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Chron raises questions about Al Hoang’s residency and campaign finance reports

The main question I have is why is this story just being published now, on Christmas Eve, and not before either of the elections?

Houston City Councilman-elect Al Hoang and his wife claimed homestead exemptions on two separate homes, according to public records that also raise questions about whether Hoang meets the city’s residency requirements.

[…]

In addition, Hoang’s campaign finance reports filed prior to the Nov. 3 election and Dec. 12 runoff fail to include certain required elements, including the dates of donations and the occupations of donors who gave more than $500 in a reporting period. The omissions are so numerous that it is impossible to determine whether donations were reported multiple times or exceeded legal limits.

I’ll point out that I noted various incongruities on Hoang’s finance reports, such as the lack of dates and the double-reporting of expenses as in kind donations, on November 2 and again on December 9. I didn’t go into a great deal of detail because I didn’t have the time or the resources to dig deeper. But surely these issues were known beforehand. And Greg brought up the matter of Hoang’s residency in a post dated December 11, though it was actually published on the 13th. So again I ask, why are we just now reading about this in the Chron? Isn’t this something that ought to have been aired before the election?

A city ordinance requires candidates for district council positions to live in the district for a year prior to the election. When he filed for office Aug. 18, Hoang listed his address as 4403 Bugle, in District F, and signed a notarized statement saying he had lived in the district for 13 months.

Harris County Appraisal District records show that Hoang purchased the home on March 3. Voter registration records show he was registered at an address in District G until September, and his registration at the Bugle address took effect Oct. 16 — less than three weeks before the election.

Hoang claims a homestead exemption for the house on Bugle, records show. Hoang’s wife, Hang Nguyen, also claims a homestead exemption on a house listed in her name in Pearland, according to Brazoria County Appraisal District records. Hoang and his wife owned the home jointly until March 5, 2008, when he transferred the deed to her, the records show.

This is the same basic situation that sunk Jack Christie’s candidacy in 2007. Like Christie, I presume Hoang will eventually have to fork over some dough to make up for the extra homestead exemption. I presume the DA will not bring charges, since that sort of prosecution never seems to happen. What I want to know is, if all this is true, how can he be sworn in as the District F Council Member? What’s the point of a residency statute if it can be so easily flouted? I’ve said before and I’ll say again, residency isn’t that big an issue for me. If people want to elect someone who doesn’t live where they do to represent them, that’s their choice. But that’s assuming they know that about the candidate in question, which may or may not be the case here, and given that we have a law about this, then surely we ought to draw a line somewhere. Is there a remedy in the ordinance for this, or is it simply a matter of Hoang paying up on his taxes? If the latter is all that there is, then what’s the point of the residency requirement?

UPDATE: Martha has more.

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8 Comments

  1. John says:

    Chron is worthless you need to lead them and paraphrase the story for anything of substance to be written. Just like Ron Green (I know you like him Kuff) but I am just amazed you can elect at tax cheat as controller. Any CPA will tell you once a lien is field you have been found (and admitted) to being guilty. Remember how Green said he would have this settled by now, strange we have not heard from him yet. just another dishonest politician

  2. Burt Levine says:

    Anyone that uses the name Ron as opposed to Ronald to describe the Controller-elect already shows unfamiliarity, disdain/disrespect b/c his preference is Ronald.

  3. John says:

    sorry Ronald then, so Burt please defend not paying your taxes and lying to the public that it is a dispute. Because when you get a lien placed on your home and business that is pretty far along in the process. Ronald I bet has never seen excel nor does he know how to read a balance sheet. What a joke he will be in this position.

  4. houtopia says:

    “John” – it is obvious you’re continuing to read from the negative campaign script of Ronald’s opponents, rather than offering any substantive analysis. In fact, I’ll bet you’re reading “tax cheat” right off MJ Khan’s mailers or from his commercial from the runoff. News flash — your guy lost. Get over it.

    A real investigation of the situation would tell you that the IRS issue stems from 2003, when Ronald neglected to report income from a settled case for which he did not receive a 1099. Did he make a mistake? Absolutely, and he’s said as much. He was a 32 year-old, relatively new lawyer at the time. Seven years later, Ronald is older and wiser. He is in the final stages of negotiation with the IRS, and the matter will be resolved very soon.

    Most people who run for office fall short of perfection. For example, Pam Holm was investigated by the district attorney for illegally using a member of her City Council staff to do campaign work. She had to pay back money to make the problem go away. MJ Khan tried to use his position on Council to profit from an affordable housing deal on a piece of property he owned, ended up being sued for conflict of interest, and ran the Pakistan Association into bankruptcy when he was its president. Do those facts equally disqualify them from being worthy of the Controller position?

  5. John says:

    Matter will be resolved soon?? How long will that take. Also the mistake of blaming not getting a 1099 is pretty weak. If someone pays me money usually at the end of the yr I remember to pay taxes on that money.

    Yes I think the controller’s race this yr was who is least bad, but I think Khan is the most intelligent. But I do know the story about his affordable housing

    I will bet you $5,000 to charity of choice that Ronald has not paid this off in 2 months. He told us in the runoff he would have it done by election day. that seemed to come and go

  6. houtopia says:

    As for resolving it, the ball is currently in the IRS’s court. He cannot control that timetable.

  7. John says:

    My point exactly, Ronald is not negotiating with the IRS. They are telling him to pay $120K (give or take) he can’t resolve that dispute to a lower number. Hence the lien on the house he can either pay the fine or watch his home get sold

  8. […] On Christmas Eve, the Chron reported that Council Member-Elect Al Hoang and his wife had claimed homestead exemptions on two separate houses, one in Houston and one in Pearland. Now the Harris County Appraisal District has verified Hoang’s explanation about the exemptions, saying that it was properly carried over from the previous owner. Hoang had previously refused to answer questions about the homestead exemption. But in an e-mail to the Chronicle on Monday, Hoang said he never sought an exemption for the home on Bugle that he now claims as his residence within District F, which he soon will represent. […]