Sandi Jackson admits her career as an alderman gives her a historic connection to Chicago. But she says she knows little about any payment of utilities, mortgage or other bills linked to the South Shore home she once shared with Jesse Jackson Jr.
And while she did let her sister stay in the home for a time, Sandi Jackson has not called Chicago home since 2013.
Those are among the arguments the former South Side alderman made in answer to her now estranged husband’s claim that their contentious divorce case should be heard in Chicago.
Sandi Jackson wants the case heard in Washington, D.C.
In divorce documents filed Friday, Sandi Jackson claims the South Side home the couple once shared isn’t their marital home and shouldn’t be used as proof the case should be heard here – while denying claims she still uses the home when in Chicago and that her political career as alderman was “organized” at the home.
Sandi Jackson had until Friday to answer her estranged husband’s argument that Sandi Jackson’s political history and ties to the South Shore home were sufficient evidence that Chicago was the proper venue for their case.
Her husband cited her political history, payment of utility and other bills while he was in prison and that she let her sister stay in the house for “extended periods” as proof of her ties to Chicago.
Sandi Jackson “admits that her sister temporarily resided in the Chicago Residence for a brief time in 2007 and moved into the residence in August 2o12 for a period of time,” according to the filing.
But Sandi Jackson denies claims she herself used the Chicago home since 2013, when in the city. She said bills were “directed to her in error” at the Chicago home, saying the majority of bills for the home were sent to their D.C. residence.
“Sandra lacks personal knowledge sufficient to either admit or deny the allegations that from 1994 through present, the mortgage payments, real estate taxes, utilities, insurance, upkeep and maintenance have all been paid for the Chicago Residence from marital funds on a consistent and uninterrupted basis,” her lawyers argue in the latest filing, adding that Jesse Jackson Jr. hasn’t provided any evidence of the source of the payments.
In the initial motion Jesse Jackson Jr. filed on March 14, the former congressman accused Sandi Jackson of claiming Chicago is home only when it was “advantageous to her political career.”
In the latest filing, Sandi Jackson denies that her campaign committee for alderman was organized at the home and denies that it receives mailing there.
“Sandra affirmatively states that Jesse attempts to confuse the issues in this case by summarizing facts regarding Sandra’s historic connections to Illinois which bear no relation to the issue before this Court,” Sandi Jackson’s attorney Jessica Bank Interlandi wrote in the filing.
Interlandi writes that the cause of action for the divorce didn’t arise out of any historic use of the Chicago home by Sandi, and the use of the house “even if true does not establish a matrimonial domicile.”
In an affidavit, Sandi Jackson states that the former political couple’s two children — ages 13 and 16 — have lived in Washington, D.C., since birth. Jackson Jr. lived in D.C. from Nov. 2012 until Sept. 2016 — with the exception of the time he was incarcerated, the filing says.
Sandi Jackson says she has lived in D.C. since 2013 — and lived in Alderson, West Virginia, when she was incarcerated from October 2015 until September 2016.
“During my incarceration, I always intended to return to my permanent residence in Washington, D.C., and since September 2016, I have resided in the marital residence in Washington D.C. with our minor children,” she said in the filing.
The former couple also own a condominium in Washington, D.C.
Sandi Jackson, too, says she has no evidence that she is the beneficiary of the Jesse Living Trust — something her estranged husband’s attorneys claimed in their initial motion.
Jesse Jackson Jr.’s Chicago attorney Brendan Hammer on Friday said Sandi Jackson’s response shows their initial motion claiming ties to Chicago is “well-founded in both law and fact.”
“Ms. Jackson’s Response is both cryptic and yet quite revealing in what it says, how it says it, what it does not say and the spaces between them all,” Hammer said in a statement. “We very soon will decide whether any formal Reply is even warranted.”
Jesse Jackson Jr. has said he and his estranged wife are $1.8 million in debt thanks to legal bills from their federal criminal prosecution and mounting fees from an acrimonious divorce playing out in courtrooms in two cities.
The former couple have already sparred over child support payments in the D.C. case. A judge on April 13 increased Jackson Jr.’s child support payments — resolving a dispute that had Sandi Jackson’s attorney accusing the former congressman of not prioritizing his children and his side staunchly denying that claim.
The order means Jackson Jr. will pay $1,520 a month for his two children as the divorce saga continues in both cities.
The Chicago case will be heard again on April 28, the same date that Jesse Jackson Jr. is expected to appear for a hearing in the divorce case in Washington, D.C.
Both Jacksons pleaded guilty in August 2013 to various schemes relating to the looting of his congressional campaign fund. The former South Side 7th Ward alderman and the former 2nd Congressional District lawmaker each went to prison for diverting $750,000 from campaign funds for their personal use between 2005 and 2012.