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Former Dallas City Council Member Carolyn Davis Pleads Guilty To Bribery Charge

Mariusz S. Jurgielewicz

A former Dallas City Council member has pleaded guilty to taking bribes from an affordable housing developer.

Carolyn Davis served on the council from 2007 until 2015. She also served as chair of the Dallas City Housing Committee.

Federal documents show that from November 2013 to June 2015, Davis allegedly received bribes from an affordable housing developer, identified as "Person A," in exchange for favorable votes that would advance the developer’s hopes of acquiring and developing affordable housing projects in the city.

She faces a maximum prison sentence of five years and a maximum fine of $250,000. She's been charged with conspiracy to commit bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds. 

Her attorney hadn't issued a comment as of Friday afternoon.

The developer, Ruel Hamilton, is accused of paying Davis at least $40,000 in bribes and promising her future consulting work. In return, Davis lobbied and voted for more than $2.5 million in city " funds and obligations" for Hamilton's development in southern Dallas, according to a separate indictment.

Davis used her position “to seek things of value for herself” by providing assistance to the developer, federal documents show.

To disguise the bribe payments, the developer allegedly wrote checks to a non-profit owned by another person. Several checks were written between 2013 and 2015.

Davis did not disclose the payments on a city of Dallas financial disclosure report and she did not recuse herself from votes related to the project.

Hamilton, the owner of AmeriSouth Realty Group, is charged with two counts of bribery concerning a local government receiving federal benefits.

Lawyers for the developer said he was the victim of a federal "set-up" and the charges result from a "misdirected trap." ''Mr. Hamilton will plead not guilty because he is not guilty," attorney Jim Burnham said.

Mayor reacts: "Sick and tired of vultures"

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings says he has asked City Manager T.C. Broadnax to review housing projects connected to the guilty plea.

In a statement, Rawlings said he is "sick and tired of vultures who lurk around City Hall in search of corruptible public officials.”

“There is no place in our government for those who cheat the good people of Dallas by offering bribes, just as there is no place for those who accept them,” Rawlings said.

This story will be updated.