Criminal JusticeFederalIssuesLocal NewsTaxes & SpendingEx-Mayor of Richardson Faces Up to 10 Years in Federal Prison After Jury Convicts Her of Bribery, Tax Fraud

Prosecutors alleged former Mayor Laura Maczka accepted bribes from a real estate developer with whom she was having an affair.
July 27, 2021
It has been six years since Laura Maczka, now Laura Jordan, resigned her office as the first elected mayor of the City of Richardson. In a second corruption trial, a federal jury has convicted her of accepting a king’s ransom in bribes from Mark Jordan, the real estate developer she would ultimately marry, in exchange for giving favorable treatment to a major commercial real estate venture called the Palisades Project.

The crime couple’s next home could be a federal prison.

Jurors convicted Maczka, age 56, and Jordan, age 54, of bribery, defrauding the United States, tax fraud, and conspiracy. However, the jury acquitted the Jordans of honest services wire fraud and conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, charges of which they were convicted during their first trial.

The guilty verdicts in the Jordans’ first trial were thrown out after a bailiff had a conversation with a juror that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals found may have inappropriately affected the outcome of the case. The government filed a new indictment on December 9, 2020, that included new tax fraud charges.

In a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) press release, Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei lauded the investigators and prosecutors who worked the case “for their tenacity and professionalism.”

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“The cornerstone of a representative democracy is that citizens can rely on their elected officials to wield their official powers in a way that furthers the best interests of the community, rather than to benefit their friends and cronies,” Ganjei said. “Today’s verdict will go a long way towards bolstering public confidence in the integrity of our democratic institutions and promoting open and honest governance.”

Dallas Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno also commented on the verdicts, saying “the trust of the citizens of Richardson was betrayed by Laura and Mark Jordan.”

“Our elected officials are held to the highest standards, and Laura Jordan traded her responsibility to serve her constituents to enjoy a stream of financial benefits. The FBI and our partners will continue to ensure that those who violate their obligation to the public are held fully accountable,” DeSarno said.

According to the DOJ, in addition to taking her on expensive out-of-state getaways, Jordan gave Maczka $18,000 in cash bribes, $40,000 by check, and paid for $24,000 worth of renovations on her home. The government said the mayor’s lover also gave her airline perks, rooms at nice hotels, and then a comfortable job at his company.

Prosecutors said Mayor Maczka rewarded Mark Jordan with votes of aye on “controversial zoning changes” for the Palisades Project, which included a 1,000-unit apartment development, which was overwhelmingly opposed by Richardson residents. Aside from the fact that Maczka had won the mayor’s office in 2013 with 71 percent of the vote on a campaign promise to oppose new apartments in the suburbs, public testimony against the project was almost unanimous.

“FTR [for the record], good thing I had such a fun afternoon yesterday. Because last night the prairie creek mob hit me hard! You were probably enjoying barbecue and chillaxing,” Maczka wrote in November 2013, according to the charging documents. “I was taking bullets for you!”

The mayor also voted in a September 2014 city council meeting to give Mark Jordan’s project up to a $47 million reimbursement and a 25-year tax rebate of 50 percent.

Maczka is now a human resource and communications staff member at Sooner Management, her husband’s commercial real estate leasing company.

Last week, she took the stand in her own defense and claimed that her relationship with Jordan had nothing to do with her decision to advance the Palisades Project, the Dallas Morning News reported.

“I was lying to protect my relationship,” the ex-mayor said, according to The News, adding that she “wasn’t bribed” and had “honestly never been happier” than she was with Mark Jordan.

The newspaper reported that Maczka claimed to the jury that she was not necessarily opposed to building additional apartment complexes under certain circumstances, such as if they were near transportation corridors and included retail. However, prosecutors displayed her campaign literature and provided other evidence that she had run on a platform of opposing apartment complexes.

As the saying goes, there are two sides to every story. In the matter of the United States of America v. Laura Jordan, the two sides are cut and dry. Either she is a classic example of a corrupt politician exploiting her office or she is profoundly unlucky — smitten with the wrong man at the wrong time.

Ultimately, the version of events that the jury determined to be true will govern the rest of the Jordans’ lives. In terms of the penalties they will sustain, Laura and Mark Jordan each face up to a decade in prison. U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant III will sentence them after the U.S. Probation Office conducts a presentence investigation, according to the DOJ.

The word “verdict” derives from the Latin words “vērus” and “dictum,” which mean “true” and “statement.” In this case, the jury decided that the word of truth was not that Mayor Maczka simply fell in love, had an affair, and left her constituents behind without a scratch on them. She turned Richardson City Hall into a crime scene, holding in her hands tens of thousands of dollars and a cushy new job as her smoking gun.

A copy of the jury’s verdicts can be found below.


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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."