"There Will Never Be a Paper Trail." Whoops.

Categories: Crime
heydonhill.jpg
OK, Don Hill, raise your finger every time you hear a defendant in the City Hall corruption case plead guilty.
This afternoon, as promised, the U.S. Attorney's Office forwards John Lewis's plea agreement -- the one that finds him promising to testify against former Dallas City Council member Don "What Me Worry?" Hill. You'll find that and two other absorbing court documents filed today -- a little light weekend reading for those of us working on our novels about the city that likes to live large and think big.

Lewis, formerly an attorney for indicted co-conspirator Kevin Dean, a concrete subcontractor, faces a max sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, though, as noted earlier, his attorney hopes the judge takes it easy on the 46-year-old, who Clint Broden says suffers from myriad health problems -- among them, no doubt, the fear of five years in prison. Here's an excerpt from the press release, which, as always, offers a succinct narrative of the events leading to Lewis's indictment and plea bargain:
In documents filed in Court, Lewis admitted that he carried out a scheme to extort money from the developer with the knowledge and expectation that Hill would financially personally benefit from the extortion, in relation to the developer's zoning change application for Dallas West Village.

On April 12, 2005, Lewis and Dean told the developer that he needed to pay $250,000 to Hill for the zoning change approval. Lewis told the developer that by passing the payments to Hill through Lewis & Associates, "there will never be a paper trail" linking Hill to the transactions. On May 11, 2005, Lewis and Dean received the initial $50,000 payment from the developer and at that time, Lewis signed an Attorney and Consultation Contract between Lewis & Associates and the developer's company for five projects with "attorney fees" totaling $250,000. Later that morning, Lewis sent a text message to Hill, stating: "Everything is signed! Approve the project!!!"
Jump. You know you can't wait.
DEFENDANT CHARGED IN "DALLAS CITY HALL CORRUPTION CASE" AGREES TO PLEAD GUILTY TO CONSPIRACY CHARGE

Lawyer John J. Lewis to Enter Guilty Plea Next Week

DALLAS -- John J. Lewis, 46, an attorney and principal of Lewis & Associates, located in Dallas, has signed documents which were filed in U.S. District Court today, pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit extortion, announced acting U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas. It is anticipated that Lewis will appear next week before U.S. District Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn to formally enter his guilty plea.

Lewis was an attorney for co-conspirator, Kevin J. Dean, who was the president and a principal of Kevin Dean Asphalt Technology, Inc., KDAT Developers, LLC, and Helping Hand Programs, Inc. Dean sought concrete subcontracts from an affordable housing developer on five projects throughout the state, including a project in the City of Dallas, District 5, where a zoning change was needed and where this developer's housing development, Homes of Pecan Grove, was nearing the construction phase.

Co-conspirator Donald W. Hill was the council person serving the City of Dallas, District 5, in 1999, and then reelected to the same position in 2001, 2003 and 2005.

In documents filed in Court, Lewis admitted that he carried out a scheme to extort money from the developer with the knowledge and expectation that Hill would financially personally benefit from the extortion, in relation to the developer's zoning change application for Dallas West Village.

On April 12, 2005, Lewis and Dean told the developer that he needed to pay $250,000 to Hill for the zoning change approval. Lewis told the developer that by passing the payments to Hill through Lewis & Associates, "there will never be a paper trail" linking Hill to the transactions.

On May 11, 2005, Lewis and Dean received the initial $50,000 payment from the developer and at that time, Lewis signed an Attorney and Consultation Contract between Lewis & Associates and the developer's company for five projects with "attorney fees" totaling $250,000. Later that morning, Lewis sent a text message to Hill, stating: Everything is signed! Approve the project!!!"

Shortly thereafter, Lewis converted the developer's check into a cashier's check and deposited it into his law office client trust account. Later he withdrew various amounts of cash, totaling $14,500, from that account and wired a total of $25,000 from that account into Dean's KDAT account.

Lewis faces a maximum statutory sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The parties have agreed that an appropriate guideline imprisonment range is 30-37 months; however the actual sentence imposed, as long as it is within the statutory maximum, is solely within the Court's discretion.

The trial of Lewis's co-defendants, Donald W. Hill, D'Angelo Lee, Sheila D. Farrington, Brian L. Potashnik, Cheryl L. Potashnik, Darren L. Reagan, Rickey E. Robertson and Kevin Dean is set for Monday, June 22, 2009, before Judge Lynn.

Acting U.S. Attorney Jacks praised the excellent investigative efforts of the FBI and IRS-CI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Marcus Busch and Sarah Saldaña.
John Lewis Plea Agreement John Lewis Factual Resume John Lewis Information

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