News6 Investigates

Actions

6 Investigates: Corpus Christi mayoral candidate residency

John Wright
Posted at 1:27 PM, Oct 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-17 23:29:41-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Early voting is a week away and, by law, candidates for Corpus Christi City Council must have lived in Corpus Christi for at least six months, and Texas for 12 months at the time the application for a place on the ballot is submitted.

When 6 Investigates reviewed applications for candidates who had applied to serve on the Corpus Christi City Council, one application raised questions.

John Wright, who is running for mayor against incumbent Paulette Guajardo, claims to have lived in Corpus Christi for nearly six years.

However, his application lists a UPS Store as his residential address.

KRIS 6 News asked Wright about his application and the use of the UPS Store.

"You can't use a UPS Store as your address," KRIS 6 News' Bryann Hofmann said to Wright.

"Yes you can, it's legal — you can't use a P.O. Box," Wright responded.

"Yours is just the UPS Store, which you are saying is a PO Box?" Hofmann asked.

"Yes," Wright responded.

On the application to run for office, it states candidates must provide a residential address, and that a candidate cannot include a PO Box or rural route.

"On record, you live here, you have lived here for six months, you do have a physical mailing address that is not the UPS Store?" Hofmann asked.

"That's the only address I've been using is the post office or UPS Store because I have a trucking company, I had a trucking company. I work all over the country," Wright said.

Wright's response didn't answer the question of whether he has an actual residence in Corpus Christi.

When asked why he put that address on his application, he said he did so because he thought he could.

6 Investigates asked for documentation from Wright proving he lives in Corpus Christi. He said he would provide it to Corpus Christi City Secretary Rebecca Huerta.

We've checked with Huerta and that documentation has not been provided.

Even if it had, Texas law would prohibit her from accepting an amendment to his original application. The address provided on the first application is the only one used.

So, the residential address Wright provided cannot be changed, and a signed affidavit obtained by 6 Investigates states the UPS Store isn't a residence.

Normally, statements made on an application for a place on the ballot are taken at face value unless a challenge is made against it, which is what Guajardo did.

Only then can an investigation begin.

But, in this case, Huerta's hands are tied, because of existing state law, she cannot look into the address further.

"Residency can only be proven in a court of law, it's fact-based is what it's called, so a court has to determine to look at the terms of residency of that person, it's very specific," Huerta said.

6 Investigates also reached out to the Texas Secretary of State about this matter.

The filing authority must accept the applicant's sworn affirmation regarding the location of the applicant's residence, and can only challenge the location of the applicant's residence in a court of law.
Secretary of State

There is no court challenge to Wright's residency and with early voting a week away, his name will remain on the ballot.

Holiday Special Section