A Dallas Housing Caseworker Plans to Plead Guilty to Using His City Job to Get Sex, Free Rent

Categories: City Hall, Crime

ArborsCarrollton.JPG
Lawrence Hart's Carrollton apartment complex.
Last year, the city of Dallas abruptly shut down Project Reconnect, its $1.6 million effort to help ex-prisoners get housing and job training, amidst an investigation into nepotism and misallocation of funds. The Dallas Morning News reported that the inquiry centered on $91,000-per-year director Suanne Spires Durham and the possibility she was illegally diverting funds to a 24-year-old woman, possibly a relative.

Barely a mouse fart as far as Dallas housing scandals go. Durham was indicted, and the matter was promptly forgotten by pretty much everyone.

Ah, but the investigation hadn't quite run its course. Today, former Project Reconnect staffer Lawrence Hart pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of making a false statement to HUD, which funded the program, one count of witness tampering, and one count of deprivation of rights under color of law. prosecutors filed documents in federal court showing that former Project Reconnect staffer Lawrence Hart intends to plead guilty to one count of making a false statement to HUD, which funded the program, one count of witness tampering, and one count of deprivation of rights under color of law.

(Kathy Colvin, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorneys Office, writes: "Mr. Hart has not pleaded guilty. While documents have been signed and filed indicating that he intends to enter a guilty plea to three counts ... a date has not yet been set for him to do so before a judge. It is only at that time that he will have 'pleaded guilty.'")

In a brief cameo in the initial Morning News story, Hart played the role of hero and victim, unfairly threatened with disciplinary action by Durham after he questioned whether her 24-year-old maybe-relative was eligible for benefits.

Court documents paint a different portrait. Hart, they say, was milking the program for his own benefit.

The $980-per-month Carrollton apartment he lived in from August 2012 to July 2013 was paid for, save for $5 per month from his own pocket, with HUD funds administered through Project Reconnect. His name wasn't on the lease -- court documents say he convinced an unidentified third party to apply for benefits -- but he was the sole occupant.

Dallas PD and the FBI interviewed Hart on July 8, 2013, by which point Project Reconnect had paid his rent to the tune of $8,619.03. Immediately after the interview, Hart called the third party and told him to lie to investigators, hence the witness-tampering charge.

But that just involved money and lying to federal agents. Hart also used his position as a Project Reconnect caseworker to coerce a client into sex. According to the plea agreement signed by Hart, he told the woman he would fast-track her application if she'd have sex with him. When she ended their relationship in January 2013, Hart told her he was booting her from the program. She was apparently unaware that Hart had no authority to do so, and she moved out at the end of the month.

Hart faces a maximum 22 years in prison and $450,000 fine. We're waiting on confirmation, but he's presumably been fired.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

My Voice Nation Help
18 comments
GAA214
GAA214

This scumbag should get the maximum sentence.  

wcvemail
wcvemail

First date - Her: "Have you ever paid for sex?"

Him - "Of course! Any man who says he's never paid for sex is a fool or a liar."

Her (missing the point) - "Aha! And it wasn't worth what you paid, was it?"

Him - "You're right. After we split this check, you can find your own way home, right?"

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Nailed because he did it on the fringes and only for peanuts, instead in Marilla for millions.

JFPO
JFPO

Great, he's caught and facing prison time. Meanwhile, Mary Suhm walks free and AC Gonzalez gets a promotion.

ghkyluhhje
ghkyluhhje

So, when is Yigal Lelah getting arrested for fraud?

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@wcvemail  

That made me laugh, even if there is little or no truth to it.

Women definitely miss the point of prostitution. Sex is relatively easy to get. Peace, on the other hand, is a rare and valuable commodity. When you hire a prostitute, the sex is free - you're just paying her to leave immediately afterward.

ruddski
ruddski

@wcvemail

And then, she bailed at 30 mph.

ruddski
ruddski

The ex-cons can mingle with the pre-cons.

ruddski
ruddski

I blame Kennedy.

But let's give liberals the credit they deserve, I just saw this item proving that, given enough time and tireless effort, some of their most cherished policies actually can turn the tide, and this is one of those moments.

Heckuva job, whitey:

----CNSNews.com) – In 2012, there were more black babies killed by abortion (31,328) in New York City than were born there (24,758).....,-----

ruddski
ruddski

We know one thing for certain, they won't quit.

Remember Hillary's admission of the value of "incrementalism"?

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@ruddski This whole FCC study was so blatantly transparent and easy to unravel, it makes me wonder; What are they really  up to?  They pulled the plug too quickly, without the usual administration two-step to explain it all away.  There is something deeper going on here, and the 'study' was just a red herring to throw us off the scent.

ruddski
ruddski

Mainstream radicalism now, as defined by #occupy, is a demand for more state control of the individual lest that individual act in a way abhorrent to the Leftist State.

In short, "Keep your hands on my body, and my mind, and everyone else's!"

(Please pleases please, bless us with a benevolent dictatorship!!)

Regardless, here's a great piece translating the FCC's new proposals (which are being re-thought due to the protests of radical conservatives, who are now considered enemies of the state)

Note to those who believe the FCC regulates only airwaves, don't count on it.

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/371693/translating-fcc-snooping-study-david-french

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@ruddski  

In the 80s, it was smart and fresh.

Today's mainstream radicalism is like rap to Heron's social comment.


ruddski
ruddski

We're all in a B movie. Time for something new.

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...