Jacque Patterson. Photo by Darrow Montgomery.

Jacque Patterson, a candidate for the single at-large seat on the D.C. State Board of Education, continues to face questions about where he lives.

Patterson owns two homes, one in D.C. and the other in Maryland. He’s repeatedly defended himself against internet sleuths’ and a fellow candidate’s accusations that he actually lives in his Maryland property. The strongest piece of evidence are Patterson’s public tax records, which show his “principal residence” in Prince George’s County.

It’s been the topic of conversation among local education advocates on Twitter, and the subject of an October thread on the DC Urban Moms and Dads forum. In a phone interview with City Paper earlier this month, Patterson sounded frustrated by the accusations. He went as far as to suggest that the questioning “sounds a little racist.”

The 55-year-old candidate has repeatedly defended himself online, as recently as Tuesday afternoon, after one of his opponents, Mysiki Valentine, tweeted his frustration that the issue hasn’t drawn more media attention. Patterson says he’s paid income taxes in D.C., as well as voted and registered his car in the city, since he bought his home in Southeast D.C. in 1999. His two elementary-age children attend DCPS schools.

City Paper reviewed screenshots of Patterson’s Form 1040 (a tax form used for personal federal income tax), driver license, voter registration card, and utility bills. The personal information that Patterson provided via text message all cite his address in Southeast D.C. City Paper also independently verified Patterson’s voter registration on the DC Board of Elections website.

The accusations are serious. To hold elected office in D.C., an individual needs to be “a bona fide resident of the District of Columbia continuously since the beginning of the 90-day period ending on the date of the next election,” according to local law. The DC Board of Elections verifies residency based on voter registration.

“A person cannot run for office in DC without being a registered DC voter, and one has to be a DC resident to register in the City,” a DCBOE spokesperson told City Paper via email when asked how the department determined Patterson’s place of residence. 

Prince George’s County Property Tax Inquiry and Bill Payment System has listed Patterson’s Upper Marlboro house, which was built in 2016, as his “principal residence” since 2017/2018. According to the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation website, a person’s “’principal residence’ is the one dwelling where the homeowner regularly resides and is the location designated by the owner for the legal purposes of voting, obtaining a driver’s license, and filing income tax returns.”

The tax filings show that Patterson does not claim the Homestead Deduction on the Upper Marlboro property. This would be a generous tax break had he taken advantage of it. The only perk Patterson appears to have taken advantage of is splitting his payments in 2020/2021. According to Maryland, “Semiannual payments are offered for owner-occupied residential property only.” Patterson says he was not aware that he made split payments until this reporter asked. He also claims he did not know he declared his “principal residence” in Maryland until critics started asking questions.

“It doesn’t speak to the facts of where I pay all my taxes,” Patterson tells City Paper of the “principal residence” declaration. “Because I made a mistake on a piece of paper, we are trying to say what … guess where I lay my head?”

He says his older daughter struggled to find affordable housing within D.C. and lives in the Upper Marlboro house. He says that other extended family members “who have fallen on hard times” also stay at the property.  

“It’s a little angering,” he says. “Because it is political, that is how this is coming out.”

A representative from Maryland’s Department of Assessments and Taxation confirms that Patterson requested to update his tax information on Oct. 6, although a quick search still finds his Upper Marlboro property listed as his “principal residence.” 

Patterson is the chief community engagement and growth officer at KIPP DC, the largest charter school network in the city. While it has minimal power due to mayoral control of schools, the elected school board has come to symbolize the direction of education in D.C. Many of Patterson’s critics have come to support Valentine, who wants to invest more in traditional public schools so students don’t have to travel outside their neighborhood for quality education.