In Latest Dallas City Hall Scandal Who is ‘Council Person A'

In the most recent corruption case to rock Dallas City Hall, federal court records suggest the involvement of a major player who is easily recognized in another tax-stealing scandal in local government.

The records raise questions about whether former Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway, fallen from grace and awaiting prison time in his own bribery case, helped federal investigators build a case against prominent real estate developer Ruel Hamilton.

An indictment was unsealed Friday, alleging he bribed former Dallas City Council member Carolyn Davis and a second member, identified in the indictment only as "council person A."

Friday morning, Davis appeared in federal court on a guilty plea of taking bribes in exchange for her actions on the City Council, aimed at benefiting Hamilton and his company in getting tax breaks and other government incentives to build public housing in Dallas.

Later in the day, Hamilton appeared in a different federal court, flanked by several defense lawyers and told U.S. Magistrate Renee Toliver he would plead not guilty in the bribery scheme.

After the court appearance, Hamilton's attorneys issued a statement saying the charges against their client "are the result of a misdirected that the government set in August 2018."

U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox disagreed, saying in a press conference that Hamilton, along with bribing Davis, "also paid off another council member referred to in the documents as 'council person A.'"

In a news release, the U.S. Attorney's Office said "council person A's tenure on the City Council ended August 9th, 2018."

It was on that day that Caraway resigned and pleaded guilty to federal charges that he took bribes in a separate scandal at City Hall, indicating he is "person A" mentioned in the indictment against the developer.

The timing could be more than just a coincidence, said former U.S. Attorney Paul Coggins, in an interview with NBC 5 Investigates.

While stressing he was not directly involved in the case, Coggins said aspects of the investigation could suggest that Caraway cooperated, possibly in hopes of getting a lighter punishment.

"Any defendant who agrees to plead guilty has tremendous incentive… to cooperate with the government as much as possibly, and frankly to do it before sentencing," Coggins said.

In another similarity, government documents say Hamilton and "person A" began talking on Aug. 2, 2018, the same day that Caraway signed his plea agreement in his case.

If indeed Caraway is cooperating with the government, observers say more officials could be implicated in the corruption.

"If I were a betting man," Coggins said, "I would certainly bet this is not the end of the line."

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