Newly elected HCC trustee's residence center of dispute that may prevent him from serving

A man who won his seat on the HCC Board of Trustees with some controversial campaign methods now faces more controversy
January 9, 2014 6:16:23 PM PST
A man who won his seat on the Houston Community College board of trustees with some controversial campaign methods now faces more controversy over his place of residence. A hearing Friday will decide whether a restraining order will keep him from his elected position.

Most of us couldn't find the difference between where we live and where we reside. But there is one in Texas law, and experts tell us its not clear, which leads us to Dave Wilson's most recent fight.

Wilson is an interesting guy. He's an electrical safety trainer by day, and he's run for office at least six times, he tells us.

"Not as many times as Abraham Lincoln ran for office," Wilson said.

He's run for Houston City Council, Houston mayor, county commissioner, and now Houston Community College trustee, an election critics say he won by apparently fooling voters into thinking he was black.

Either way he won and now wants to serve.

"I really want to clean up HCC," Wilson said.

But he can't take office, at least not yet because he may not reside in the district.

"Rules are rules," Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan said.

After getting a complaint from someone he won't name, Ryan went to court and a judge signed an order preventing Wilson from taking the oath of office. It's the first time in at least a decade the county attorney's office has ever done it, leading to claims of a political hit.

"He's trying to circumvent the will of the voters," Wilson said.

Ryan says no.

"Mr. Wilson is the poster child for this kind of issue," Ryan said.

Wilson ran for the HCC office swearing he resides at the small apartment above his electrical safety school on 34th Street. In photos taken by a city of Houston inspector, the living room and bedroom and bathroom are all well kept -- too clean, says Ryan; there was no shower, no occupancy permit until this week, no refrigerator and no wife. Wilson's wife resides and is registered to vote at this home a few miles away.

Ryan says Wilson has a lot to prove.

"Mr. Wilson has a very tall hill to climb because everything Vince Ryan -- the Harris County attorney for the people of Harris County -- has seen says he does not reside at 5600 West 34th," Ryan said.

But Wilson isn't trying to convince a judge or Ryan or you that he sleeps in the small apartment every night -- just that he legally resides there, and seemingly only in politics and law is there really a difference.

"It's real clear what my residence is per the election code," Wilson said.

"And that's here?" we asked him.

"Yes," he said.

Wilson is no stranger to these rules. He's currently appealing a years-old residency ruling that kept him from running for county commissioner. The hearing in this HCC case is set for 3pm Friday.

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