DALLAS (CN) – A Dallas businessman pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring to commit extortion at Dallas City Hall. Kevin Dean, 44, is one of eight defendants in a 31-count indictment charging 14 current and former public officials in an alleged bribery and extortion scheme involving affordable housing developments.
Dean faces up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Court documents identify Dean as president and a principal of Kevin Dean Asphalt Technology (KDAT), KDAT Developers, and Helping Hand Programs, Alleged co-conspirator John Lewis, a principal of Lewis & Associates, was Dean’s attorney.
Prosecutors say Dean sought concrete subcontracts from an affordable housing developer on five projects throughout the state, including a project in the Dallas’ District 5, where a zoning change was needed and a project called the Homes of Pecan Grove was nearing construction phase. Alleged co-conspirator and former Mayor Pro Tem Donald Hill was the councilman from that district at the time.
According to court documents, when Dean and others approached the developer, the developer had another affordable housing tax credit development, Dallas West Village, which was pending a zoning change application before the City Council. Due to attempts of extortion being made by others regarding these projects, the developer was already working under the FBI’s direction when the new demands were made through KDAT, prosecutors.
It appeared to the developer that he would never get the City Council vote needed on his Dallas West Village project in spite of having already paid more than $100,000 to co-conspirator Darren Reagan, and others, to get the zoning change, prosecutors say.
Dean has since admitted that he told the developer that his payments would be funneled to Hill to get the vote. After forming KDAT, on March 29, 2005, Dean sent a letter to the developer stating that all fees necessary to secure the City Council’s approval of his zoning change application for Dallas West Village would be built into the KDAT concrete subcontract for Homes of Pecan Grove. Two days later, Dean discussed with the developer how Dean would separately invoice the amount to be paid to Hill for approval of the zoning change application for Dallas West Village. Dean told the developer that Lewis would help put the deal together to get the Council’s approval.
Dean and Lewis told the developer the next month that he needed to pay a total of $250,000 for the zoning change approval, prosecutors said. Dean and Lewis told the developer that by passing the payments to Hill through Lewis & Associates, there would not be a paper trail linking Hill to the transactions.
On May 11, 2005, Dean and Lewis received the initial $50,000 payment from the developer and Lewis signed an Attorney and Consultation Contract between Lewis & Associates and the developer’s company for five projects, with attorney fees totaling $250,000. Dean then signed a letter agreement between KDAT and the developer’s company for Homes of Pecan Grove.
Prosecutors say later that morning, Lewis sent a text message to Hill stating: “Everything is signed! Approve the project!!!” Lewis allegedly converted the developer’s $50,000 payment into a cashier’s check and deposited it into his law office trust account.
That same day, Hill moved that the City Council move the developer’s zoning change application for Dallas West Village to the end of the council’s agenda. Lewis met with Hill early that afternoon, and later that afternoon Hill moved that the City Council approve the developer’s zoning change application for Dallas West Village.
On May 17, 2005, and on May 24, 2005, prosecutors say, Lewis wired $15,000 and $10,000 from the trust account to Dean’s KDAT account.
Dean has admitted that he provided no services to the developer during the extortion conspiracy. The parties have agreed that an appropriate guideline imprisonment range is 30 to 37 months. The actual sentence imposed on Dean is within the court’s discretion.