John Wiley Price: The Best Friend the White Establishment Ever Had

Categories: Schutze

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Oh my God, am I just going to keep blabbing about John Wiley Price every day for the rest of my life? Will I wind up buckled into a padded chair against the wall in some long corridor with ladies in white dresses whispering to the visitors, "He's the John Wiley Price talker?"

Yup.

Today I have to try one more time. I worry that the basic phenomenon -- Dallas's most powerful elected official taking blowtorch heat from an FBI investigation -- is beyond our comprehension. But we have to try anyway.

Price has two indelible personas, depending on who's looking at him. For whites who are afraid of black people he's a scary angry African-American firebrand who for a third of a century has done every single thing he can to make white people quake in their socks.

For poor black people in Dallas he's the one guy who stood up to rich arrogant racist white people downtown, spit in their eyes and then did business with them as their equal.

Neither of those Price clichés is anywhere close to the center of what's going on with this corruption probe. The investigation, which has produced no indictments but a lot of information so far, is about John Wiley Price as black Judas, a stooge and henchman for the rich powerful whites he pretends to oppose. And this is only the current chapter in a 15-year uninterrupted series of federal corruption probes of black leadership in Dallas based on exactly the same scenario.

The accusation is not that Dallas's black leaders have been too hard on white people. It's that they've been too sweet on them.

JWPrice_frustrated_Merten.jpg
Johnny and whitey, sittin' in a tree ...
The previous two cases produced overwhelming jury verdicts in favor of the government. The first one, against the late Albert Lipscomb, got tossed out later because the judge, an ex-cop too zealous for a conviction, screwed it up, not because of anything the FBI or the Justice Department did. They won their case before the jury. The judge is the one who fornicated with the canine.

Why do we keep not seeing this pattern for what it is? Simple. It goes too hard against our preconceptions. JWP can be the scary bad black man who frightens white people for no good reason. Or he can be the scary good black man who frightens white people for good reason.

What about the not-scary-at-all black chiseler who screws black people in order to get money out of white people? That one's not on the menu.

Take a peek, if you have not already, at excerpts from two commenters who spoke here in response to yesterday's installment in my JWP obsession.

On said, in part, "... for you, it can't be about JWP himself. He was entrapped. He is misunderstood. He is lumped in with bad company. He was enabled. He was taken in by big money. He was had; he was hoodwinked; bamboozled; led astray; run amok. It's a conspiracy."

The second said, "Is in unlawful to accept a cash payment for an endorsement? I don't see the ethical nor the legal problem with doing so. ... If my endorsement carried the weight of JWP's I would ask for much more than $5K and I would ask for my guy to be appointed to the Zoning Commission, Airport or Park Board and perhaps a reserved parking space at the Omni Hotel."

The proper response to the first is no. No. It was never about his being entrapped. I have never said that. He has always been a hoodwinker, not a hoodwinkee. He and the rich powerful white men downtown have used each other at least equally. This is a partnership, not a victimization.

To the second commenter, I have this to say: I don't give a rat's ass if taking money in exchange for a political endorsement is a crime or not. It's a sin.

I'm not a prosecutor or a fed. I'm just a guy on the curb, watching. What I see is that David Kunkle, the other candidate for mayor in our last election, had a solid network of connections with earnest, honest, hard-working community leaders in black Dallas, people like Tabiti Olatunji, a real firebrand, not a fake, who has been a force for years in the North Park Love Field neighborhood. Olatunji, in seriously deteriorated health, dragged his oxygen bottle on wheels to all of Kunkle's appearances and stood there in the shadows, wheezing, just to be near.

The winner of that election, Mike Rawlings, paid Kathy Neely 300 grand for "political consulting" -- way more money than anybody in the business could understand, if it was for legitimate grassroots activity, as Rawlings has insisted. Now we learn it was not. According to an affidavit released by the U.S. attorney earlier this week, there was a direct cash pipeline for that money from Nealy to Price before his endorsement of Rawlings.

Here is the point. If you are Price, you don't take money in order to do the right thing for your community. You take it to do the wrong thing.

You take it in exchange for your agreement to poison the air against the guy your community ought to vote for and get them to vote instead for a man who has done nothing to merit their vote.

That's the sin. It's not the money itself. It's what the money is for. I mean, c'mon. This is our community. It's not Walmart.

In today's Dallas Morning News columnist Jack Floyd has a nice piece on all of this, well reasoned, well written as always, in which she talks about Price's anger issues.

For Price ... it wasn't a role. He really was angry, and he still is. Anger is in the man's DNA, and he doesn't take much trouble to disguise it. The anger he expresses reflects what a lot of Dallas residents still believe, even in these quieter times.

I get what she's saying. But I disagree, respectfully. I don't think Price's anger reflects a damn thing about race or oppression or the strange fruit of poverty. I think it's all about arrogance and the bluster of a con-man on the run.

There is a story also in today's Morning News that shows what this is, really. Ed Timms and Kevin Krause have a piece laying out all the money that rich powerful white guys downtown have continued to funnel to Price in campaign contributions in spite of the cloud over his head.

It reminded me of something I learned was going on during the corruption trial of late Dallas City Council member Al Lipscomb in 2000. The Dallas business establishment attempted unsuccessfully to bring pressure, first on the government to back off from its prosecution of Lipscomb, then after his conviction on the judge to go leniently in sentencing. I was approached by some of the people bringing the pressure, and I actually got some good stories out of them, including one they fed me about hanky-panky involving political contributions to the judge's wife, who was a suburban city council candidate.

Their agenda was clear. Muss up the judge, weaken him enough to make him back down from sending Al up for the rest of his life. So was my agenda. Get a good story. That was all unspoken, of course. Sometimes you don't have to say everything out loud.

Hey, sorry, I'm a reporter. I take all good stories. I'm just glad my sainted mother passed on her to her everlasting reward before somebody offered me a really good story about her.

But that's the real picture -- Price and the white boys on the Dallas Citizens Council in the same bed, sheets pulled up demurely to their necks, insisting, "We were just trying to guess each other's weight."

That's the challenge for us all. Sometimes the reality is harder to believe than the lie.

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39 comments
Teeslim13
Teeslim13

I can spot a man and a woman when I see one and anything in between. I was at a red light next to JWP and what I saw was an arrogant skunk. Watching to see who's watching him. I don't understand why he gets reelected but maybe its because he's representing Dallas.

Mr. Blonde
Mr. Blonde

It's blatantly racist of you to ask that question.  JWP does not face consequences and it is not for whitey to question why.

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

But Betty. You can go to bed at night, knowing you are not being investigated. That HAS to count for something, you know. Karma will out, it will most cetainly out.

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

You are right I could not get one dime from them after years of what I though were good working relationships and being business friendly.

Larry
Larry

I asked a very smart black reporter once if black politicians, specifically JWP, should try harder to be clean so as to show up the anglo establishment and his reply was, that they should do the usual thing - go for the money.

Timetomoveon
Timetomoveon

Who is afraid of this clown?

Name names of who has been "quaking in their socks" or STFU

Terius
Terius

yo yO YO Keeps it REAL is BACK in da HOUSE YO!.  JWP say it like he feel it you know what im sayin?  He been Keepn it REAL befoe most of you white people even been around yo.  He be doing good stuff for our commernity like getting my Auntie out of jail when she wrongfully acused of doing stuff she aint even been doing.  Why people so happy he having alot of trouble?

topham
topham

Hey, I knew your mother (from St. Luke's church). A more delightful woman I've never met. All the stories about her were good, just not in the way you meant.

tp
tp

JWP is first and foremost a hustler. Often he does use the scary-black-man threat as a way to funnel money from downtown and North Dallas businesses to black-owned firms, e.g., Kathy Nealy's outfit or Willis Johnson's businesses. That in itself is really bad, but does it create the impression among some African Americans that JWP actually is Our Man Downtown. What many of his constituents fail to realize is (1) that JWP never applies pressure unless he's getting some of the juice, and (2) that if he gets enough juice, he's willing to sell his constituents down the river, as in the Perot/Inland Port mess.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

I think some  may have reached the " Why are we still paying that guy ? " time frame . And are cutting him loose. .

trannyntraining
trannyntraining

JWP keeps the south Dallas "I don't trust whitey" black constituency happy. JWP keeps the north Dallas "i'm scared of poor black people" white population feelings as authenticated; and JWP keeps the rich moneyed folks(the ones who run this city) coffers FAT! In summation, the south Dallas blacks and the north Dallas whites stay satisfied in their mutual fears/suspicions of each other, and when JWP goes down, well....the Citizens Council probably already has a prototype, waiting to take over the reins. 

JoeCitizen
JoeCitizen

They should have put JWP in jail when he attacked the woman and her two children in their van and broke her windshield wipers. JWP was allowed to get away with outrageous  behavior for years so why is anyone surprised that he become bolder and bolder. What is ironic is that Price and his friends will all wind up broke despite all the money they received. If Price had just done his job he would be able to retire with a comfortable pension and some money in the bank. Now his retirement will amount to three hots and a cot. Ironically, he'll be sticking it to the community once again.      

Rumpunch
Rumpunch

I am failing so see how several of you are accusing JimS is blaming whitey for this.  He is putting equal weight on the white establishment and JWP.  JimS, may or may not be suffering from white-guilt in other areas, however I do not take a attack on the Dallas Citizens Council to be an attack on all white people and therefore an attack on me.  I don't feel guilty for their actions, because it wasn't me.  Consequently, an attach on JWP is not an attack on the black community as a whole.

Is anything even one degree to the left of a FoxNews stance a liberal media stance?

Rumpunch
Rumpunch

JimS, we cannot forget that when Don Hill and Al Lipscomb when down, some white guys either flipped or went down to.  Anyone remember Paul Fielding?  Same will happen in this case. 

BTW, after Al was released, the government didn't refile because of his health, not the health of case.  Every now and then, Al would pop back up and start becoming an activist again.  I even believe he considered running for office again if memory serves me right.  But then he would go away.  I always wonder if the US prosecutor visited him and said "I guess you're feeling better"

Now I Get It!
Now I Get It!

JWP's corrupt activity reveals that what motivates him is not the black and white sides of the issue.  In fact, healing that divide is the last thing he would want accomplished.  He is all about the money...and also mentally unstable.  I feel like that should be revisited more.  His anger issues and race baiting and lying and belief that he can get away with anything (or even worse, that this is nothing wrong with what he has done...he feels he is the exception to all rules) are all great signs of underlying mental instability in the man.

Mickister
Mickister

Jim, I think you really cherry-picked your comments.  Sure, there are people that see Price as the big bad black guy, and then there are some that see him as the good guy standing up to the big bad white guy. 

I think most of us -- and I'm sure people will let me know if I'm wrong -- see Price as a corrupt opportunist.  Race, for him, isn't about justice.  For him, race is a form of capital.  You want to be someone in Dallas?  You have to buy insurance from the race relations provider.  And guess who owns the monopoly?

lorlee
lorlee

I am in no way defending JWP or any other politician -- but heck -- the white guys take is always so much more.

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

Shows your total lack of understanding of local politics.

Dat
Dat

U no wat Im Sayin???

brett
brett

racist troll, much?

JimS
JimS

Whenever I asked her a serious question, my father interrupted and said, "She will have  no comment at this time."

Celebrate Divershitty
Celebrate Divershitty

"JWP keeps the north Dallas "i'm scared of poor black people" white population feelings as authenticated"

Wrong. The local daily violent crime news does that.

texasindi
texasindi

Being naive here, I realize, but WHY did JWP not face consequences when he attacked the woman, kids and van? Did she not press charges? (This was before my time in Dallas.)

CHL
CHL

It is too bad someone didnt shoot him when he did that.

FwMystic
FwMystic

 Obviously a member of the DCC.

CK1
CK1

 This was a welcome break from your "Celebrate Divershitty!" post.

phe_75034
phe_75034

Cogent argument - nah!Facts to support opinion - screw that!Articulate, well constructed post - only sissies do that!Insulting phrases to convey adolescent anger - hell yes!Grotesque over-simplification to mask lack of understanding of the presented viewpoint - fuckin' A, dude!

So awesome. Everyone who ever had any involvement in your education is wiping a tear from his/her eye right now.

Rumpunch
Rumpunch

Without the divide, he is irrelevant.  Without the divide, Neely gets a share of $60k Rawlings spent on all consultants for the rest of the city, rather than her own $300k.

I do not think that there is actually mental issues besides extreme narcissisim, ego and greed.  He's a con-man simple as that.  I believe that he believes that there are rules, however he is exempt or rather immune.  I am just trying to prevent him from having grounds for an insanity defense, in that due to extreme racial oppression, he could not understand the actions he was committing.  He knew exactly what he was doing, and orchestrated a grand scheme to hide his actions behind all of his women.

Mickister
Mickister

I want to add something else, Jim.  Why is race profitable?  When someone doesn't buy race insurance from Price, that person is exposed to political liability in the media. 

This gets into what I like and what I don't like about the Dallas Observer.  I read Unfair Park nearly everyday.  I appreciate your work covering local stories.  I like that you guys tell the stories while injecting your own localized contrarian worldview into the story. 

But a problem arises when certain stories fit or don't fit the Unfair Park worldview more than others.  The Trayvon Martin case got a blog entry from Brantley Hargrove even though it's not a local story.  That case fit the Unfair Park narrative so well that Hargrove stretched as far as he could to make it a local story so he could write about it.  (He asked the very pedestrian question: could the Trayvon Martin case happen in Texas?)

On the other hand, despite being a local story, I don't recall seeing a single blog entry on Unfair Park about Torii Hunter's son being arrested.  I don't know why it wasn't written about here, but I do know that it is a tough fit for the Unfair Park worldview.  First of all, it undermines a common theme here: the question of why rich white people run to suburbs.  The easy answer is racism.  But that answer isn't so easy if you have to ask why does the rich black man (in this case, Hunter) also run to the suburbs (in this case, Prosper/McKinney area). 

It also doesn't fit into the Unfair Park narrative that a rich black kid is allegedly committing violent sex crimes.  The usual culprits of racism, poverty, and DISD are not as readily available for criticism on this account. 

So when we're playing the role of contrarian, like Unfair Park does, where do we go with the John Wiley Price story.  Simply calling Price a bad guy isn't contrarian.  The mainstream media and the average white guy are both doing that.  Who do we blame besides Price?  Can't blame the black community, that violates the worldview.  Can't blame the white community, because they didn't do it.  There is another option.  Look in the mirror.  Tell the black community that too many of their black leaders are corrupt because they keep voting them voting them into office.  You have no problem telling the white people the truth, that their politicians are the corrupt suits that get into bed with various corporations, and in this case, willing to get into bed with a race-hustlers. 

But also be willing to admit that the media makes race-hustling possible.

phe_75034
phe_75034

Mick, I agree with you to a point. Yes, JWP is seling race-relations insurance (good analogy - very simple to understand) to an extent. If you want to be able to talk to the black community honestly, you need his product.

Where I disagree is that I think insurance isn't JWP's only product. I think he also sells the political clout, the masses, of the black community. And he's not selling them to those who would do well by them. He's selling them to those who would do well by JWP his ownself.

This keeps coming back to the Inland Port deal, and it should. That was such a HUGE opportunity for Southern Dallas, and it got pissed away by the most ham-fisted of political corruption. Price had an opportunity to do something positive for his constituents. Hell, all he had to do was stay out of the way and the community he claims to champion would have reaped all sorts of rewards. But the Great White Fathers across the river had something to lose, and JWP was there to take their money and do their bidding.

I know. Stating (or restating) the obvious. JimS has said all this, far more eloquently and convincingly, many times.

The man is Judas. He represents a big chunk of what's wrong in local politics. And it's embarrassing to Dallas as a whole that he's got away with it for so long.

JimS
JimS

Good point. Lots of people agreed with you on this. I guess I get stuck on the ones who don't get it. 

Rene
Rene

Lying, egotistical, a con-man, narcissism, lack of remorse, above the rules, keeping people at odds with each other, and incongruity between words and deeds--don't look now, folks, but those are all symptoms of psychopathy. 

GusMitchem
GusMitchem

 I do miss the good ole days when the Observer wasnt so agenda driven and exposed all the scumbags in my town 

Rumpunch
Rumpunch

I think that the Inland port deal was not mentioned for a couple of reasons. 

First, the FBI was only detailing enough to link the cash from the safe and from the land deal.  The inland port may or may not be linked, and therefore why tip your hand on it, if you do not need to.  The affidavit stated that there was more evidence which was being held until a possible criminal trial. 

The second reason is they may be still building that case.  The inland port case may not even include it in this round of civil and criminal trials.  Have enough to put JWP away for many many years.  Let his sit in the stir for a few years, and see if there is anything he might want to share.  Give him immunity for the inland port deal in exchange for info.  I think that they are already doing this.  The level of detail on where to look at JWP is quite extensive.  Anyone check to see who has been visiting Don Hill and company lately?  Cortez getting stir crazy yet? 

Mickister
Mickister

 I agree with you.  His corruption goes even further.  But it goes to the point that he isn't about helping (or hurting) the black man or doing the same to the white man.  He's about helping himself, no matter what race or corporation that means getting into bed with. 

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