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County official in Texas accused of taking bribes

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 25, 2014 at 11:06 pm •  Published: July 25, 2014

DALLAS (AP) — A longtime Dallas County commissioner has been charged with accepting nearly $1 million in bribes in exchange for providing insider information and voting in favor of projects proposed by various companies, federal authorities announced Friday.

John Wiley Price, his chief of staff and two political consultants were in custody after being charged in a 13-count indictment.

Price is a well-known local leader in the Dallas area and has served on the commissioners court for more than 27 years.

Price and the other three defendants each pleaded not guilty during their initial court appearances Friday afternoon. All four were released on personal recognizance bonds.

While leaving the courthouse, Price told reporters he was innocent and would be getting back to work soon.

Billy Ravkind, Price's attorney, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldana said at a Friday morning news conference that during a decadelong scheme, two political consultants, Kathy Nealy and Christian Campbell, provided Price with $950,000 in money, cars and land.

Authorities allege that in exchange for the bribes, Price voted in favor of lucrative contracts before the commissioners court that were proposed by the consultants' clients.

"Price corruptly solicited and demanded a series of benefits ... to award contracts for Dallas County business," Saldana said.

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