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Politics & Government

Eric Johnson’s Relationship With City Staffer at Heart of His Divorce

In the couple's trial, Nakita Johnson said the mayor was "unfaithful," and her attorneys highlighted consulting payments. The mayor denied the affair.
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Eric and Nakita in 2019

Mayor Eric Johnson’s wife of 16 years alleged in court Tuesday that she “caught him in our house” being unfaithful with a woman employed by the city of Dallas, in February 2021.

The revelation came during the final day of divorce proceedings involving the mayor and his wife, Nakita Johnson, in the 303rd District Court at the George L. Allen Sr. Courts Building. Nakita testified that she confronted her husband that day in February, and he admitted to the affair. “He basically said that it had happened a dozen times or so and didn’t give much more than that,” she said. In testimony earlier in the day, the mayor had denied that he had had an affair. Ike Vanden Eykel, the mayor’s attorney, said Nakita had “no evidence whatsoever” of the affair.

Beyond the anecdote, Nakita’s attorneys entered into evidence footage from the home’s Ring doorbell camera, which, she said, showed the woman arriving and leaving on February 5, 2021, “the last day she left our house and never came back.” The image was not shown to the courtroom but was described for the record. When asked whether her husband had been “unfaithful,” Nakita answered “yes” and then spoke of catching the two. She did not detail what she saw.

D Magazine is not naming the woman because she is not a public figure and did not appear in court to testify. Reached by phone, she said she “could not more strongly categorically deny” the allegations and said she was unaware that she was part of the couple’s divorce proceedings.

Campaign finance reports show that Mayor Johnson paid about $110,000 to the woman’s firm during the 2023 campaign; he ran unopposed. Nakita’s attorneys, Jennifer Hargrave and Hannah Rector, presented the payments as evidence of the mayor’s personal and professional relationships with the woman.

Most of the daylong trial focused on disentangling a 16-year marriage, which included intimate family matters that do not rise to level of the public interest: splitting property, spending habits, income, parenting decisions, communication. The case files are sealed to protect the Johnsons’ three children, but Judge LaDeitra Adkins denied a request from Vanden Eykel to close the courtroom to the public during the proceedings.

Eric Johnson filed for divorce from his wife in March 2023. “He waited until he was unopposed to tell me he filed for divorce,” Nakita said. She testified that the mayor told her he had filed for divorce while she was cleaning dishes, following a family dinner, and had left the papers for her on a chair and said “it was done.”

In testimony earlier in the day, the mayor was asked whether he had had an affair with the woman and answered “No.” Later, he said, “I absolutely deny that I had sexual contact with her.” He did confirm that he spent two weeks in Montreal and New York City, from July 15 to August 1 of 2023, on “my annual vacation,” during which the woman was present “pretty much” the whole trip. The two shared a hotel room at the Ritz Carlton in Montreal, but, Johnson said, they did not sleep in the same bed. The trip occurred after the mayor had filed for divorce, and the woman was no longer employed by the city. Johnson was asked whether he had ever told the woman he loved her. He answered, “It’s possible, yeah.”

Vanden Eykel alleged that Nakita had alerted the media to their divorce, citing a blog post written by D Magazine’s editor, Tim Rogers, in April 2023 (read more on that from Rogers here). In response, Hargraves and Rector subpoenaed Rogers to testify. Nakita’s attorneys presented as evidence an email sent in June 2023 by Rogers to Nakita asking to confirm the divorce. “I have never spoken to him and was surprised he even had my email,” she said. She did not respond and instead forwarded the email to the mayor “a day or so later.” She said her attorneys issued the subpoena “due to my husband’s accusations,” which is how D Magazine learned of the proceedings. Nakita said she had “no desire” to damage the mayor’s reputation.

Judge Adkins said she would rule on the divorce next week.  

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Matt Goodman

Matt Goodman

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Matt Goodman is the online editorial director for D Magazine. He's written about a surgeon who killed, a man who…

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