Commissioner Price's assistant also paid as campaign vendor

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by DAVID SCHECHTER

Bio | Email | Follow: @davidschechter

WFAA

Posted on July 11, 2011 at 10:00 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 11 at 10:39 PM

DALLAS - The relationship between embattled County Commissioner John Wiley Price and his executive assistant Daphney Fain is woven together with at least three treads.

First, for 12 years, Fain worked for Price at the Commissioner's Court. Second, she sits on the board of directors of Price's non-profit Kwanzaa Fest. Finally, Fain owns a company, MMS, that’s been paid more than $32,000 by Price’s campaign over the last three years.

MMS' unmarked office in a DeSoto light-industrial park was closed during a visit last Friday. But, the specialty items Fain sells, like T-shirts and mugs, were on display inside. The payments from Price to MMS range from $500 to $10,000.

In late June, Price’s home, offices and Fain’s home were raided by the FBI in what experts believe is a possible government corruption and tax evasion investigation.

Records showed Price's campaign bought $1,710 worth of bottled water from Fain's company for events at the Dallas County Health Department. The campaign spent $2,874 with Fain on Kwanzaa Fest T-shirts and $2,500 on a "promotional video/Mother's Day cards."

The three largest purchases by Price from Fain's company have few details:

  • $2,940 for "campaign promotional items"
  • $5,000 for "fundraiser promotions"
  • $10,000 for "promotional items for campaign printing"

Jim Rolfe, a former United States attorney for the Northern District of Texas., said on face value, he sees nothing illegal with the relationship between Price and Fain, but said investigators may want to know if money paid to Fain made its way back to Price.

"Theoretically, I have no idea whether that's the case or not," he said. "But, theoretically, that's what the investigation may be directed towards."

Neither Price nor Fain returned News 8's request for a comment and neither has been charged with a crime.

Federal search warrants obtained by News 8 showed investigators are seeking information about Fain's company, including records relating to "ownership", "partnership" and "sales".

They are interested in similar records from an art gallery owner, Karen Manning, whose business was also searched by federal agents. The Price campaign spent $48,000 with Manning during the same timeframe.

Why are the feds interested in these businesses?

"Follow the money," Rolfe said.

It’s the first rule of a government investigation.

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