A document introduced into evidence today in the Dallas public corruption trial surrounding the Texas Low Income Housing Tax Credit program indicates that the going price for community support required to win approval of a tax credit development application was $55,000. At least that’s the price that was set out an unsigned 2004 agreement between Dallas tax credit developer Bill Fisher and Darren Reagan, a leader in a community organization in South Dallas.
The $50,000 Fischer was to pay was intended to buy support in the form of an appearance by members Reagan’s Black State Employees Association of Texas (BSEAT) before the board of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs in support of Fischer’s project. The Dallas Morning News reports that the federal prosecutors have characterized BSEAT as “a shakedown outfit that represented no employees.”
To earn the money Regan was also required to obtain support letters for Fischer’s development from the city council member and state senator for submission to TDHCA as well as speaking in favor of the development at TDHCA public hearings.
I have indicated with red arrows the pertinent sections of the draft agreement between Fisher and Reagan.
State lawmakers should pay attention to the information coming out of the corruption trial. The current system requiring these type of demonstrations of “public support” for tax credit development applications has obviously become a sham.