MAY 01, 2008
A longtime Dallas city councilman who serves as mayor pro tem is one big step closer to being convicted in a widespread City Hall corruption and bribery scheme involving more than a dozen public and elected officials.
The veteran lawmaker, Don Hill, was federally charged last October with 11 counts of conspiracy, bribery and extortion after a lengthy FBI investigation into influence-peddling at Dallas City Hall. Authorities say Hill, a licensed attorney, is the ringleader of numerous elaborate schemes in which influence on the city council was sold for cash.
Some of the operations involved low-income housing and minority contracting firms seeking lucrative city deals that featured big time federal funding. This week the owner of one of those minority contracting firms pleaded guilty in the massive kickback scheme, agreeing to implicate Hill and a city planning commissioner.
In a court hearing this week, the contractor told a federal judge that she had a series of meeting with the public officials in 2005 to discuss the logistics of funneling bribes to them involving low-income housing projects. Another contractor has already pleaded guilty to bribing Hill, the highest profile politician charged in the scheme.
Besides serving as mayor pro tem, Hill has served as deputy mayor pro tem, chair of the Finance and Audit Committee and vice chair of the Business and Commerce Committee. He is also a member of both the Comprehensive Plan Committee and the Board of Trustees for the Dallas Police and Fire Pension systems.
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