the indictment reads.

Campbell, a consultant working in concert with Nealy, and Fain, Price's chief of staff, were complicit in the corruption scheme, the indictment alleges.

The contracts in question occurred over the course of a decade — from 2001 through 2011 — and included services for IT, digital imaging and inmate telephone services.

To cover her tracks, authorities say Nealy would transfer money from her accounts to Price's and write checks payable to financial institutions at which Price held accounts. Nealy would also endorse and sign her own personal checks over to Price, "sometimes with 'salary' written in the memo line."

Besides cash, checks and transfers, Nealy also gifted Price with unfettered access to a number of luxury vehicles that were titled and insured in her name. According to the indictment, Price has full use of Nealy's BMW 645Ci convertible and Chevrolet Avalanche.

The feds say that in addition to financial benefits for himself, "Price corruptly solicited and demanded a series of benefits for other persons, with the intent to be influenced and rewarded in connection with any Dallas County business" involving a value of at least $5,000.

If convicted, Price faces 20 years in prison for each count of mail fraud, five years for each bribery charge and three years for each false statement to the IRS. All of the charges carry a $250,000 fine.

Boasting the nickname "our man downtown," Price has been an elected official in Dallas County since 1985. An undated statement on Price's campaign website refers to his ability to persevere through trials.

"John Wiley Price continues to stand in the face of chaos and controversy with a strong will and the assurance of his purpose in life," the statement reads in part. "Much like the Apostle Paul, wherever he goes his advocacy for justice is sure to cause a riot or a revival."

John Wiley Price
Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price was arrested July 25. Photo via Johnwileyprice.com