A third, previously unidentified domino has fallen in the federal corruption case involving late former City Council member Carolyn Davis and low-income housing developer Ruel Hamilton. According to documents filed in federal court, the go-between for alleged bribery payments between Hamilton and Davis pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony. Misprision of felony is the federal crime of being aware of a federal felony and taking steps to cover it up without reporting the underlying crime to federal authorities.
In March, Davis, who was hit and killed by a drunk driver last week, admitted taking more than $40,000 between 2014 and 2015 from Hamilton in exchange for supporting one of the developer's projects, the Royal Crest Apartment complex near Interstate 45 and Illinois Avenue. Hamilton has denied bribing Davis.
Davis helped the project get a recommendation from the City Council housing committee she chaired. Thanks to the recommendation, Hamilton received $168,000 from the city and a $2.5 million loan from the Dallas Housing Finance Corp. to help build Royal Crest.
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Jeremy Scroggins, the man who pleaded guilty Tuesday, admitted that Hamilton wrote checks to his nonprofit, Hip Hop Government. Scroggins then cashed the checks, he said, and gave the money to Davis. By January 2015, he told the feds, he knew that the cash was intended to influence Davis' actions on the City Council.
“Scroggins agrees and stipulates that in exchange for benefits and the promise by Hamilton of future employment for Davis as a consultant for him, Davis, in her official capacity, lobbied and voted for a specific project for Hamilton's benefit, namely, Royal Crest,” the records say.
Prosecutors will recommend a three-year sentence for Scroggins as a result of his guilty plea and testimony he is expected to give against Hamilton.