This article marks the third installment in a multi-part series on the prosecution of The Woodlands RUD voters. Part one outlined the key points of the case against Jim Jenkins and part two explained how Adrian Heath learned of the RUD’s existence, its level of bond indebtedness, and the 1991 legislation that created this special district. Today’s chapter explains how Adrian Heath gathered information about the RUD board, the qualifications for becoming a board director and the 2004 Election Law Advisory Opinion GSC-1.
Adrian contacted then (but now retired) Woodlands Township board member Tom Campbell. Claiming to have limited knowledge of the RUD, Tom suggested Adrian contact Mike Page of Schwartz, Page & Harding L.L.P. According to the firm’s website, Mike:
“currently represents, and has since inception, all of the municipal utility districts in The Woodlands, together with other special districts and authorities within or overlapping The Woodlands, including the San Jacinto River Authority, The Woodlands Joint Powers Agency, The Woodlands Road Utility District No. 1, and The Woodlands Township.”
Through Page’s office Adrian learned the RUD had five directors with three of them up for (re)-election. Adrian filed an open records request with Carol Gaultney, the Montgomery County Elections Administrator, for a “copy of any communications or requests for voter lists or other elections information received from the political subdivision known as Woodlands Road Utility District # 1 or their representative.”
Here is a screen grab of that request (PID redacted)
Adrian subsequently received a communication from the Montgomery County Elections Administrator explaining “this office has never received any communication or requests for voter lists or other election information from the Woodlands Road Utility District #1 or any representative.” (PID redacted)
Adrian requested applications to file for a place on the ballot and received a call from Mike Page. In his message, Mike Page explained Adrian was welcome to apply for a place on the ballot but although the WRUD was required to post notices of an election each year, and although there might be a contested election this time, there would be no election in 2010 because there were zero residents in the district.
On March 9th, 2010 Adrian receives an email from Page:
“since there are no residents in the District, there is no document that is responsive to your request for a list enumerating any residents or voters whose registered address is inside the District.”
Here is a screen grab of that email:
In the course of confirming the statement of zero residents in the RUD, Adrian read a report on the Texas residence law and called the Texas Secretary of State Elections Division. Assistant General Counsel for the Texas SOSED confirmed Texas voter residence laws leave “residence” to the discretion of the voter. Adrian acquired a copy of the January 22, 2004 Election Law Opinion GSC-1, which had been hand delivered to Governor Rick Perry.
Next: Adrian turns his attention to the about-to-be cancelled election, obtains a voter list from the Woodlands Township and ponders, in a republican form of government, the RUD’s responsibility to hold an election.