Political consultant's role alleged in Price investigation

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by BYRON HARRIS

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WFAA

Posted on May 31, 2012 at 11:57 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 1 at 11:51 AM

DALLAS -- Kathy Nealy is famous for her South Dallas clout; for her skill at raising money and getting out the vote.
   
But federal affidavits released Thursday allege her business relationship with Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price was much more.
    
"In the process of bringing on business clients, political clients, the allegation is that money went to her, and then on to John Wiley Price," said Dallas Morning News political reporter Gromer Jeffers.
   
Nealy was a consultant to KwanzaaFest, a major charity of John Wiley Price, which gathered hundreds of thousands of dollars in corporate donations.
    
And she was the one employee of her own consulting firm, KNLA. As KNLA, she lobbied for clients before the City of Dallas and the Dallas County Commissioners.  Federal affidavits say she took in $500,000 from political clients from 2001 to 2011.
    
One of those clients was the campaign of Dallas' current mayor Mike Rawlings.
    
Months ago, he told News 8's Brett Shipp his campaign gave Nealy $25,000.  Federal documents now indicate some of that money went to John Wiley Price, and that one day after he received it, he endorsed Ralings.
    
Nearly had corporate connections too, the documents allege. The say KLNA took in payments of $2 million from corporations such as American Airlines, Schlumberger, Bearing Point and Hillwood, among others, for lobbying and consulting services. The feds say some of that money also went to Price.
   
The affidavits also allege those firms had business before Price as a Dallas County Commissioner.
  
For that reason, former U.S. Attorney Matt Orwig, now with law firm Jones Day, says this will be a North Texas corruption case like no other.
   
"This will receive more attention than any in the past,” he said. “Just because Commissioner Price is so well known," the allegations in this affidavit are very, very serious. He could be facing very serious time."
    
No charges have been filed yet, and Orwig says they may not be until after the November elections.
    
Late Thursday Price's attorney John Carney said his strongly denies the allegations in the federal filings.

E-mail bharris@wfaa.com
 

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