More Defendants Sentenced in Dallas City Hall Corruption Case
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 01, 2010|
DALLAS—Today, U.S. District Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn sentenced two more of the 13 defendants who were convicted in what has become known as the “Dallas City Hall Corruption Case,” announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas.
Judge Lynn sentenced Darren L. Reagan, 50, of DeSoto, Texas, to 14 years in federal prison. Reagan, a community activist and the chairman and CEO of the Black State Employees Association of Texas (BSEAT), was convicted at trial in October 2009 on two of four counts charged, including one count of conspiracy to commit extortion and one count of aiding and abetting in extortion of public officials. He was ordered to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on April 27, 2010.
Judge Lynn sentenced Rickey Robertson, 43, of Cedar Hill, Texas, to three years in federal prison. Robertson, a local businessman/car dealer, was convicted at trial on two of three counts charged, including conspiracy to commit extortion and conspiracy to commit money laundering. This morning, Judge Lynn ruled that there was insufficient evidence to show that Robertson knew the funds he received as a part of the scheme were from an illegal source. Robertson was also a principal of RA-MILL, a sham construction firm for which defendant D’Angelo Lee served as a secret partner. Lee was then Mayor Pro Tem Don Hill’s Plan Commissioner. Robertson was also ordered to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on April 27, 2010.
Reagan’s association, BSEAT served as a front for his shakedown schemes. On wiretapped conversations played during trial, Reagan told then Mayor Pro Tem Hill to pull developer Bill Fisher’s contracts off the city council agenda while he made more extortionate demands for money from Fisher. Fisher was working as an FBI informant.
The money laundering conspiracy conviction against Robertson that Judge Lynn overturned, revolved around his acceptance of money related to the purchase of four automobiles, coupled with his willingness to place the title to one of Hill’s BMWs in a name other than Don Hill. Robertson was convicted at trial along with Hill; Hill’s wife, Sheila Farrington; Lee and Reagan of pressuring Fisher for hundreds of thousands of dollars in extortion money.
On Friday, February 26, 2009, Judge Lynn sentenced Hill to 18 years in prison; his wife, Sheila Farrington, to nine years in prison; and D’Angelo Lee to 14 years in prison. Hill was also ordered to pay $112,500 in restitution; Lee was ordered to pay $112,800 in restitution. Hill and Farrington were ordered to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on April 27, 2010. Lee is presently in federal custody.
At that trial, which resulted in 23 guilty verdicts, in October 2009, the government presented evidence that beginning in 2004, Hill and his co-defendants entered into an association in which thousands of dollars in bribes were paid by co-defendants Brian L. Potashnik and his wife, Cheryl L. Potashnik, owners of Southwest Housing Development Company, Inc., through sham business contracts to the defendants. The government also presented evidence that Hill and Lee were involved in corrupt solicitation from developers in an effort to gain financial benefit. Brian and Cheryl Potashnik pleaded guilty prior to trial; Brian Potashnik pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery concerning a local government receiving federal benefits and Cheryl Potashnik pleaded guilty to one count of bribery concerning a state government receiving federal benefits. Both are scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Lynn on May 7, 2010.
The next sentencings in the case are set for Friday, March 19, 2010. That day, Judge Lynn will sentence Allen McGill, Andrea Spencer, Kevin J. Dean and John J. Lewis, who all pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit extortion.
On April 2, 2010, Terri Hodge, who pleaded guilty on February 3, 2010, to fraud and false statements on an income tax return, is scheduled to be sentenced.
On May 7, 2010, Jibreel A. Rashad, a.k.a. Vernon Cooks, Jr., who was convicted on February 10, 2010, following a one-week trial, of conspiracy to commit extortion, is scheduled to be sentenced.
A trial date has not been set for the charges pending against defendant Ronald W. Slovacek. Last month the government filed a motion requesting that some of the counts be dismissed and indicating its intention to proceed to trial on only three counts: one count of conspiracy to commit bribery concerning a local government receiving federal benefits; one count of bribery concerning a local government receiving federal benefits; and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
The case is being prosecuted by Criminal Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Chad Meacham, Deputy Criminal Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Saldaña, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Chris Stokes, Stephen Fahey and Leigha Simonton.