Landlord claims Dwaine Caraway owes $20K in back rent

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A Southern Dallas landlord took convicted former city councilman Dwaine Caraway to court, saying he owes $20,000 in back rent.

Caraway's campaign signs can still be seen stacked up in his old campaign office on Cedar Crest Boulevard.

Caraway did not attend Friday’s hearing where a civil judge ruled in his favor. The judge decided he didn't owe the $20,000 in back rent because the landlord only had a verbal agreement with the politician.

Mohammad Asharaf says he has since learned to never trust a politician.

“I give it to him because of his words and I trust him,” the landlord said. “I asked him to give me my shop back. He said, ‘I'll give it to you. I'll pay you some rent. I'm broke. Got all my money in the election, but I'll get it to you.”

Asharaf says he leased the space to Caraway for his campaign office when he ran against John Wiley Price for county commissioner in 2015. After he lost, the landlord says caraway told him he wanted to keep the space to run for city council.

Asharaf and his attorney say the missed payments add up to $20,000.

“Throughout the three years, my client on multiple occasions has asked him to pay rent.  It's been one excuse after the other,” said attorney Fivad Bajaria. “Because Mr. Caraway is a powerful politician, my client's been reluctant to move forward with eviction proceedings. And, unfortunately, Mr. Caraway just took advantage of my client.”

But the judge quickly ruled in favor of the former Dallas mayor pro tem, who is waiting to be sentenced on a federal corruption conviction.

“Our position was Mr. Caraway had rented the location for one month. Evidence produced by the landlord that he paid for that one month,” said Michael Payma, Caraway’s attorney.

Payma also represents Caraway in the criminal case involving bribes and kickbacks that led to the breakup of the largest school bus service in North Texas. He rarely talks publically about his client's criminal conviction, so FOX 4 asked about the status of the ongoing investigation.

“I cannot go into details because that may violate some agreements and be improper,” he said.

Sentencing for Caraway's criminal case was originally set for December. It has since been postponed until April.