United States: Real Estate Developer Convicted of Bribery

A Dallas real estate developer has been convicted of bribing two former Dallas City Council members, Carolyn Davis and Dwaine Caraway, announced Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Prerak Shah.

Following two weeks of trial, a federal jury convicted Ruel Hamilton, the president of AmeriSouth Realty Group, of one count of conspiracy and two counts of bribery of an agent of a local government receiving federal funds.

“The people of Dallas deserve true public servants, not those bought and paid for by the city’s elite. By using money to bend elected officials to his will, Mr Hamilton betrayed the communities he purports to hold dear,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office will not allow a kickback culture to fester at City Hall. To anyone considering this sort of unscrupulous behaviour: Think twice. Our prosecutors are tenacious, and we are determined to root out corruption wherever we find it.”

“Public corruption is one of the FBI’s top criminal priorities, it erodes the public’s trust and wastes valuable resources intended for taxpayers,” said FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno. “Mr Hamilton used his influence and money to circumvent the system by bribing two city council members to earn incentives for an affordable housing project and push an agenda to increase his political influence. The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to ensure that those who pay bribes, accept bribes and facilitate bribe payments are held fully accountable.”

According to evidence presented at trial, from 2013 to 2015, Mr Hamilton shelled out tens of thousands of dollars in bribes to Carolyn Davis, who was then serving as chair of the city’s Housing Committee.

In return, Ms Davis – who pleaded guilty to her role in the scheme prior to her death in 2019 – supported Mr Hamilton’s Royal Crest housing project, voting to authorize a real estate development loan and resolutions supporting an award of a 9 per cent tax credit for Royal Crest.  Ms Davis supported the Royal Crest housing project, despite the fact that it failed to meet the city’s enumerated multifamily housing priorities.

The original article can be found at justice.gov

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