Last June, when FBI agents raided the home and office of Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, the Washington Post exclaimed, “Something’s rotten in Dallas.”
Agents this week confiscated $180,000 of Price’s, according to a story by the Dallas Morning News today. Less than two months ago, agents seized an unspecified amount of money from him, the proceeds, they said, of a “specified unlawful activity.”
But after eleven months of raiding and seizing, the FBI isn’t saying just what, exactly, is giving off that powerful stench in Dallas. The feds have yet to charge Price, the “lightning rod commissioner,” as the Post called him, with any specified or unspecified unlawful activity.
Not that there hasn’t been plenty of criminal activity suggested. At the time of the initial raid search warrants said the federal agents were looking for electronic data having anything to do with theft, bribery, fraud, money laundering, conspiracy, tax evasion and evasion of reporting requirements. Oh, and we left out making false statements.
What they got was an unknown amount of money from Price’s safe, the Morning News story says.
NBC 5 in Dallas reported at the time that $930,000 reportedly earned in 2009 by Kwanzaafest, a non-profit event started by Price, did not show up on Kwanzaafest’s tax returns.
Maurine Dickey, Price’s colleague and combatant on the County Commission, told KERA News at the time the raid shocked but at the same time pleased her. The two had often fought over government corruption and voter fraud, the story said.
“I think it's a happy day for Dallas County, “ Dickey said, “because it's ... it offers hope that there's a higher authority than local people that will come in and that will see if, will check on things and if there is wrongdoing they'll do something about it.”
What they did was nothing until December when, armed with a warrant, agents seized $50,000 Price made from the sale of a property. The seizure of $180,000 this week had to do with a land transaction, too, although Price’s attorney was not clear about whether it was a sale or a refinancing.
Price insists he doesn’t know what the federal agents are looking for. His attorney, Billy Ravkind, says his client has done nothing wrong. The FBI, as is its custom, is saying nothing.
And still no charges.
Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or email@example.com or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.
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Photo of money by flickr user construct, used via a Creative Commons license.