OCTOBER 04, 2007
A widespread corruption probe in Dallas has led to federal charges against 14 civic and political leaders for participating in a kickback and bribery scheme involving affordable housing contracts.
The two-year federal probe of City Hall has revealed that the public officials took bribes and kickbacks from developers contracted by the city to build affordable housing in mostly black neighborhoods.
Among those charged was a prominent state lawmaker, Representative Terri Hodge, a pair of Dallas city councilmen and a city planner. Because most of the indicted officials are black, some community leaders have accused federal authorities of being racist.
Among them is the stateâ??s first black county prosecutor, Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins, who said it makes the city look bad and unfair to â??people of color.â?
Federal prosecutors say race was irrelevant in the lengthy FBI investigation that followed a solid paper trail, raided City Hall and removed boxes of documents. A black Dallas County Commissioner, John Price, says three-fourths of those indicted are black because all the actors who were in a position to make a decision were black.
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