Prosecutors said a corrupt former North Texas mayor and the land developer she took bribes from and later married “believed they were above the law.” They found out Friday that they’re not.

Laura Maczka and Mark Jordan were each sentenced to six years in federal prison after a jury found them guilty—twice—of conspiring to cheat the public in a scheme to build a controversial real estate project.

Maczka, who served as mayor of Richardson from May 2013 through April 2015, starred in the sordid public corruption scandal that left local residents fuming.

She accepted payments from Jordan, a local real estate developer, in the form of cash, luxury travel, home renovations, and a lucrative job with one of his companies once she left office.

In exchange, Maczka voted for zoning changes and tax breaks that favored Jordan’s Palisades Central development deal, which allowed for construction of more than a thousand new apartments—even though she’d campaigned against such high-density projects.

The married mayor also engaged in a sexual relationship with Jordan. When the scandal broke, she got divorced and later married Jordan—a marriage prosecutors say was calculated to help their case.

U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant sentenced the pair to prison on Friday.

Maczka and Jordan were first convicted on multiple federal bribery, conspiracy, and tax fraud charges in March 2019.

Judge Mazzant tossed out that conviction after discovering a court security officer gave advice to a juror.

The two were retried and convicted again in July 2021.

Federal prosecutors said in their sentencing recommendation that Maczka and Jordan should serve prison time:

The defendants’ corrupt actions in conspiring to push through the Palisades project, against the overwhelming wishes of the mayor’s constituents who weighed in on the matter, coupled with their attempts to cover up the crime by deleting emails, lying repeatedly to the public, and getting “married” to shore up a legal defense on the advice of their former counsel, underscore a theme that was transparent through both trials: the defendants believed they were above the law.

Richardson city officials conducted an investigation in the spring of 2015 but found no evidence that Maczka violated state laws or city ethics rules.

“Citizens should be able to trust that their elected representatives honestly conduct themselves in a manner that solely benefits the community,” said U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston following Friday’s sentencing. “When the greed of personal gain and benefit results from official actions taken on the pretense of altruistic motives, then the integrity of the whole process is corrupted.”

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.