Darren Reagan – Choices and Consequences That Include Prison! Comments by Business Ethics Speaker Chuck Gallagher

In June of 2008 Darren Reagan was convicted of theft of public money – a federal offense. On October 8th, 2008 he was sentenced to 12 months in federal prison. But this is not the end for Reagan, as he will face additional charges and a hearing in January 2009 for other alleged offenses.

As a business ethics speaker, I remind audiences around the nation that every choice has a consequence. More times than not, we might make simple (unethical or illegal) choices that seem innocent at the time, with the full intent on paying back. Reality is, however, you cannot escape the consequence of the choices made. I know and speak from experience, as it was thirteen years ago to the month that I took my first steps into federal prison for the choices that I made.

According to the US Attorneys Office:

Reagan, who is currently in federal custody, is also a defendant in the Dallas City Hall corruption investigation case, charged with conspiracy to commit extortion, two counts of extortion by public officials, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and four counts of tax evasion. That case is scheduled to go to trial in January 2009.

At trial, the jury found that from October 1, 2002, through September 1, 2007, Reagan knowingly stole approximately $45,000 in rental housing assistance payments from the Dallas Housing Authority (DHA) in connection with the rental of certain property to his mother-in-law, Leatha Kirven. Reagan falsely claimed to the DHA that he had no blood, marital, or other familiar relationship to Ms. Kirven, and as such, caused DHA to pay him housing assistant payments to which he was not entitled.

Mrs. Kirven testified in a videotaped deposition taken from her hospital room that she knew that when she signed up for the Section 8 housing assistance with Mr. Reagan, that she knew it was against the rules. She also testified that she told federal agents, when questioned by them two years ago, that she knew it was wrong.

Darren L. Reagan is also a defendant in the Dallas City Hall corruption investigation case, charged with conspiracy to commit extortion, two counts of extortion by public officials, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and four counts of tax evasion. That case is scheduled to go to trial in January 2009.

Politics and Ethics – A Question

Ethics is defined as the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation. Now if that is generally true – that ethical choices are defined as those choices that deal with a moral duty and obligation, then the question is can ethics and politics truly go hand in hand?

Some would, of course, say yes. I’ve heard it said that ethical people are always ethical. However, from my experience personally and in observing the behavior of others, I am not sure that is true. I have come to believe that ethical or moral people can become so tempted that they make unethical or bad decisions. And, speaking from experience, the first decision although mentally difficult is the one that paves the way for more to follow.

So here me out and please, with your comments, answer this question! I submit that Darren Reagan started out being a good man. Like most of us, he likely had his flaws, but I bet there are those who would read this and vouch that Reagan was a good man. If that is so, then what happened that caused an otherwise good man to make choices that ended him up with a home in federal prison? Could it be that the power of politics proved to be too much temptation?

Those who have a connection to this case – your comments are welcome!

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