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Former Dallas council member Fantroy dead at 71

A former Dallas City Council member who chose prison over admitting publicly that he embezzled public funds has died.

James Fantroy died Sunday after a lengthy struggle with kidney cancer, City Council member Tennell Atkins told The Associated Press. Fantroy was 71.

Fantroy served a southern district of the city from 2000 until 2007.

"He had a passion for the city and for his district," said Atkins, who said a new south-central police station and recruiting of businesses were among Fantroy's accomplishments.

The private security company operator was a controversial figure on the council.

In 2003, he was removed as treasurer of a Paul Quinn College community development fund after thousands of dollars disappeared from the nonprofit group's bank account. He was accused in an indictment of writing five checks totaling nearly $21,000 to himself and to relatives and was convicted of embezzlement earlier this year.

In his sentencing hearing, a federal judge gave him a choice between serving a month in prison or apologizing and admitting publicly that he embezzled the money. Fantroy chose prison.

U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade of Dallas had given Fantroy the choice because the ex-councilman had kidney cancer and used a wheelchair.

Fantroy endured hours of regular dialysis sessions each week for most of his council term, The Dallas Morning News reported Sunday. In 2006, he disclosed that he had also been battling inoperable kidney cancer since 2004.

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