Two Who Took Guilty Pleas in City Hall Corruption Case Were Sentenced Today
John Lewis and Kevin Dean were among the first two to plead guilty, both to one count of extortion, in the Dallas City Hall federal corruption case -- Lewis in March of last year; Dean, in June. When Lewis pleaded guilty, his attorney, Clint Broden, told Unfair Park his client did so to avoid a potential three-year prison sentence: "He has had some serious health problems," said Broden of Lewis, including "a few heart attacks." Good move: Today, U.S. District Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn sentenced Lewis to a year and a day in prison, followed by eight months' worth of home confinement. Both also have to pony up $25,000.
Dean, a former footballer and concrete subcontractor, got two years in prison -- three years less than the max sentence allowed for having told developer and FBI informant Bill Fisher that, Look, you give me $250,000 and I'll make sure Don Hill's got your back. The full U.S. Attorney's release follows, including dates for the next wave of sentencing hearings. Incidentally, Terri Hodge, who finally stepped down as state rep after taking her own guilty plea, will have her day in court on April 27. And now we know why there's been no date yet set for Ron Slovacek, the sole defendant left to be tried among the baker's dozen indicted:
The government has 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. A sentencing date has not yet been set for defendant Andrea L. Spencer, who pleaded guilty in April 2008 to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery concerning a local government receiving local benefits. It is expected that she will testify for the government at Slovacek's trial.
TWO DEFENDANTS IN DALLAS CITY HALL CORRUPTION CASE SENTENCED
DALLAS -- Today, U.S. District Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn sentenced Kevin J. Dean and John J. Lewis, two 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. Dean and Lewis each pleaded guilty prior to trial to one count of conspiracy to commit extortion.
Judge Lynn sentenced Dean, 45, of Dallas, who pleaded guilty in June 2009, to two years in prison. Lewis, 47, a former attorney and principal of Lewis & Associates in Dallas, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison, to be followed by eight months of home confinement. He pleaded guilty in March 2009. In addition, Dean and Lewis must each repay $25,000 in extortion money they received. Each must surrender to the Bureau of Prisons by June 8, 2010.
Dean was the president and a principal of Kevin Dean Asphalt Technology, Inc. (KDAT), KDAT Developers, LLC, and Helping Hand Programs, Inc. Lewis was Dean's attorney. Dean admitted that he told an affordable housing developer, William "Bill" Fisher, that if he gave KDAT concrete subcontracts on his housing projects, that he would influence Don Hill, who at the time was Mayor Pro Tem and the council person serving the district where some of the developer's projects were located. Dean and Lewis extorted money from Fisher by telling him that payments he made to them would be funneled to Hill, for approval of Fisher's zoning change application. Dean also told the developer that Lewis was going to help put the deal together to obtain the City Council's approval. Dean admitted that he provided no services to the developer during the course of the conspiracy.
On April 12, 2005, Lewis and Dean told Fisher that he needed to pay $250,000 to Hill for the zoning change approval. Lewis also told Fisher that by passing the payments to Hill, through Lewis & Associates, that "there will never be a paper trail" linking Hill to the transactions. Testimony at trial revealed that one month later, Fisher paid Lewis and Dean $50,000 and signed paperwork promising $200,000 more in contracts. That same morning, Lewis sent a text message to Hill stating: "Everything is signed! Approve the project!!!" That afternoon, Hill approved Fisher's zoning change request.
Following a three-month trial that resulted in 23 guilty verdicts in October 2009, a jury convicted Hill and his co-defendants for running an extortion scheme 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. Evidence was presented 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. The Potashniks, along with Jibreel A. Rashad, a/k/a Vernon Cooks, are scheduled to be sentenced on May 7, 2010. Rashad was convicted last month at a separate trial of conspiracy to commit extortion.
On February 26, 2010, 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. In addition, Hill and Lee were each ordered to pay $112,500 in restitution. On March 1, 2010, Judge Lynn sentenced Rickey Robertson to three years and Darren L. Reagan to 14 years in prison. Lee is presently in federal custody; the remainder must surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on April 27, 2010.
The next sentencing is set for April 2, 2010, when Allen J. McGill will be sentenced. McGill pleaded guilty in April 2008 to one count of conspiracy to commit extortion. Former State Representative Terri Hodge, who pleaded guilty last month to fraud and false statements on an income tax return, is to be sentenced on April 27, 2010.
A trial date has not been set for the charges pending against defendant Ronald W. Slovacek. The government has 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. A sentencing date has not yet been set for defendant Andrea L. Spencer, who pleaded guilty in April 2008 to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery concerning a local government receiving local benefits. It is expected that she will testify for the government at Slovacek's trial.
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.
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