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FBI probing city, church deal

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The Ellis County Press

MIDLOTHIAN – Councilman Ken Chambers met with the Federal Bureau of Investigation last Monday, Aug. 10 to discuss the possibility of illegal transactions made by local officials.

The controversial real estate transaction surrounding the First Baptist Church of Midlothian and renovated for the police department and courtrooms involved Stephen Campbell, chief of police at the time, represented the city as the buyer who was a licensed sale’s agent for the broker and William Foshea, who was representing the seller.

The original $1.5 million dollar contract saw two pages missing while Foshea received $36,000 commission.

The Texas Real Estate Commission verified that Stephen Campbell has a real estate salesperson license being sponsored by licensed real estate broker William Foshea during the course of the transaction.

According to the Ellis County Tax Assessors Office, at the time of purchase the value of the land was $82,000.

On July 30, Councilman Chambers had a meeting where he discussed the new Ellis County Appraisal for 2009 at $2.6 million, with their $1.6 million purchase price and the additional city funded $2.4 million in renovations totaling over $4 million spent with Don Hastings, city manager, Don Stout, city attorney and Bill Houston, councilman.

Stout approved the transaction and according to Chambers stated that the documents were in order and it was not his position to review the details of the transaction while further stating "he did not know that Steve Campbell was a licensed sales agent for the broker, William Foshea, who was representing the seller."

According to Chambers, Stout admitted during their meeting there would be a conflict of interest on the city’s part wit Chief Campbell if the facts were correct.

The item was placed on the council agenda for Aug.11 where it was presented to the citizens and council.

Stout said nothing regarding the conflict of interest during this time.

The FBI is currently reviewing the information to decide if a criminal investigation is warranted.

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