Former Richardson, Texas Mayor Laura Maczka Jordan has been indicted on seven alleged Federal corruption charges for accepting bribes of cash, luxury holidays, and sex from a local real estate developer during her two year term in office between 2013-2015.
Sex, lies, and phone transcripts
Elected in 2013, as part of her campaign Maczka promised voters that she would oppose zoning law changes to allow a controversial mixed use project to be built. Once elected she changed her position, and cleared the way for the development known as the “Palisades” to go ahead.
What was not known at the time is at the time she changed her mind, Palisades developer Mark Jordan had allegedly been showering the mayor with cash, luxury hotel stays, upgraded airfares, and sex.
Her alleged conflict of interest remained undiscovered while in office, and Maczka ran unopposed for a second term as mayor. But just after the election was concluded, for reasons that were not clear at the time, she decided not to serve the additional two year term she had won. On April 2nd she announced, “After much prayer and conversations with my family, I have made the decision that I will not serve as mayor for… 2015-2017…My focus will be on my family, my health and professional career.”
Her career was in fact pivotal to the decision – she was taking a lucrative job at one of Mark Jordan’s companies. When this fact went public the City Council of Richardson opened an ethics investigation. The report was unable to find a direct violation of any law, but did say Maczka had fallen short of the appearance of impropriety (at least). Later in the month, the City released transcripts of over 300 calls made between Maczka and Jordan, which showed that the two had been speaking and texting up to fifteen times a day.
In the two years since the scandal Maczka and Jordan have married, and Maczka (now known as Laura Jordan) remains listed as an employee of her husband’s company Sooner Management (which perhaps ironically proclaims the slogan “Ethics over Everything” on its website).
Laura Maczka Jordan indicted
On Wednesday the U.S. Attorney for Eastern Texas, Joseph D. Brown, issued indictments for seven different Federal corruption violations against Laura Maczka and Mark Jordan, including conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, honest services wire fraud, conspiracy to commit bribery, and bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds. They couple appeared before a US Magistrate the same day.
According to an official statement, Jordan’s bribes for Maczka included $68,000 in cash and checks, $24,000 in home renovations home, luxury hotel stays and airfare upgrades, and “lucrative employment at one of Jordan’s companies.”
Early reporting on the indictment stated that “intimate sexual contact” also made up part of the Jordan’s bribes to Maczka, however this inclusion does not appear in the version of the statement currently online (which indicates that it has been revised since publication).
The statement also says that Maczka and Jordan coordinated to effect zoning changes that Jordan wanted in exchange for the benefits Maczka received, and that this was kept secret from the public.
According to US Attorney Joseph Brown, “These are the kinds of things that make the public distrust government officials. Public servants should not be for sale, and this indictment clearly indicates that that Ms. Maczka’s vote was for sale, and Mr. Jordan certainly was willing to buy it.”
If convicted, the couple each face up to twenty years in prison.
The FBI continues to investigate the case.