Third Dallas real estate developer charged with bribing city council members

 

Date: December 17, 2020

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

Another Dallas real estate developer has been charged with bribing city officials.

A federal grand jury indicted Sherman Roberts, the president of City Wide Community Development Corporation, on one count of conspiracy to commit bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds and one count of bribery concerning a local government receiving federal benefits on Wednesday. Mr. Roberts is scheduled to make his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Renee Toliver Friday morning.

In return for cash payments and the promise of future payments after her city council tenure ended, Council Member A voted to authorize more than $1.9 million in City of Dallas funding for Mr. Robert's Serenity Place project, recommended that the project receive a 9 percent low income housing tax credit from the Texas Department of Housing, and demanded that developers with competing projects withdraw their applications for funding in order to increase Mr. Robert's chances.

"Right now, you and me are making money" from the real estate dealings, Mr. Roberts allegedly told Council Member A, who was then serving as a leader of Dallas' Housing Committee, in spring 2015.

Together, the pair then approached Council Member B for his help with another one of Mr. Robert's developments.

In return for a $600 cash payment plus the promise of a $60,000 lump sum payment and a $2,000 monthly stipend, Council Member B agreed to stop the City of Dallas from issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP) for Mr. Robert's Patriot's Crossing project and to cast votes in favor of the project on the City Council.

Mr. Roberts is the third real estate developer charged with bribery in the past two years. Devin Hall, the developer behind the Grand Park Place apartment project, pleaded guilty in August 2020. Ruel Hamilton, the AmeriSouth Realty Group executive who backed the Royal Crest housing project, is slated for trial in February 2021.

An indictment is merely an allegation of criminal conduct, not evidence. Like all defendants, Mr. Roberts is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in federal prison.

IRS – Criminal Investigation's Dallas Field Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Dallas Field Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Marcus Busch and Andrew Wirmani are prosecuting the case.