At one time, DLH Master Land Holdings planned to build a massive industrial park that was ultimately parceled off to developers like Mike Rader after the group filed for bankruptcy protection. John Wiley Price is accused in an FBI affidavit of stalling the project beyond redemption.
- Candace Carlisle
- Staff Writer- Dallas Business Journal
Some Dallas-Fort Worth business executives expressed stunned surprise Friday after news of the FBI arrest of Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price reached them.
Sources told me that Price, accused in a 107-page federal indictment of accepting “a stream of financial benefits” totaling $950,000, was a champion for his constituents in southern Dallas.
“I’ve known him for a long time and he’s always had the best interest of his electorate at heart,” John Crawford, president and CEO of Downtown Dallas Inc. told the Dallas Business Journal. Crawford has worked with Price on community activities for the past several decades.
“He has played a vital role in representing the county,” Crawford said.
When I was touring southern Dallas a few months ago with developer Mike Rader, who helms Dallas-based firm Prime Rail Interests, Rader told me that Price was a strong advocate for the economic development and vitality of the southern portion of the county, which largely has been overlooked by the business community.
Rader did not immediately return requests for further comment on Friday.
Both men said that Price has done a lot for southern Dallas County, much in the way that Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has become an advocate of an economic development initiative to grow southern Dallas in his GrowSouth initiative.
Rawlings’ Chief of Staff Adam McGough said the mayor’s office was “not commenting at this time.”
But Price’s involvement in southern Dallas County hasn’t been without controversy.
According to a Forbes article that appeared on Sept. 23, 2013, Price was the man who is alleged to have stalled a key project in south Dallas piloted by Richard Allen, who worked for years to develop a 6,000-acre area known as the Dallas Logistics Hub that would rival North Texas’ largest distribution development, AllianceTexas.
The Allen Group declined to comment on the arrest, with the group’s president Dan McAuliffe saying, “We are not in a position to make a statement.”
According to the Forbes article, Price allegedly stalled the project after being paid more than $200,000 in cash funneled to him by Dallas political consultant Kathy Nealy, who was on retainer with Hillwood, according to an FBI affidavit and the Forbes report. Nealy also is named in the indictment under which Price was arrested on Friday.
Ross Perot Jr., who leads Hillwood (which includes AllianceTexas), did not immediately respond for comment Friday morning. A spokesman said Perot is out of the country.
A Dallas real estate executive, who works in southern Dallas and who spoke to the Business Journal on the condition of anonymity, said, “He (Price) has done some good things for the community down there. Whatever issues he’s dealing with is separate and apart from what’s he’s done in the southern Dallas community.”
Candace covers commercial and residential real estate and sports business.
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