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John Wiley Price has "No Clue" Why FBI is Investigating Him

Yesterday, agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation executed multiple search warrants on Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price’s office, residence and vehicles.  Federal Agents also executed warrants against Price’s longtime executive assistant, Dapheny Fain, and Price’s political consultant, Kathy Neely.

John Wiley Price (JWP) says he has  “no clue” why the FBI and IRS are investigating him for money laundering, tax evasion, theft, bribery and misuse of public office.  On the other hand, most people I spoke  to in Dallas County are surprised it took this long for the feds to knock on Price’s door.

Last week former Dallas city councilman Al Lipscomb died and the local media reacted like he was Martin Luther King.  Lipscomb was convicted of public corruption in 2000.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans overturned Lipscombe’s January 2000 federal conviction because, the justices wrote, U.S. District Judge Joe Kendall abused his discretion by moving the trial to Amarillo over the defense’s objections. The three-judge panel ordered a new trial; Mr. Lipscomb will be free in the interim.

The appeals court did not dispute the facts presented at Lipscomb’s trial, which the justices’ ruling reiterated in lengthy detail.

At the trial, Yellow Cab Co. owner Floyd Richards testified that he had paid Mr. Lipscomb $1,000 a month for a period of years in return for favorable votes on matters affecting the cab company.

After the payments began, the appeals court wrote, “Lipscomb energetically used many of the tools at the disposal of a Council member his vote, his oversight authority, his agenda-setting power, and his other parliamentary privileges to support policies favorable to Yellow Cab, even though these policies conflicted with his previous positions.”

Following his conviction, Lipscomb apologized publicly for his conduct, saying that he had erred in not including the Yellow Cab payments on his financial disclosure reports.

Lipscomb and Price were close associates, one serving on the city council, the other on Commissioners Court.  Price is Dallas County Commissioner for District Three.  His constituents refer to him as, “Our Man Downtown.”  By the way, that description comes from his official county biography. And yet he doesn’t have a clue why the FBI searched his home and offices today?

In Texas, county commissioners sit on the “Commissioners Court” and are referred to as “Judges”.  Here’s what JWP had to say about his visit from the FBI today:

Earlier this year Price yelled out during Commissioners court, “All of you are white. Go to hell.”  JWP is well known for his tirades and outbursts against the white devil, but as you can see in the video above, he seemed unusually subdued today. 

Price made headlines when he launched a profanity-laced tirade at a December 2009 Dallas County Commissioners Court meeting over the ongoing investigation of impropriety among Dallas Constables. Price repeatedly pounded on the desk in front of him and responded to a call from County Judge Jim Foster for order by declaring that Foster should “Make me come to order!”

Since 1992 Price has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, assault, criminal mischief, criminal trespassing, terroristic threat, aggravated assault-serious bodily injury, and sexual assault.  Price was acquitted or the charges were dismissed in all the felony cases filed against him.  But Price was convicted of misdemeanors and sentenced — first to probation, then to jail.  I’m not so sure he’ll be as lucky this time. 

Price is just one of many in a long line of corrupt public officials in Dallas County.  In late 2004, the FBI got a tip from a developer that former Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Don Hill and others were pressuring him for bribes and taking bribes from others. Fourteen people were charged in 2007. Seven pleaded guilty, and the rest were convicted in various trials.

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