Politics » Politics Feature

THE DIXON TRIAL: Roscoe's Short Stack



Jurors watched a tape Thursday of former Sen. Roscoe Dixon picking up a stack of $100 bills at a meeting with bag man Barry Myers and undercover FBI informant Tim Willis while they watched wrestling on television at Willis’s home.

“Throw me one of them stacks, man,” Dixon says, just before leaving the meeting and placing the bills inside a book. The meeting took place in February, 2004, a little over a year before the case broke and indictments were unsealed.

The stack consisted of ten $100 bills, and was part of $6,000 in cash placed on a table by Willis. Myers testified that Dixon was “scared” to take the rest of the money for fear of getting caught but got another $1,000 from him later that day. The money was to advance legislation pushed by Willis on behalf of E-Cycle Management, a fake computer company set up by the FBI.

Dixon, Myers and Willis also talk about the potential to make big money via minority contracts. Willis repeatedly says, “I want to be a player” as he counts out the $6,000 in front of a video camera hidden in his briefcase. Dixon advises him to “pace yourself, don’t go too far too fast.” He notes that Willis is only 33, the same age Dixon was when he entered the legislature.

Myers, who has pleaded guilty in the case, spent the entire day on the witness stand. Jurors watched and listened to several hours of secretly recorded video and audiotapes in which Myers met with Willis or an undercover FBI agent known as “L.C.”

L.C. posed as a dot-com millionaire and E-Cycle cofounder. He and Willis painted visions of dollars signs and easy money to Myers that made the $9,500 in bribes allegedly paid to Dixon (who, by all accounts, got at most $6,000 himself) sound like small change. They said state contracts for computer recycling would enable E-Cycle to become a publicly traded corporation and boost its stock from pennies a share to $10 to $15 a share, making millions for L.C. and as much as $250,000 for Willis.

“I’m lookin’ at makin’ $20 or $30 million if it goes public,” L.C. tells Myers in a meeting taped at E-Cycle’s office in Peabody Place in downtown Memphis.

Myers responds, “I need to rethink that, become a lobbyist for y’all.”

“Once I got contracts in place I’m golden, baby, I’m in fat city,” L.C. says.

Myers testified that he dealt with E-Cycle representatives on money matters because Dixon was fearful of getting caught by the FBI like City Councilman Rickey Peete and defendants in a 1988 public corruption investigation known as Operation Rocky Top (which Myers kept calling Rocky Mountain bingo).

On cross-examination, Myers admitted he embellished stories about Dixon and had no regular source of money after losing his job at Juvenile Court in 2002. Defense attorney Coleman Garrett said Myers and Willis were “con men” out for their own welfare and that the tape shows Dixon taking less than the $1,100 maximum allowable campaign contribution from a single source.

Myers began working for Dixon as an assistant in 1992 and described his relationship as being “like a son.” On several occasions on the tapes, he talks about the need to be careful of recorded conversations and undercover FBI agents.

“Those white folks will zero in on your ass,” Myers tells L.C. in a meeting where he picked up $2,000.

Jurors also got long doses of audiotapes full of inconsequential and often undecipherable conversations along with crude references to the merits of various state lawmakers. Several times Myers, who is black, refers to “white boys” and “niggas” when talking about legislators. The “heavy hitters,” he said, were Dixon, John Ford, Lois DeBerry, and Kathryn Bowers.

The prosecution will continue putting on its case on Friday.

Want to respond? Send us an email here.

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.

Add a comment