SHERMAN — The final bell rang in the federal fraud case against former Melissa mayor David Dorman on Monday. Vowing months earlier to fight the fraud charges levied against him in the Eastern District Court of Texas, Dorman instead pleaded guilty to mail fraud before a U.S. Magistrate.
Dorman, 66, of Melissa, entered his plea before Judge Amos Mazzant Monday afternoon.
Less than an hour later, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, Malcolm Bales, along with Diego Rodriguez, Special Agent in Charge for the Dallas division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, spoke on the case and the plea agreement.
“A few moments ago, Mr. Dorman pleaded guilty to using the mail to deprive the citizens of Melissa of their collective right to his honest service as their mayor,” said Bales. “Mr. Dorman has admitted that he used his office as mayor to orchestrate a real estate transaction that not only benefited a crooked real estate developer, but himself as well, to the tune of $30,000 in illicit payments.”
The case centers around a fraudulent land deal instigated by Dorman beginning in late 2006 and going through 2007. According to information presented in court, Dorman, while serving as mayor of Melissa, solicited a $70,000 bribe from land developer John Christie, 65, of Frisco, in exchange for the city of Melissa to annex a portion of land from the city of McKinney in order for Christie to develop and sell the land to potential customers. Based on a letter from Dorman, the cities of Melissa and McKinney approved the annexation and, in exchange, Christie made one $10,000 cash payment and two $10,000 payments by check to Dorman.
“Dorman later claimed the payments were consulting fees and, of course, that was a lie,” Bales said.
The land at the heart of the matter is where the recently-built RaceTrac store is now located. That land is clear and will not be seized, according to Bales.
Dorman and Christie were initially named in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury Sept. 12. The case took shape due to a tip from a Melissa resident. The tipster’s identity is kept secret. That tip led the FBI to take a closer look at the land deal culminating in Monday’s guilty plea by Dorman.
“This investigation was made possible because someone came forward,” said Rodriguez. [It] serves as an example: if anyone has any information about potential wrongdoing by a public official, we encourage you to submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov or contact your local FBI field office. Your help can make a difference.”
Dorman faces up to 20 years in prison, but the reality is that he is most likely looking at 30 to 37 months behind bars when taking into account certain agreements with the United States government in exchange for his plea. Christie, who pleaded guilty on Jan. 4, faces up to three years in prison, though in all likelihood he may not serve a day behind bars.
Sentencing dates for either man have yet to be set but will happen at a later date in accordance with their plea agreements and subsequent sentencing guidelines. Dorman could also face fines up to a quarter of a million dollars.
The plea agreements in this case have been sealed and are not being made public.
Bales said Monday’s guilty plea sends a simple message.
“Public servants cannot be permitted to abuse their authority or the positions for their own personal benefit. That’s the bottom line message of the Dorman case.”