Thursday, October 22, 2009
Another DOJ Triumph
"A former Dallas councilman and four associates, including his wife, were convicted Monday of shaking down developers who sought city approval for low-income housing projects. ... Two other defendants were each convicted in US District Court in Dallas of two felonies for their involvement in what federal prosecutors said was a wide-ranging scheme to extort money from real-estate developers. ... The guilty verdicts capped a three-month federal trial but don't mark the end of the Dallas corruption probe. Three additional defendants, including a Democratic state legislator, are scheduled to go on trial later this fall. Six others have pleaded guilty. 'The jury's verdict today shows that the citizens of this community do not want a government where the game is rigged,' said US Attorney James T. Jacks. ... The developers testified that they were pressured to funnel cash and lucrative consulting contracts to Mr. [Don] Hill and his associates in what they characterize as a pay-to-play scheme. ... During the investigation, the federal government recorded thousands of conversations. The jury heard, for instance, an associate of Mr. Hill telling him to delay a zoning votew while he pressured the developer for more money. Jurors also saw FBI suveillance photos of Mr. Hill accepting $10,000 in cash from a business associate who, just hours earlier had picked up $20,000 from one of the developers. ... Mr. Hill and the other four defendants, who are all black, have accused the government of targeting them for prosecution because of their race. Defense lawyers characterized the contracts for Mr. Hill's associates--including a $14,000-a-month consulting job for his wife--as legitimate efforts to involve minority groups in development projects", my emphasis, Stephanie Simon at the WSJ, 6 October 2009, link: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125476450210665155.html.
Imagine, Jacks and the FBI had time for this. Is Wall Street rigged to greater orders of magnitude? Will Jacks find an act commited by Goldman Sachs in Texas Northern District giving him authority to investigate it and potentially bring some of its senior exectives to book? $10,000, wow. $14,000 a month, wow. This case is a good argument for reducing the FBI's and DOJ's budgets. Apparently neither has anything important to do.