Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, acting through his attorney Billy Ravkind, has pulled his application for a taxpayer-paid lawyer. Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn reset a hearing to evaluate Price's claims of indigence after Price didn't show up to court -- apparently with Ravkind's blessing. Lynn was aggravated, demanded Price show up next Tuesday and resolve a series of questions she still had about his apparent poverty.
Among other things, Lynn asked Price to give the court the values of his residence and rental property on East Fifth Street near Lake Cliff, to detail his monthly income including his vehicle allowance and to explain what happened to the $11,000 in cash Price had on him at the time of his arrest.
Lynn also wanted to know about the monthly mineral rights checks Price gets, a trio properties deeded, by Price, to Ravkind in addition to a detailed listing of all the cars owned by Price and why he was unable to sell them or use them as collateral for a loan.
Price, it seems, is unwilling to provide any of that information. Not because he has anything to hide, of course, but because he simply doesn't have enough time to put together the thorough financial picture Lynn wants.
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"It is clear from the hearing held January 27, 2015 that this Court will not rule on the appointment of counsel issue without additional information, in particular substantiation regarding the Defendant's assets (e.g., his ability to obtain a home equity loan and additional information about the value of that real estate; his ability to sell or otherwise obtain funds from the rental property occupied by his son and his family and additional information regarding the value of that property; and his ability to obtain funds based on his partial interest in another property; as well as a professional valuation of his vintage cars; etc.). All of these assets (and others) were disclosed in his application and motion, and the tax valuations and mortgage amounts were also disclosed. However, the Court has sought supporting documentation and should the Defendant re-apply for CJA assistance, that documentation of course will be provided. Any re-application will also include details regarding the Defendant's efforts to secure counsel in this case for an amount he is able to afford. The Defendant respectfully disagrees with the Court's assessment that he will be able to secure adequate representation with his current assets, but in accordance with the Court's wishes, he will not re-apply for CJA assistance without at least trying to do so and he has begun that process."
In his withdrawal motion, Price maintains that he does not have the means to pay for his defense -- it could easily cost $1 million or more -- nor the $60,000 in earnest money the feds initially requested before he'd be appointed a public defender. He also says that, despite recent claims by the feds, cash seized from his house in 2012 has not be made available to him to pay for his defense.