Where's Willis? Maybe He's Out Looking for That Secret Stash of County Satellite Gear.

Categories: Get Off My Lawn

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If you missed Brett Shipp's Willis Johnson story on WFAA-Channel 8 last night, you need to go give it a gander here.

I also have a column in this week's paper version of Unfair Park talking about Johnson, a radio host who is a crucial but mysteriously low-profile figure in the affairs now being investigated by the FBI as part of its corruption probe of Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price.

I'm almost thinking of a board game called "Where's Willis?"

Shipp's story was about half a million bucks in satellite communications equipment -- huge dishes on trailers -- that Willis Johnson supposedly sold to the Dallas County Health and Human Services Department.

Health Director Zachary Thompson was supposed to show the dishes, locked up in a storage unit somewhere, to Shipp and Dallas County Commissioner Maurine Dickey, but when they showed up to see them at the appointed hour, Thompson never arrived with a key.

There is an odd unexplained hitch in the story. Thompson told the commissioners court yesterday that he had discussed the dishes with the Dallas County District Attorney. It sounded liked he was saying the district attorney had told him not to discuss the matter with anyone else. But an assistant district attorney at the commissioners meeting said the prosecutor's office had given no such instructions.

So was that just a dodge to get out of talking about it? It seems to me there is another possible explanation or additional explanation. I called Thompson this morning on his cell. He hung up on me, but I called back and left a message telling him what I'm up to. Maybe he will reconsider and call.

The people I talk to all seem to think Thompson is a good guy and a very nice guy. I take him for a Price loyalist: He showed up at both of the southern Dallas anti-FBI prayer vigils for Price a couple weeks ago. He may be caught in the middle.

WillisJohnson1.jpg
Willis Johnson: Have you seen this man lately? Ask him to give Schutze a call, please.
In the video clips I saw, Thompson did not explain why he went to the district attorney to talk about his satellite dishes. If it was to report a problem, he went to the wrong people. He needed to go to the FBI. But I'm sure they will contact him soon enough and get it all straightened out.

Johnson is someone you have been reading about here for three years, ever since we published emails depicting the process by which Johnson became head of the so-called "inner circle," a tight cadre of minority contractors who are supposed to have absolute control over any and all minority sub-contracting at the city of Dallas, Dallas County, DART, Parkland Hospital and virtually every other public entity in the city or county.

The important thing to know about this arrangement is that it has been supported and enforced by such people as former Mayor Tom Leppert and the editorial board of The Dallas Morning News, who have used the arrangement to get black votes for projects like the Trinity River toll road and the downtown convention hotel. Current Mayor Mike Rawlings got elected using the same machinery to win black votes, without which he would have been defeated.

Johnson is a central figure in all of these arrangements. He and his company were mentioned in the FBI search warrants last month when the feds raided the offices of Price and his ally, political consultant Kathy Nealy. But as I say in this week's column, Johnson is nevertheless conspicuous by his absence from the list of those dragged before the federal grand jury so far.

What does that mean?

My column this week discusses the term "queen for a day." When you're done looking at Shipp, give me a gander too, will you? I'll tell you about queen for a day.

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78 comments
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Jringer
Jringer

DART, HARRIS Corporation and Wi-Wise. Follow the money. WAI-WISE gave money to HARRIS EXECUTIVE. 

Man
Man

and people wonder why Boeing, among a couple of others, chose not to come and do business in corrupt dallas

I have always wondered why allan put up with the extortion out at the port........... along with everyone else that was getting screw by the reputation that had been placed on dallas

thanks, price

Tom Pettit
Tom Pettit

DART Radio communication system supplied by Harris Corporation via scam deal with Wai- Wise Willis Johnson. DART paid 12.3 times market value of radio system to Wai Wise. Also, Motorola became upset and Motorola entered into a deal with Willis Johnsons company to get the City of Dallas police radio system.

LesliO
LesliO

FBI should just get their subpoena list from the (non-profit...giggle) Kwanzaafest list of sponsors!  Seems to be working so far.

Biden Time
Biden Time

Want to know where Willis is?....he's on KKDA every morning with his crew and callers bashing ''The white Folks''...................

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

For $600,000, I was hoping for more.http://www.wfaa.com/news/local...

Tom L (No, Not That L)
Tom L (No, Not That L)

Everybody write down those license plates? Maybe someone can figure out where they really were for the past two weeks.

The Derelict
The Derelict

the Principals of these shenanigans were at McCommas Bluff trying to find old satellite parts and piece them back together. 

Nailemup
Nailemup

LOL wonder if there are any reports of satellites swiped from local residences in the past 48 hours!

Stan
Stan

Why does the Health Dept. need satellite dishes?

Paul
Paul

Because the Department of Homeland Security said that we will give you a grant for them ... and like any good bureaucrats ... we will gladly spend someone else's money even though there is probably no good reason ....

I'm sure that the thinking is that if there is a terrorist attack that knocks out the conventional communications system, you can use the direct satellite communications systems  ...

But wait ... did any one check to see if there is a satellite communications system for these satellite dishes to connect to and does it interface (connect) with the County Health Department's existing communication system?

PWJ
PWJ

Roll, JWP Roll..........

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell like.author.displayName 1 Like

North Dallas White Oligarchy + South Dallas Black Leaders = Corruption and wasted tax money. Keep digging, people. Keep digging. We will either uncover the truth or come up with a new route to China.

Dominicide
Dominicide

Goddammit, there is no satellite equipment--only in pictures and cash in Mr. Johnson's safe.

What bugs me is that a health official, the top county health official is probably on the take as well. The most altruistic, must wonder about a great vocation where as medically trained person is to look after the health of his entire charge. What a wonderful job. And here we are with probable crook. With his apparent sympathies, I am guessing that he thinks food poisoning, influenza, MRSA, etc.,  is deserved among white people that should go to hell anyway.

Never thought I would write this, but we must support Anderson (sp?), the head of Parkland, one of my professed loves as real medical person.

Dominicide
Dominicide

I love Parkland, that is.

Dominicide
Dominicide

Uh, love. Can you tell I have had some wine?

Pweesey
Pweesey

Balch Springs- did not know that company got the microfilm contract too.  What about the county clerk's new computer system, anyone know who got that contract?  That thing has been a disaster.  I know county clerk employees who have told me something is rotten about the deal that Warren cut.  The clerks were instructed by Warren that when they have problems, which is all the time, they can no longer directly call the company the county is paying for IT support. 

IT
IT

Same company that hosts the justiceforJWP.com site does the IT support contract for the county and the county clerks office.

replay
replay

.....outrageous!

John P
John P

Mmmm. Where there's smoke, there's fire as I indicated in another comment about WJ. He is going to turn out to be either a major defendent or he is going to take a deal to sell out JWP. He's a pracher's kid and a dj. You just know he doesn't have the heart to do time at age 61. If I was a betting man I suspect he never bought the equipment or he used the federal money to buy it and then sold it to another client. Either way that is a federal crime. They can't come up with it because they don't have it I suspect. Follow the money into and out of his company and the story will emerge. He isn't even the founder of this company, his partner is. He began as VP of marketing and business development. He is nothing more than a contract pimp.

The Derelict
The Derelict like.author.displayName 1 Like

no one has ever asked what this guy's qualifications are to get these contracts from gov't entities.  I know he's a radio personality but in his spare time he plays an engineer for DART, a telecom engineer ordering satellites, etc.  it just smells bad.  it appears like a couple of inside people get him to form a company real quick and since they pull the strings they hire this 'expert'  and funnel county contracts to him, likely, in return for kickbacks.  not to sound elitist, but where did this guy go to school? degrees in what?  did he work for 10-15 years at IBM or TI or Oracle or Exxon.  My guess is not. 

Urbandweller
Urbandweller like.author.displayName 1 Like

East Texas State University and I think his degree is in journalism or communications, but not engineering. There are a lot of business that are operated by people who have less expertise or qualifications in their business industry. They get by somehow. I guess like Bush, just hire smart people or people you think are smart to run the country. In the end, it never pans out like you want it to.

Asmilindog
Asmilindog

The story on CH 8 also mentioned the city was paying alot for maintenance on these "emergency use" satellite dishes....which the city still has not seen.

felipeuofmich
felipeuofmich

What has always bothered me about leaders south Dallas is that they have and will probably continue with this "just due" attitude.  Don Hill-Sheila Farrington, JWP-Kathy Nealy, Willis Johnson-Sophia Dowl, Dwaine Caraway-Dede Willis.  With the exception of JWP all of them have taken on females that handle all of their "just due contracts" which eventually leads to the after hour "private" meetings and FBI investigation.  Only a few select businesses are able to get the deals.  Like Michael C said it you don't have the blessing of the leaders then you seem to have problems with your bid.  Dallas County, City, DISD, DART, NTTA all require the blessing.  So of the $600k paid how much was "kicked back" and to who?

Tru Justice
Tru Justice

The real shame in all of this is that these are all No bid contracts.  They are simply awarded to Wai Wize.  Check it out.  Tell me one person that you know that can do business that way.  This is not a sweetheart deal, but sounds more like a bedtime partner.

Guest
Guest

Where did you find this information confirming the no-bid contracts?

Frustrated
Frustrated

Interesting -Wai-Wize was brought in as a subcontractor to Motorola for new city of Dallas radios. Their value appears limited to meeting the minority biz participation goals for the process - and that's about it. The city IT department is being looked at for favoritism in hiring practices. WJ is mentioned on the facebook page of the new-ex-fire chief's new nightclub...What's the connection?

Oak Cliff Res
Oak Cliff Res

And no one complained that Mathews Southwest got a no bid project management contract on the Convention Center Hotel. I guess since it was Leppert to Jack Mathews (or cough cough, the good ole boy system) those no bid contracts are worthy. And let's not forget that JWP doesn't just write blank checks at Dallas County. A majority of the 5 member Comissiomer Court does and in 2005 that would have been Jim Jackson, Mike Cantrell, Judge Margret Kelleher, JWP and Ken Mayfield. How about you check the voting record while your at it...

Urbandweller
Urbandweller

Now it makes sense. The North Dallas contractor playa's (primes) get the bulk of the contracts from county or city republican officials, then they subcontract, joint venture, etc. to the minorities playa's who have been screened through a system to see if they will bite; ONLY after they are deemed in favor with the gatekeeper, who reports to the Kwanzzaman that gives the okay. Then the Kwannzaman gives the okay on the whole deal and the cycle repeats itself. For his fine work, the gatekeeper gets his share of royalties (contracts) for keeping everyone on both sides happy because he and his gang can control the black voting  in the southern sector. This system is elaborate, but old. This system  is practice in every American city. The only difference with this on is JWP positioned himself democratly to control the county. This is not peanut politics, this guy and the southern Grand Poobah's found a way to finally get real power; a cushy seat at the "table". They organized and realized their crooked potential  and maybe, just maybe, North Dallas got nervous. I'm just saying..too

replay
replay

If you really want a shocker, check into Matthews' monthly fees for providing services to build the convention center hotel (hint, hint, it makes this wai-wize stuff look like child's play). If memory serves, the City did a "no bid" deal with Jack because he cut them a special deal..........yeah, it was special alright....never mind that Matthews had no experience building hotels. Matthews developed "Southside on Lamar", and who was his general contractor for that project?........one guess........Turner Construction Co. And, who was at the helm at Turner when they did the Southside on Lamar project?......right again.......it was ex-mayor Tom Leppert

Jeeze Louise
Jeeze Louise

 How much was that "donated" land valued at vs. the $235K we just gave him to air condition his TV studio facility?

replay
replay

'Didn't know about that one, but you can see there is a "very friendly" relationship. But, I believe Matthews has benefitted much more than the City.

Oak Cliff Res
Oak Cliff Res

The special deal was that he "donated" the land where the Jack Evans PD Headquarters is now (across the street from Southside on Lamar)  And why doesn't anyone know about this??? --------------------- Selective Journalism

Matthew Gunter
Matthew Gunter

Remember that Margaret Kelleher was also the one responsible for the Cowboys moving to Arlington. She was afraid a stadium referendum would would bring too many democrats to the polls, so we the people of Dallas never even got to vote on a stadium.

Montemalone
Montemalone

I was Queen for a day once, but that day has yet to end...

RTGolden
RTGolden

I have figured it all out.  It's actually an asian/african conglomerate conspiring to win all Dallas area governmental contracts.  They use restaurants as an infiltration network, name them Pei Wei.  Get Johnson on-board at the communications end, Pai-wise.  Once you've got food and communication sewn up, it's a short leap to paying $8mil for some spanish peacock to scribble up some window dressing bridgework.

Whodunnit
Whodunnit

So, here is Dallas County, home to AT&T world headquarters. Dallas County wants to develop an emergency satellite-based emergency telecommunication system. Do they go over and talk to their good friends at AT&T? No, they write a purchase order to Willis Johnson, a local radio celebrity, and his company Wai-Wise. Oh yeah, that all makes perfect sense.........

BubbaBGood2U
BubbaBGood2U

Since you don't see Willis Johnson's name on anything from the FBI investigation,,,,,maybe that means he has turned on Price to protect himself and be a big RAT for the FBI.

Aconcernedcitizen
Aconcernedcitizen

It is my hope and prayer that Mr. Willis Johnson gets what he deserves!  You reap what you sow Willis...... you helped to get me fired and now you are going to jail... Justice!!

LaceyB
LaceyB

I thought "Queen for a Day" was that old game show where they stack 3 ladies against each other to find out which one is more deserving of a day of pampering from her taxing job of raising a family, surviving poverty, etc.

Wouldn't a more appropriate game show to be played here be "To Tell the Truth"?

Besides, how could 3 ginormous satillites from Wai-Wise communicate during a flood? Who exactly were they communicating to? I smell a big rat!

replay
replay

......"beam me up Scotty!".

Bob
Bob

I hate what the political machine and its actors are doing to my city, but I sure enjoy reading and watching this whole messy saga unfold only because I hope it undoes what has become of Dallas' political and business culture.

Balch Springs Citizen
Balch Springs Citizen

The County Clerk, John Warren needed a vendor to re-do the old microfilm cassettes, guess who won that (competitive bid) job, you guessed it Wai-Wise....just saying.

Guest
Guest

Wai-Wize also the radio system consultant for DART

Balch Springs Citizen
Balch Springs Citizen

I bet if we keep searching they (Wai-Wize) probably has most of the major bids sewed up in the entire county.  No wonder small businesses are drying up in Dallas County, we have an uneven playing field.

MattL1
MattL1 like.author.displayName 1 Like

This is all very shady, but I think the real crime here is naming a company "Wai-Wize."

Montemalone
Montemalone

Never kill off a bag o blunts before the board meeting to name the shellco.

MattL1
MattL1

Well, I suppose it could have been worse.  They could have just named it Shellco.  

cp
cp

What about Ra-Twat or whatever the shell company was for that friend of Don Hill's?

MattL1
MattL1

Wasn't aware of the name of that particular entity, but if that's anywhere close to the actual title, it should win awards.

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