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Monday, July 14, 2014

Attorney's opinion sought on civil service commissioner residency

Posted By on Mon, Jul 14, 2014 at 11:07 AM

Over the weekend I wrote about questions raised about the residency of Little Rock Civil Service Commissioner Brett Morgan, a critical vote in the bare-minimum four-vote majority that voted to overturn the recommended suspension and firing of police Lt. David Hudson for beating a restaurant customer while Hudson was working on a private security job in 2011.

Morgan, in a series of e-mails, said he was a Little Rock resident and thus serving legally. He counts his father's home in Chenal Valley as one of his homes for residency and voting purposes. However, tax records show Morgan has a homestead property tax exemption on the house he owns in Scott, a rural community east of North Little Rock. His father is listed as the owner, with both a homestead and over-65 tax benefits, on the home in Chenal.

The Arkansas Assessment Coordination Division says:

Homeowners in Arkansas may receive up to a $350 property tax credit on their homesteads. Eligibility for the credit is confined to a homeowner's principle place of residence. A homeowner is defined as someone who the owner of record, by deed or by recorded sales contract, or the beneficiary of a revocable trust owning the homestead.

Joe Morgan is the owner of record on deeds and mortgages and assessment records related to the Chenal home, but Brett Morgan said he is a joint owner of that and other homes with his father.

City Manager Bruce Moore said an "expedited legal opinion" on the residency question was requested this morning. City Attorney Tom Carpenter said he was busy in depositions today and it would likely take several days for the opinion to be completed.

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