Don and Sheila Hill: The Unfair Park Interview

A little more than 24 hours after a jury found Don and Sheila Hill guilty on a total of 12 counts in the City Hall corruption case, the two sat down with me for a lengthy interview at the offices of Baker Botts on the 11th floor of Trammell Crow Center. Space constraints prevented much of our conversation from appearing in this week's cover story about the trial, so I've pulled together the highlights in the form of a Q & A after the jump, along with a slide show, which includes some never-before-seen photos from the trial.

The Hills were generous with their time (we spoke for approximately two and a half hours), and even though Sheila's attorney, Victor Vital, and Don's consultant, Ken Carter, were on hand, there was little interference. And no question was off-limits. In the aftermath of the verdicts, both seemed focused on their 16-year-old daughter from Sheila's previous marriage to Eric Farrington, who's also a convicted felon. Don says his stepdaughter, who's a junior in high school, wants them to be at her graduation next year. "She's strong, and rightly so, she is a little anxious about what this all means for her mother and pops and her own life in what she wants to do."

Don says his two grown daughters from his previous marriage to Vivian have "pretty much" stuck with him throughout the trial. "It's difficult when your dad's name is in the news and across the paper. Sometimes they wonder about what they should say."

Since the indictments two years ago, Don says he's been smeared professionally, impairing his ability to earn an income, so he and Sheila have scaled their lifestyles down to the bare essentials. They've depended on strong support from their church, family and friends to supplement the limited amount of law Don has been able to practice while Sheila has been serving as his assistant. "The government went to people I've developed relationships with and interviewed them, showed them evidence and played wiretaps," he says.

Even though they both have no complaints about their representation, the two are optimistic about their chances of winning an appeal. "We're not knocked out. We're just going to keep pressing through to the very end," Don says. "We thought today would be truly the first day of the rest of our lives because we'd be moving on, but we're not. We're still in the fight."

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Sam Merten
Contact: Sam Merten