New questionable campaign expenditures revealed in Price case

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by BRETT SHIPP

WFAA

Posted on July 5, 2012 at 10:30 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 5 at 10:30 PM

DALLAS - Federal agents are already accusing Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price of several crimes.

Among the allegations, laundering campaign funds.

But News 8 has learned Price may still be spending tens of thousands of his campaign dollars on one of his own businesses.

When FBI agents raided Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price's home and office last summer, they discovered a bank account shared with his secretary, Dapheny Fain. The account traced to a business in DeSoto called Male Man Sales.

According to a Justice Department civil affidavit, the feds believe "Price and Fain conspired to use Male Man Sales and MMS Company to generate and conceal income for Price."

The feds also accused Price of using "…campaign account funds to make purchases from MMS in excess of $60,000 [...] from 2006 to 2011."

On June 27, 2011, the feds found $230,000 in a safe Price's home.

Since that time, News 8 has discovered Price has continued to spend campaign funds at the same business.

According to his campaign reports, Price has spent more than $24,300, allegedly on campaign supplies. Signs, banners, stationery, and promotional water were among the purchases.

MMS is located in a nondescript warehouse in DeSoto. During a recent visit to the business, we saw no signage. From the outside looking in, there were few signs of activity, beyond a Price campaign sign and two bobble-head dolls.

According to the feds, the business is registered to Dapheny Fain, and the profits are shared by she and Price.

When we tried to question Price this week about spending campaign money on a business he has an interest in, he ignored the question. His attorney did not have much more to add.

"I know money went in and money went out, and that's about all I know," said Billy Ravkind, Price’s attorney. "I'm told by John that there is nothing to worry about."

Former federal prosecutor John Teakell said the feds will take note if Price is resuming his old habits. He said Price may even continue to spend campaign money at his own business on purpose.

"It may be a strategy on his part to say 'I have an explanation for this. I have no criminal intent, I've done nothing wrong,” Teakell said. “Price could be thinking he doesn’t care what the government says, he’s going to continue to do his business."

The feds have also accused Price of laundering at least $70,000 in campaign funds through another one of his businesses, an art gallery called Millennium 2000.

Alleged laundering of campaign funds is a small portion of the case the feds are trying to make against Price, who has yet to be charged with a crime.

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

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