Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway has pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges, according to documents filed in Dallas federal court Thursday morning.
He has also resigned from the Dallas City Council.
The 66-year-old Caraway, who has also served as the city’s interim mayor, admitted to accepting $450,000 in bribes and kickbacks from two key figures in the scandal that last year brought down the school bus agency Dallas County Schools; Bob Leonard, who owned the stop-arm camera company that took millions from DCS; and Slater Swartwood Sr., an associate of Leonard’s, reports NBC-DFW
“Over the past several weeks, through a lot of prayer and soul searching, I have decided that I must take responsibility for my actions,” Caraway wrote in his resignation letter, addressed to City Secretary Bilirae Johnson. “I have dedicated much of my life to serving others, but have never claimed to be without sin. I am truly sorry that I must end my career as an elected official because I betrayed the public’s trust that I worked so very hard to earn.”
Caraway is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 14 and faces seven years in federal prison under his agreement.
Leonard also pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge. Court documents filed Thursday show Leonard cut his deal with federal prosecutors in June. Caraway’s plea agreement was signed Aug. 2.
Caraway, a longtime council member from Oak Cliff who grew up and still lives near Cedar Crest Golf Course, admitted to prosecutors that the $390,000 he took from Leonard for “real estate consulting” was “excessive.” Court documents show that “Caraway knew that some of the money was to secure his political influence due to his position” as a council member.
Caraway acknowledged taking that money to “further Leonard’s business interests.” He did that by attempting to persuade the council to vote in support of Leonard’s firm Force Multiplier Solutions, the school bus camera company.
“Early on, Caraway told Leonard that he supported the stop-arm program and asked Leonard to make political contributions,” according to court documents. “Leonard made these contributions because Caraway asked and knew that Caraway supported” the program.
According to Leonard’s factual resume, entered with his plea agreement, Caraway made it clear he could be influenced. At one point, Leonard said, Caraway told him, “I am the City Council.”
According to the plea agreement, if the court accepts the deal cut with federal prosecutors, Caraway will agree to pay a six-figure fine, as well as almost $69,000 owed to the Internal Revenue Service.
“There’s plenty I’d like to say,” Caraway said when reached Thursday morning, but he said he couldn’t comment. He said to speak instead to his attorney, Michael Payma. Payma was not immediately available, but his office said he will release a statement later Thursday afternoon.
araway has not been seen at Dallas City Hall since the council returned from its summer break on Aug. 1. He told several colleagues he was severely ill.
“Today is a day of both reckoning and reconciliation for the city of Dallas and its citizens,” U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox said Thursday.
She called it a “major victory in the battle against public corruption.”
James E Windsor, Overpasses News Desk
August 13th, 2018