In Fort Worth’s Stop Six neighborhood, a 1,400-square-foot house is riddled with bullet holes and surrounded by an overgrown lawn. About 30 miles away, in unincorporated Tarrant County, a 4,195-square-foot house sits well-maintained.
District 5 City Council candidate William McKinley Jackson is listed as living at both of these addresses in different government documents. It’s the Stop Six property that makes him eligible to run in the district.
Some are calling into question Jackson’s residency in the district. Documents obtained by the Fort Worth Report show inconsistencies in addresses listed as his residence. His wife, Dr. Penelope Jackson, claims a homestead exemption at 10509 Mustang Wells Drive in Tarrant County. But Jackson is registered to vote at 1800 Lloyd Ave. in District 5.
Homestead exemption definition
According to the Texas Comptroller website: Tax Code Section 11.13(b) requires school districts to provide a $25,000 exemption on a residence homestead and Tax Code Section 11.13(n) allows any taxing unit to adopt a local option residence homestead exemption of up to 20 percent of a property’s appraised value.
To qualify for the general residence homestead exemption an individual must have an ownership interest in the property and use the property as the individual’s principal residence. An applicant is required to state that he or she does not claim an exemption on another residence homestead in or outside of Texas.
Jackson denies all the allegations about his residency outside of District 5 and said attacks against him are politically motivated. He is a pastor at Samaria Baptist Church, located at 4000 E. Berry St., and his wife is a doctor with a practice located at 2005 Rockview Drive in Granbury. He said that it is not uncommon for him and his wife to live separately.
“My church doesn’t have a problem with it, my family and wife don’t have a problem with it. Nobody had a problem with it until I threw my name in the hat to run for City Council,” Jackson said. “It’s not an issue. I do live there.”
Jackson is running against incumbent councilmember Gyna Bivens and challenger Bob Willoughby. Bivens said she is focused on her constituents.
“I depend on my voters to know who I am, where I live. … I’ve heard these allegations that he doesn’t live there and neither does his wife,” Bivens said. “I think if you want to represent District 5, you should live in District 5.”
Most recently, the house in Stop Six was made uninhabitable by a shooting that took place at the property on Feb. 27. The house was shot over 50 times. Jackson was not at the property at the time of the shooting and, according to police reports, was not living at the home for six months before the shooting took place.
Under Texas law, candidates must reside in the district they are running to represent for six months before the filing deadline, which was Feb.17 for the upcoming May election.
Based on the information in the police report, Jackson would be ineligible to run in District 5. Jackson denies the information contained in the report and questioned the methods and motives of the officers who responded to the shooting.
“That police report is nowhere near true,” Jackson said.
The Fort Worth Police Department denies Jackson’s allegations that officers were politically motivated. Officers’ interaction with Jackson was captured on body camera, Cpl. J.D. Johnson, a public information officer with the police department, said in a statement. The Report requested the body cam footage but was not able to obtain it before publication.
“The officers created the report to document the information they received from Mr. Jackson, and there is no indication they were acting out of political motivation,” Johnson said in a statement.
In a public Facebook post, Willoughby accused Bivens of orchestrating a shooting at Jackson’s house to “scare him out of the race.” Bivens said that there are rumors circulating that she was responsible for the shooting and that she hired cops to falsify the police report.
“I’m a little old lady. I don’t know people who can shoot up houses and I don’t have the authority to hire cops,” Bivens said.
The property at 1800 Lloyd Ave. is owned by Brett Bergin, a real estate agent. He contracts with Ruiz Property Connection to manage his properties. The company confirmed that Jackson rents the property but would not confirm how long Jackson has been living there or how long renovations have been underway.
The property in Tarrant County is significantly more valuable than the property in Stop Six. The house on Mustang Wells Drive has an appraised value of $455,109 while the house on Lloyd Avenue has an appraised value of $171,280.
Explainer: Candidates are required to live in their district, but who checks?
Residency requirements for political candidates can be “fuzzy.” That’s according to Mimi Marziani, an expert in election law with the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. Where people live can be difficult…
Shooting reveals residency dispute
A neighbor, Ivan Vasquez, who called the police following the shooting at 1800 Lloyd Ave. described SUVs driving by the house and firing shots at about 4 a.m.
Today, the exterior of the home is still marked with bullet holes. Jackson feels that he was targeted.
“I do feel threatened for my life. I am the victim,” Jackson said.
In a 911 call placed by Vasquez, he described 1800 Lloyd Ave. as vacant when describing the shooting to the 911 operator. He also said the same SUVs with large guns have shot at the house multiple times in the past.
In the police report, officers state that no one was home at the time of the incident. After Jackson arrived at the scene, he told officers that he had not been living in the home for six months while repairs were being made to the roof, according to the police report.
Jackson later confirmed that the roof of the home caved in while he was out of town on business, but disputed the statement recorded in the police report that it had been six months since he occupied the home.
Jackson couldn’t recall the exact date the roof had fallen in, but said it has been less than six months. He moved into the house on Lloyd Avenue about a year ago, he said.
The Fort Worth Police Department closed its investigation into the incident. Jackson told police he doesn’t know why someone might target his house for a shooting.
Also in the police report, officers listed 10509 Mustang Wells Drive as Jackson’s residence. Jackson said he isn’t sure why officers listed that home as his address. Jackson provided a photo of his driver’s license to the Report that lists 1800 Lloyd Ave. as his address. That is the same ID he showed to officers, he said.
“I gave them my valid driver’s license. I voted from that address. Like I said, it has not been a problem until I ran for City Council,” Jackson said.
Jackson also said he has since moved back into the house at 1800 Lloyd Ave.
After the shooting, the house remained uninhabitable, Jackson said. Now, renovations are underway. Jackson said he called Fort Worth’s city secretary to see what was required to maintain residency as the house was being repaired following the shooting.
Jannette Goodall, Fort Worth city secretary, confirmed that she advised Jackson that if he has to move, it must be within District 5 to qualify for candidacy. If Jackson moves to another location in the district, Goodall asked him to notify her; she hasn’t heard from him since, she said.
Rachel Behrndt is a government accountability reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at email@example.com or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.