Back Taxes Raises Questions of Eligibility for Council

DUNCANVILLE, TX – This week the Suburban Newspaper received the following Letter to the Editor:

Dear District 5 Voters,
One of the citizens of District 5 discovered and forwarded the link revealing that Frances Rizo, the opponent in the District 5 City Council election who lives at 603 Woodhaven Blvd., has not paid any property taxes on the house she lists as her residence since 2000. That is over 16 years of nonpayment. This leaves a balance with Dallas County of $186,073.92 in back taxes. She is one of 6 siblings and she is specifically named as a defendant in the tax foreclosure lawsuit. The judgement has been determined and the foreclosure auction sale for her house is set for June 6, 2017. This date is exactly one month after the Duncanville City Council election.
Rizzo, if elected, would vote on your tax rate, vote on the city budget, and oversee your tax dollars when she has neglected to be responsible for her own household.
Frances Rizo does not have the character or integrity to be our representative on the City Council for District 5. Her fiscal irresponsibility cannot be tolerated on our City Council.
The choice is more critical now. We must reelect our Councilmember Johnette Jameson. -Nancy Bell

After being contacted by The Suburban Newspaper, Ms. Rizo responded as follows:

“I am not the owner of record on the property I reside in and have not been. Therefore, I do not owe back taxes and am not being sued. The Central Appraisal District has admitted they made a “clerical error” and did not process an affidavit from 2006 which they now show as sole ownership by another sibling – the county tax office will also show this. The fact that I am not the owner of record is verifiable by checking with the Appraisal District. The taxes owed are of great family concern and will be addressed within the family. My family is not a topic for this campaign except for the fact that my grandchildren’s and great-grandchildren’s future is in Duncanville and I will continue to invest in the future along with them.
Thank you for your interest in this important District 5 city council.”

The Suburban Newspaper searched Dallas County records and could not find a foreclosure auction sale for the home on 603 Woodhaven Blvd for June 6, 2017. Upon reviewing courts records concerning this case it was found that the case is still open, a final judgement has not been determined, and Ms. Rizo is listed as a defendant in the case. The case is set for a non-jury trial on October 31, 2017 at 10:05 am. Dallas County appraisal district shows the owner of the property as Bartolo T Contreras Jr.
The Suburban also contacted the City of Duncanville concerning this issue and City Manager Kevin Hugman responded as follows:

“When I was made aware of a question concerning whether owed taxes affected a candidate’s eligibility to run for City Council, I contacted the City Attorney. He has verified that the City Charter is silent to that requirement. Section 2.02 of the Charter lists the qualifications for candidacy. I have asked for an opinion letter from the City Attorney and expect that later this week”.

The Suburban Newspaper will keep you up-to-date as the story develops.