HPISD Investigates Candidate’s Residency

Wait, what? So HPISD is investigating the residency of Mayor Mike Rawlings’ former chief of staff and Dallas City Council District 10 candidate Adam McGough. Why, you ask? McGough’s kids have attended HPISD schools, but he is running for a Lake Highlands seat within Dallas city limits — not HP. Here’s a map of the District 10 boundaries.

HPISD’s Helen Williams has confirmed that the school district is looking into the candidate’s residency issue — Lake Highlands Advocate has the full story. Apparently, McGough claims to have maintained and lived in a Lake Highlands home, while his wife and children were living in HP and the children attended school there. Most recently, the children have attended Scofield Christian School in Lake Highlands.

No record of a residence owned by Adam McGough or Lacy McGough is available on the Dallas County Central Appraisal District website.

13 thoughts on “HPISD Investigates Candidate’s Residency

  • February 18, 2015 at 12:25 pm
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    You’ve downplayed the story quite a bit. On LH Advocate and other sources:
    – McGough and wife have 3 younger kids
    – they have a 4 BR house in LH. As a prosecutor, he is able to “mask” his ownership in DCAD for security purposes.
    – they own a 1 bedroom condo in the Crestpark
    – the condo is Bradfield; the LH home is Northlake Elementary in Richardson ISD
    – McGough and wife signed homestead exemption for his LH house (meaning that it is his and her primary residence)
    – He transferred his kids from Bradfield to a private school, Scofield, in December 2014, just before announcing his city council candidacy
    – He alleges that he and his wife lived separate for these past years, he in the 4 BR LH house and she with the first 2 kids and pregnant with the 3rd in the 1 BR Crestpark condo

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  • February 19, 2015 at 11:41 am
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    This is a serious story that needs further digging! I really don’t care about the election since we live in the Park Cities, but if this guy was breaking the law by having his kids attend HPISD schools, how many others are doing the same thing? Maybe that is why the HPISD school system continues to grow and grow? This “cheating the system” needs to be brought under control before the district takes on more debt and construction!!! What is the district doing to prevent this behavior? Asking for a utility bill or two once a year is not enough.

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  • February 19, 2015 at 1:43 pm
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    I had kids in HP schools for years and met only a few who seemed like they were gaming the system. Probably equal to the number who faked DISD to get their kids into Booker T.
    University Park announced that it issued 200 construction permits in the last two years. All these huge new houses are the reason for increasing enrollments.

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  • February 19, 2015 at 4:00 pm
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    This is a VERY big deal and I’m happy HPISD is investigating. The Texas Education Code allows HPISD to press civil charges to recoup tuition to the tune of about $50 per day per child for false enrollment. But that amounts to only about $8000 per child per year–far less than parents would pay in tuition at quality private schools. So even if they nail McGough for back-pay of tuition for 2-3 years, it is just a slap on the wrist and does little to discourage others from pulling the same scam in the future. That’s whu I think HPISD should use its power under the Texas Penal Code to also press criminal fraud charges. Given that Adam McGough is a lawyer, I wonder what the State Bar of Texas would have to say if one of their members is convicted of criminal fraud. Disbarment, maybe? Now THAT would be a real deterrent if HPISD ever had the guts to do it! But they probably don’t…so more and more non-resident parents will probably continue to roll the dice and try not to get caught.

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  • February 19, 2015 at 5:29 pm
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    Here is a recently released excellent article in Vanity Fair about the Fall 2014 Ebola crisis: http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/02/ebola-us-dallas-epidemic. What does Ebola have to do with McGough? Well, as Chief of Staff to Dallas Mayor Rawlings, he was involved and is quoted as being worried about his children. Why would you worry about your children if you are living separately. The money quote though:
    -quote
    McGough,
    meanwhile, returned home to find his wife sitting in the van in their
    driveway with their three children. Their power was out. “I can’t touch
    y’all,” he said when she got out, explaining what had happened. … Minutes later he
    found himself standing in his darkened garage, stripping off his
    clothes, while his sons, aged seven and six, trained flashlights on him.
    Once naked, he scrubbed himself with the alcohol wipes the family used
    on the boys’ infant sister. “I knew this was ridiculous,” McGough says
    today. “But at the same time, I needed to take every step to alleviate
    my family’s concerns. And mine.”

    -unquote

    There is more. Read the article.

    Also, my kids estimate one or two out of ten kids live outside of the district. Even if just one in ten, in percentage terms, that’s 10%.

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  • February 19, 2015 at 6:26 pm
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    Residency rules differ for tax exemptions and public schools and voting and in-state college tuition, etc. Claiming a homestead exemption for the RISD house does not necessarily mean the Bradfield student could not meet HPISD residency requirements. I have no idea whether he did, or how many nights each week he spent at the condo. I’m sure HPISD will figure it out, just as I’m sure several families with big houses on the other side of Central and small condos or apartments in HPISD are sweating it out right now. Many of them, maybe even the McGoughs, think they are within the rules. After all, keeping a small HPISD abode is far from cheap.

    For years, it seemed like families didn’t need to hide where they really lived. For example, the district enrolled kids who lived elsewhere while their Park Cities houses were being built. But that was before capacity became as big an issue, back when every additional student just meant more money from the state for HPISD.

    This story reminds me of our Congressman, Pete Sessions, who in 1995 moved to an M Street and sent his son to the desirable Stonewall Jackson Elementary, even though his DISD address was assigned to the less desirable Robert E. Lee. All it took was an unknowing or sympathetic registrar at Stonewall. Sessions insisted he didn’t know he was cheating. So just don’t be too hard on McGough. Fudging on school assignments must not be a big deal. Didn’t seem to slow Sessions’ rise to power. (Nor did his close ties to embezzler Allen Stanford or his fundraiser in a Vegas burlesque club or his opting to attend a fundraiser rather than his own swearing in for the 2011 Congress. Peach of a guy.)

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  • February 19, 2015 at 9:28 pm
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    I doubt that 10% live outside the district. The directories list just about everyone’s addresses. Until my kids could drive, we knew where everyone lived, which wasn’t that many years ago, and most lived in houses or duplexes. A few lived at The Shelton, and, occasionally, in an apartment. With a tiny house costing $750,000, and the number of old apartments being torn down, it’s hard to believe this is as prevalent as people say.

    Regardless, it is wrong to claim residency fraudulently, and we should hold people accountable.

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  • February 20, 2015 at 1:47 pm
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    HPISD has had first hand knowledge and proof of several kids I am aware of not living in the district and they continued to let the kids attend

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  • February 20, 2015 at 2:25 pm
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    Thanks for your comments, everyone, and please keep them coming. We’ll do some further checking into this issue and let you know what we find out.

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    • February 28, 2015 at 9:18 pm
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      What have you found out so far?

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    • April 23, 2015 at 1:20 pm
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      Found anything? This is getting ridiculous! Our kids suffer b/c of dishonest folks like them. Hopefully rumors are true and school did make guy pay.

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  • April 23, 2015 at 12:58 pm
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    Sarah, your Lake Highlands neighbors thank you for your past reporting and are reaching out in the hopes you can help us again. Last Friday, as posted in the LH Advocate, HPISD sent McGough a letter stating it would “take no further action” in its investigation. Following that article, Candy’s Dirt published an article that actually showed Oncor’s billing to the McGough HP address, which was purportedly the HP “residence” for Lacy and the three kids during the school year. According to the article, the source of the information was Oncor.

    http://candysdirt.com/…/vote-another-update-adam-mcgough/

    If anyone doesn’t have time to read the article, the time period reported was April 2014-April 2015. Apparently the McGough family is the most energy efficient of all time because their electric bill more than $30 on one occassion. That one month time-period was June 2014 (after the school year). During the other 11 months, the McGough family paid Oncor between $22 to $28 per month.

    While our dispute/concern with McGough is based on different circumstance, we all need to know the truth. I am reaching out to you in the hopes you will follow-up with HPISD personnel. I have been hearing far too many rumors that “no additional action” by HPISD means it wasn’t necessary because McGough paid HPISD a lump-sum amount. If so, we all deserve to know the truth. HPISD residents so you can confirm your school district performed its duties as promised to each of you. LH residents because this would be an admission by McGough that he has directly lied to each of us for the past 4 months. We all need to know the truth and because you have upheld the highest journalistic standard throughout this issue, your Lake Highlands neighbors are asking you to support your community and we as your neighbors.

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  • April 23, 2015 at 5:59 pm
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    LH Advocate reports that HPISD has decided to not move forward. Any idea or report on just what that means? Did they find that he or his wife violated the residency requirement?

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