Aransas County Democratic Clubhouse

The official blog of the Aransas County Democratic Club.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Gene Seaman: Double Trouble

Seems Gene has, according to the Caller (Membership required), been paying his wife rent with campaign funds for a condo she owns in Austin. While it is legal for campaign to be used to pay rent, it seems that Seaman went out of his way to hide where the money was really going.

The rent checks, according to Seaman's finance reports, were made out to Austin Land Co., which is listed at the same address as the condo he is renting. Yet as of Friday afternoon, there was no Austin Land Co. with offices at that address, and the Texas Secretary of State did not have a record of a company by that name currently operating in the state.

Instead, the money has been going to Seaman's wife, Ellen, who is listed on Travis County tax rolls as the sole owner of the condo, Seaman's spokesman Mac McCall said.

It is against the law to use campaign donations for personal gain. That would be the case if Mrs. Seaman's real estate business is bogus. But there's more. Seems that homestead and over-65 exemptions were claimed for both properties.

Unless Gene and Ellen Seaman were divorced or legally separated, they could not legally have the two sets of exemptions, said Nueces County Assistant Chief Appraiser Michael Mantz.

Seaman spokesman, Mac McCall, says these problems are all just paperwork snafus. However:

To qualify for each of the exemptions, the property owner fills out a form and signs a sworn statement on the application. False statements are punishable as a Class A misdemeanor or state jail felony, depending on the circumstances, according to appraisal district officials and a disclaimer at the bottom of the exemption form.

It just seems clear, in my opinion, that the Seamans have made an effort to hide what they were really up to. But then again, they are Republicans.


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