Real Estate Developer Admits to Bribing City Council Member
A Dallas real estate developer has pleaded guilty to bribery of a Dallas City Council Member, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.
Devin Hall, 44, pleaded guilty Thursday afternoon to conspiracy to commit bribery of an agent of local government receiving federal benefits.
“We have repeatedly pledged to tackle public corruption from every angle – prosecuting bribe payers, recipients, and facilitators,” said U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox. “In this case, yet again, we saw a real estate developer who purchased political influence, and a city council member who chose to line her pockets at the expense of taxpayers. The citizens of Dallas deserve to know that their elected leaders have only the city’s best interests at heart, and that money doesn’t interfere with government proceedings. With our partners at the FBI, we will relentlessly pursue these investigations until this sort of corruption is eradicated from City Hall.”
“Taxpayers and businesses expect the contract and development process to be fair and unbiased,” said FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno. “Public corruption is a top priority for the FBI. We will continue to work with our partners and the public to identify individuals and organizations who use bribes to influence government officials, and we will hold them accountable for their crimes.”
In plea papers unsealed today, Mr. Hall admitted that between 2013 and 2015, he paid “Council Member A” – who represented Dallas City Council District 7 and served as the Chair of the City of Dallas’ Housing Committee – at least $8,000 to use her political influence to further his real estate projects.
In return, the Council Member voted to allocate $650,000 in City of Dallas forgivable loans toward Mr. Hall’s Grand Park Place apartment project. She later moved to extend the project’s completion date by two years, and urged her colleagues to do the same. The Dallas City Council approved both requests.
Mr. Hall admitted he paid Council Member A in $750 to $1,000 installments, either directly in cash or via payments funneled through an intermediary. He also promised her a consulting job following her term-limited tenure on the City Council.
Both individuals knew the agreement was illegal, Mr. Hall admitted in his plea papers.
The City Council Member, now deceased, was not charged in conjunction with the above scheme, though she did plead guilty to engaging in a bribery scheme with another real estate developer before her death.
Mr. Hall now faces a statutory maximum of up to five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Office and IRS-Criminal Investigations conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Marcus Busch and Andrew Wirmani are prosecuting the case.