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Real Estate Developer Indicted for Bribing Dallas City Council Members, Faces 15 Years in Prison

A federal grand jury has indicted Sherman Roberts — a real estate developer who is president and CEO of City Wide Community Development Corporation — with two felony counts for allegedly bribing disgraced former Dallas mayor and city councilman Dwaine Caraway and the late former councilwoman Carolyn Davis.

Caraway is serving a 56-month prison sentence and Davis is no longer alive. She was killed in a car accident in 2019 a few months after pleading guilty to bribery.

Though court documents name “Council Member A” and “Council Member B” as participants in the scandal, D Magazine reports that these labels seem to refer to Davis and Caraway, respectively.

Federal prosecutors accuse Roberts of one count of conspiracy to commit bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds and one count of bribery concerning a local government receiving federal benefits.

The Justice Department announced the indictment in a press release on Thursday.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office is determined to restore Dallas’ trust in its city government by systematically dismantling the ecosystems that allowed this sort of corruption,” U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox said.

“We continued to attack the problem from every angle, targeting bribe [payers], recipients, and facilitators. Cities flourish when leaders have only constituents’ best interests at heart. We will not stop until that goal is achieved.”

The indictment alleges that Roberts schemed with Council Member A and Council Member B to pay them bribes in exchange for favorable votes and influence regarding Roberts’ real estate projects. This included Council Member A using a position on the Dallas City Housing Committee to benefit Roberts, the grand jury said.

The Justice Department described the payoffs that are said to have awaited these politicians for their cooperation with Roberts, which allegedly included Council Member A securing $1.9 million in benefits for one of Roberts’ projects and a nine percent Texas Department of Housing tax credit for low-income housing.

“In return for a $600 cash payment plus the promise of a $60,000 lump sum payment and a $2,000 monthly stipend, Council Member B agreed to stop the City of Dallas from issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP) for Mr. Roberts’ Patriot’s Crossing project and to cast votes in favor of the project on the City Council,” the press release stated.

Roberts could be ordered to prison for 15 years if he is convicted.

Another real estate developer is scheduled to be put on trial in February 2021 for similar offenses, and yet another pleaded guilty earlier this year for bribery violations.

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