Dallas City Hall public corruption case by vzm51964


									Dallas City Hall public corruption case
Former Dallas City Council member Don Hill is accused of directing a web of associates to shake
down low-income housing developers and funnel him thousands in bribe payments in exchange
for his vote. Fourteen defendants were charged in fall 2007. Seven go on trial Monday on charges
including bribery, extortion, money laundering and tax fraud. Unless otherwise noted, they could
spend up to the rest of their lives in prison if convicted. Those who have pleaded guilty face up to
five years in prison.

       The defendants                                                                The
                           Brian Potashnik, 50, of Highland
                           Park, founder of Southwest Housing
                           Development Co., was one of Texas’
                           most prolific builders of apartments for
                           low-income tenants and seniors before
                           he was charged in this case. He is
           accused of funneling bribe payments to Don Hill and                       James R. “Bill”
           D’Angelo Lee by hiring their cohorts on development                       Fisher, 54, left
           projects. He also is accused of giving a free apartment                   Southwest Housing in
           to state Rep. Terri Hodge, D-Dallas. He faces 14 counts.                  2003 to start his own
                                                                                     firm. He went to the
                                                                                     FBI in 2004 after
                             Cheryl Potashnik, 39, was the chief                     associates of Don Hill
                             operating officer of Southwest Housing,                 allegedly tried to get
                             founded by her husband, Brian. She is                   Fisher to pay bribes.
                             accused of helping her husband in the                   Fisher refused, went
                             bribery scheme. She faces 14 counts.                    to the FBI with his
                                                                                     allegations, and
                                                                                     agreed to wear a

                               Don Hill, 57, of Dallas is a lawyer and former Dallas City Council
                               member. He is accused of funneling thousands of dollars in bribes
                               from wealthy developers Brian and Cheryl Potashnik, of
                               Southwest Housing Development Co. Inc., through sham business
                               contracts with several associates. He is charged with 12 counts.

                               Sheila Farrington, 45, of Dallas was a political consultant who
                               became Don Hill’s mistress and later, after the FBI investigation
                               went public, his wife. Prosecutors say that in late 2004, she used a
                               sham consulting business to funnel thousands of dollars in bribes
                               from Brian and Cheryl Potashnik to Hill and D’Angelo Lee. She
                               faces eight counts.

                               D’Angelo Lee, 43, of Dallas is a former pastor, Wall Street intern,
                               self-styled real estate consultant and Don Hill’s right-hand man. In
                               2003, the councilman appointed Lee to the Dallas Plan Commission,
                               and prosecutors say he used his position to help Hill coerce
                               developers into paying bribes. He is charged with nine counts.

                              Darren Reagan,                         Rickey Robertson (photo
                            50, of DeSoto was the                    unavailable), 43, of Cedar Hill
                            chairman and CEO of                      was a car dealer who
                            the Black State                          prosecutors say bought the
                            Employees                                silver 1998 BMW 740i that Don
                            Association of Texas.                    Hill was driving when the FBI
             Prosecutors say he used the sham                        conducted its raids in June
             group to protest low-income                             2005. Prosecutors say
             apartment developments of James                         Robertson also sought sham
             R. “Bill” Fisher. Prosecutors say                       contracts from James R. “Bill”
             Reagan’s threats evaporated when                        Fisher and was a business
             bribe payments began flowing. He                        partner of D'Angelo Lee, Jibreel
             faces eight counts, and recently                        Rashad and Andrea Spencer
             spent a year in prison for a federal                    through a sham company known
             theft conviction.                                       as Rashad-Millennium, or
                                                                     RA-MILL. He faces three counts.

         On trial later
                                                                  Jibreel Rashad (photo
                                                                  unavailable), 42, of Stafford,
                                                                  Texas, is a real estate investor
                            Ronald Slovacek,                      who prosecutors say used
                         41, is a businessman                     his company to seek sham
                         from Denton County                       construction subcontracts
                         who prosecutors say                      from James R. “Bill” Fisher
                         sought construction                      and, allegedly, funneled
           subcontracts from Brian and Cheryl                     bribes to Don Hill and
           Potashnik that helped funnel bribe                     D’Angelo Lee. He faces one
           payments to Don Hill and D’Angelo                      count with a maximum of 20
           Lee. He faces eight counts.                            years in prison. Rashad is
                                                                  serving an 11-year mortgage
                                                                  fraud sentence.

                              State Rep. Terri Hodge, 68, of Dallas is a Democrat
                              representing Texas House District 100 who last year was
                              re-elected to a seventh term. She is accused of accepting a
                              free apartment and new carpeting from Brian and Cheryl
                              Potashnik in exchange for support of their developments.
                              She faces 14 counts.

         Pleaded guilty already

                           Allen McGill, 66, of                                    Kevin Dean, 44,
                        Dallas was the former                                     of Arlington is a
                        president and vice                                        former football
                        chairman of the Black                                     player at Texas
                        State Employees                                           Christian University
                        Association of Texas.                                     who joined the San
        In April 2008, he pleaded guilty to one                     Francisco 49ers for one season.
        count of conspiracy to commit extortion,                    On June 8, he entered a plea of
        admitting that he worked with Darren                        guilty on one count, admitting
        Reagan in 2004 to get money from                            that he helped John Lewis extort
        James R. “Bill” Fisher on behalf of Don                     money from James R. “Bill”
        Hill and D’Angelo Lee.                                      Fisher on behalf of Don Hill.

                                                                   John Lewis (photo unavailable),
   Andrea Spencer (photo unavailable), 35,                         46, of Dallas is an attorney who
   of Dallas was an associate who pleaded                          pleaded guilty to one count in
   guilty to one count in April 2008. She                          March 2009. He admitted
   admitted helping funnel bribes from Brian                       partnering with Kevin Dean to
   and Cheryl Potashnik to Don Hill and                            extort money from James R. “Bill”
   D’Angelo Lee through sham contracts.                            Fisher on behalf of Don Hill.

SOURCE: Dallas Morning News research                      JASON TRAHAN/Staff Writer; MICHAEL HOGUE/Staff Artist

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