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2014 February 3 - 12:00 am

POLITICS AND POLICY: Validity of College Trustee’s Election in Question


AP Photo/Pat Sullivan  
Houston Community College trustee David Wilson votes on an issue  in his first board meeting. A judge declined to keep Wilson from  taking his seat as an elected official even though he’s accused of misrepresenting his race to voters and is being sued for allegedly  not living in his district.

HOUSTON (AP) — A man who’s been accused of misrepresenting his race while winning a seat on the Houston Community College Board of Trustees has taken office as he faces a new problem: a lawsuit that claims he didn’t live in his district when the election was held.

Dave Wilson has been sworn into office and attended his first meeting. He narrowly won a seat on the Houston Community College board in November. During the campaign, Wilson was accused of misrepresenting his race. His opponent alleged that mailers that Wilson sent to voters implied that Wilson was black. Wilson, a Republican who is white, won in a district made up of mostly black voters. Wilson has said he never lied on his mailers.

Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan now alleges Wilson is ineligible to serve because he was not living in his district at the time of the election. Wilson has denied the lawsuit’s claims.

Wilson claims the lawsuit is political.

“They are trying anything and everything they can to circumvent the will of the people,” he said.

First Assistant Harris County Attorney Robert Soard said all the judge could do was extend the restraining order. Soard said his office has requested a temporary injunction to keep Wilson from working on the board until the lawsuit is resolved.

Gene Locke, special counsel for Houston Community College, said school officials are still reviewing legal issues related to Wilson serving on the board.

Wilson, 67, who has garnered controversy in the past for making anti-gay statements, has unsuccessfully run for political office on multiple occasions.

In his election to the community college board, Wilson sent out direct mailers with pictures of African-Americans that said, “Please vote for our friend and neighbor, Dave Wilson.” There were no photos of Wilson in the mailers.

Another mailer said, “Endorsed by Ron Wilson.” If individuals didn’t pay attention to the fine print that said Ron Wilson is Dave Wilson’s cousin, voters might have believed the Ron Wilson being referenced was a former longtime state representative from Houston who is black.

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