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04/19/17 12:35pm
John Wiley Price's trial is held in Chief U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Lynn's courtroom inside the Earle Cabell Federal Building.

John Wiley Price’s trial is held in Chief U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Lynn’s courtroom inside the Earle Cabell Federal Building.

By Ashley Stanley
Special Contributor

As the courtroom began to fill up Tuesday morning with pastors, community activists, friends, foes, and citizen onlookers like myself, the media was scrambling with technology issues in the overflow room on the 13th floor. It appeared the connection to the monitors wasn’t working, and media folks like Jim Schutze, Shaun Rabb, Kevin Krause, and James Ragland were fortunate enough to grab seats on the back row before the live show began.

Court started just before 11 a.m. with Judge Lynn reading 22 pages of general and specific instructions to the jury, telling them their duty was to deliver a verdict solely based upon the evidence presented. Evidence is the sworn testimony of witnesses and exhibits provided.  She said, “A verdict should yield a decision beyond a reasonable doubt, but not all possible doubt.”

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04/12/17 9:59am
John Wiley Price's trial is held in Chief U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Lynn's courtroom inside the Earle Cabell Federal Building.

John Wiley Price’s trial is held in Chief U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Lynn’s courtroom inside the Earle Cabell Federal Building.

By Ashley Stanley
Special Contributor

FBI Special Agent Allen Wilson was on the witness stand as I arrived in court Tuesday morning, and it immediately became clear that the federal government is on trial in this case as much as Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price.

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04/10/17 10:30am
A freak hail storm a few years ago completely wrecked the tile roofs of the historic Swiss Avenue neighborhood. (Photo: Amy Curry)

A freak hail storm a few years ago completely wrecked the tile roofs of the historic Swiss Avenue neighborhood. (Photo: Amy Curry)

By Phil Crone
Special Contributor

Make no mistake, storm season in North Texas can be a scary experience, even for lifelong residents. Especially this time of year, we are no strangers to hearing the eerie wail of tornado sirens or posting photos of hail that confirm to the rest of the nation that everything is bigger in Texas.

For storm victims, the scariest thing next to the storm itself is cleaning up and getting their lives back on track. These fears are well founded. Smashed cars, personal belongings scattered about by Mother Nature, and leaky roofs from every subsequent rain create a feeling of vulnerability one can only imagine unless they’ve been through it themselves. Vulnerable people are the prey of the lowest of segments of our society and, in the contracting world, we call those storm chasers.

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03/28/17 2:05pm
art collector

Intimidated at the prospect of becoming an art collector? Robyn Siegel and Cindy Schwartz simplify the process. (Photo: Bull Series, Roy Lichtenstein; Courtesy Cindy Schwartz)

By Robyn Siegel and Cindy Schwartz
Special Contributors

The museum gift shop posters and concert memorabilia are no longer as charming as they once were, and the hand-me-downs from your relatives, while so lovely, don’t reflect your taste, the style of your home, and the furniture and decor decisions. You think, “I will start to collect one day – when I buy a home, when I get a bonus, after the kids are a little older, when we can afford it …”

That one day doesn’t have to be so far away. You can start today.

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03/22/17 3:32pm
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Does an oath of office stand for anything nowadays? Ashley Stanley wonders in her latest column on the John Wiley Price public corruption trial.

By Ashley Stanley
Special Contributor

Your Honor, May I Approach The Witness?

I promised a commenter on the last blog post I would attend the trial and report back, so I did. And on that note, I gave my word. Does that mean anything anymore? Can someone say one thing and do another? I digress.

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03/20/17 6:05pm

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[Editor’s Note: This is the third installment of this series. Find the first and second installments here and here, respectively.]

By Ashley Stanley
Special Contributor

No. 3-14CR-293-M [FILED UNDER SEAL]

During a lazy Sunday afternoon, I decided to pick up the 107-page indictment filed by the feds on July 23, 2014, and provide my thoughts. I didn’t know this case was against anyone other than John Wiley Price. Call me ignorant, but it also includes two consultants and a Dallas County employee. Talk about taking your “friends” down with you.

The indictment points out that Price took an oath in which he swore and affirmed things, “So help me God.” What does that mean? Can that be argued? What if he held his right hand up and had his left hand fingers crossed behind his back? Can he be held to the promise to preserve, protect, and defend anything?

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03/13/17 12:10pm
Photo: www.GlynLowe.com via Creative Commons

Photo: www.GlynLowe.com via Creative Commons

By Phil Crone
Executive Officer, Dallas Builders Association

With so much of the news cycle focusing on Washington, D.C., many may be unaware that Texas is in the thick of a legislative session. That will certainly change soon as we approach the March 10 bill filing deadline and debate heats up on topics ranging from the budget to bathrooms. For the residential construction industry that represents more than $31 billion in economic activity and more than 702,000 jobs in the state—there is a lot on the line.

As it stands right now, our Association has more than 50 pages of bills in our “decision list,” meaning they have an impact on home building one way or another. While the Texas legislative process is designed to kill bills as opposed to passing them (the old Schoolhouse Rock Bill on Capitol Hill skit rarely has a happy ending in Austin), we nonetheless are optimistic that this session will be a positive one for the housing industry.

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03/03/17 12:39pm
John Wiley Price's trial is held in Chief U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Lynn's courtroom inside the Earle Cabell Federal Building.

John Wiley Price’s trial is held in Chief U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Lynn’s courtroom inside the Earle Cabell Federal Building.

By Ashley Stanley
Special Contributor

For the first installment in this series, click here.

The morning didn’t go as planned. I was hoping to be at the courthouse at 7:45 a.m., remember? It was more like 9:03 a.m. I ended up taking care of other business matters, but nonetheless, made it to the Earle Cabell Federal Building in time to be second in line. Meaning if someone comes out, I go in.

It is not standing-room only. Chief U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Lynn does not want anyone standing except for the security officer monitoring the door. You either have a seat, or you wait outside on a wooden bench. I benched it for 20 minutes until I snagged my opportunity. I made it in. However, while I was waiting outside the courtroom, I overhead two attorneys negotiating (nothing to do with the trial). It went a bit like this:

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