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Lawsuit Over Residency Question

Trial could lead to the ouster of a community college trustee

Dave Wilson is a 67 year old small businessman who surprised former Houston Community College chairman Bruce Austin in the November 5th election. He ousted the 24 year incumbent by 26-votes. He’s being sued by  the Harris County attorney’s office. The suit claims a building in the college system’s District 2, is not Wilson’s place of residence as he claims. It is listed in the county records as a commercial metal warehouse. Jury selection has begun in the case. Assistant county attorney Douglas Ray spoke afterwards:

“I think the evidence is very strong said Ray, the only issue in  the case is what is the residence of Mr. Wilson. If it is in fact at 5600 W. 34th Street, then he should be qualified to keep the job. If he in fact lives elsewhere, then he would not. So that’s the question the jury’s gonna have to resolve is, what is the proper residence of Mr. Wilson.”

The civil suit does not say where Wilson lives, but Ray says the grounds for the petition are said to be similar to ones raised in a 2010 suit filed by Wilson against the Harris County Democratic Party chairman, after he was kept off the ballot when he filed to run for Harris County Pct. 4 commissioner:

“We’re going to present a number of different pieces of evidence said Ray, and let the jury in their wisdom decide, whether or not that really is his residence or not.”

Wilson claims the lawsuit is part of an ongoing effort by county attorney Vince Ryan to keep him off the community college system board:

“They have spent an incredible amount of money in this case, said Wilson. You know, they had four lawyers in here and they’ve drug this out. They’ve hired a private investigator, and Vince Ryan has said that he has unlimited resources and he’ll do whatever he can to make sure that I don’t take that seat, which to me is such an abuse of his office and power, and I’m really embarrassed for the county.”

He admits the legal wrangling has been a distraction:

“I am seated right now as a trustee, and I’ve voted said Wilson, but it’s a cloud that hangs over my head and I want to get it off, and I want to move one with the business of educating kids and students’ success at Houston Community College.”  

HCC, per election law, was required to accept Wilson’s application, as long as the address he listed was located in the district he had applied to run, which it was. The trial is expected to last 2-3 days.

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