Cars owned by inmates now belong to Commissioner Price

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by DAVID SCHECHTER

Bio | Email | Follow: @davidschechter

WFAA

Posted on June 27, 2011 at 9:55 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 6 at 1:20 PM

NEWS 8 EXCLUSIVE

UPDATE:

Damon Crow, who previously owned the 1993 BMW 850i, tells News 8 he surrendered the car to the FBI in 2002, in connection with a restitution agreement on a federal embezzling charge.  Ownership records show the vehicle passed directly from Crow to Commissioner John Wiley Price.  Crow says the two men have never met.
 
Timothy Calverly says he traded in his 1999 GMC Truck to Saturn of Hurst for a new vehicle.  Calverly says when the financing fell through on the new car the truck had already been sold to Price.  Records show Price bought the vehicle from Saturn of Hurst.
 
The Dallas Morning News reports Gary Stephens was in custody of the Tarrant County Jail at the time his 2005 Bentley was sold to Price by, the now-defunct, Andretti Motors, in Dallas. 
 
The News also reports a total of six of Price’s vehicles, with title problems, were issued clean titles through a closed-door hearing process offered to citizens of Dallas County.  That includes the Bentley, but not the cars previously owned by Crow and Calverly.


DALLAS — In the wake of an FBI investigation of Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, documents uncovered by News 8 raise questions about how Price obtained a large number of expensive vehicles, many previously owned by county inmates.

Searching inside and out the home and offices Price and several key associates, FBI agents paid close attention to a large number of vehicles owned by the commissioner.

The inventory includes a $130,000 Bentley sedan in his assistant's garage.

A closer look at some of Price's fleet reveals two trends:

  • At least three vehicles were previously owned by men held in, or recently released from, the Dallas County Jail.
     
  • With at least eight of Price's vehicles there were questions as to who owned the car — questions resolved by a secretive county board that issued him clear title.

News 8 has been able to document these three vehicles involving inmates:

  • In 2002, Damon Crow was charged with aggravated assault and forgery. That same year, vehicle records show Price took possession of Crow's 1993 BMW 850i.
     
  • In 2009, Timothy Calverly was charged with drug possession. During that time, records show, Price took possession of his 1999 GMC truck.
     
  • In 2007, Gary Stephens faced charges of embezzling $1.4 million from Baylor University Medical Center. Records show that four days after he bonded out, Price took possession of Stephens' $130,000 Bentley. Federal agents examined that car on Monday.

All three of those vehicles — and others owned by Price — had cloudy ownership issues.

In situations like these, there is a little-known state law that lets county clerical workers hold secret hearings to establish clear title and rule as they see fit.

Experts call the process highly unusual, but that's how Price got clear title to these cars — and five others.

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com

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