Though Douglas was acquitted of corruption and tax evasion charges, prosecutors have maintained that the longtime developer and founder of Douglas Development Corp. should serve a lengthy time behind bars for his felony conviction.
During a sentencing hearing today Judge Ricardo Urbina chided the prosecutors' zealousness, rejecting requests for an increase in Jemal's punishment under the sentencing guidelines. But he gave Jemal five years probation and a $175,000 fine and ordered that he implement the corporate compliance program recommended by KPMG.
Testimony during the sentencing hearing portrayed Jemal as a man interested in helping the local community. First up was a 48-year-old music store owner who received his first job from Jemal at age 16. Raised in the "ghetto," Jerome Robinson said that Jemal bought him clothes and shoes and helped find him a place to stay when his girlfriend once kicked him out.
"Doug is like a father I never had," he said.
Each of the seven witnesses told a similar tale of Jemal's generosity. There was the Bolivian immigrant who Jemal employed and also gave money to to help him buy his first home. There was the woman who as a divorced mother of two children in the 1970s, Jemal gave a job to and even paid for a babysitter. A Metropolitan Police employee explained how Jemal provided a meeting space for the city's support group for family members of fallen officers.
And there was a neighborhood commissioner who exalted Jemal's charity in the downtrodden communities he invests in. "It's never with a thought of ‘What can I get out of this?’ It's ‘How can I help?’" said Alexander Padro, neighborhood commissioner for Shaw.