Sandi Jackson launched her political career from the South Side home she shared with Jesse Jackson Jr., paid the sewer and water bills while her husband was in prison — and let her sister stay in the house for “extended periods.”
And all that is evidence that the couple’s increasingly contentious divorce case should be heard in Chicago, Jesse Jackson’s lawyers contend.
Jesse Jackson Jr.’s lawyers contend that Chicago is his estranged wife’s home only when it was “advantageous to her political career.”
“While Ms. Jackson may now choose to live in our nation’s capital, we contend that under Illinois law, she continues to be subject to the jurisdiction of our courts,” said Brendan Hammer, Jesse Jackson Jr.’s lawyer. “This city may not be sweet home Chicago any longer — but it still has a valid legal basis to subject Ms. Jackson to the justice of its court system.”
Jesse Jackson Jr.’s attorneys are trying to get the divorce case heard in Chicago — where they allege “acts” occurred that gave rise to the divorce. Sandi Jackson, however, wants the case heard in Washington D.C., where she is living with their two children, ages 13 and 16.
The motion filed on Tuesday argues that mortgage payments, real estate taxes, utilities, insurance and maintenance of the home have been paid for through marital funds — from when the couple purchased the home in 1994 to the present.
The filing claims that since 2013 Sandi Jackson used the home when she was in town, and also made payments to the home — including water, sewer and garbage expenses — when Jesse Jackson Jr. was incarcerated. It also claims that Sandi’s sister has stayed at the home for “extended periods.”
The motion claims Sandi Jackson used the home address when she ran for Chicago alderman in 2007 and in 2011 — and that her campaign committee, the Friends of Sandi Jackson, registered the Chicago home with the Illinois State Board of Elections.
“Sandra has enjoyed the possession, ownership, use and/or enjoyment of the Chicago Residence from its purchase in 1994 through the present,” Hammer writes in the filing.
“When it was required for her to run for office two times and was advantageous for her political career — former Alderman Jackson embraced as her home the City of Chicago, the 7th Ward and the house on 72nd Street,” Hammer said in a statement. “Now, it seems, a house is not a home — as Ms. Jackson continues to assert that this city, county and state have no jurisdiction over her.”
Hammer said he hopes the motion proves that Jackson owns, possesses and uses real estate in Chicago.
Sandi Jackson’s attorney could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.
Both Jacksons were listed on the home’s mortgage, which has since been paid off. The home was also listed in living trusts the couple established in 2008.
A judge in Washington, D.C., last week ordered Jesse Jackson Jr.’s child support payments reduced by $1,200 — a court victory that his estranged wife’s lawyer said “shocked” Sandi Jackson and demonstrated the former congressman’s “unwillingness to make sure his kids are having what they need.”
Jesse Jackson Jr.’s attorney, in turn, argued that the former congressman has and always will support his children — “whether a court orders that or not.”
In the couple’s Chicago case, a Cook County judge last month ruled that former Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy and two other former police officers don’t have to respond to subpoenas issued by Jesse Jackson Jr.’s attorneys in Chicago. Lawyers for the targets of the subpoenas say their clients have nothing to do with the case.
Cook County Judge Carole Bellows said she first wants to resolve the issue of whether the case should be heard in Chicago or Washington, D.C.
A court hearing is scheduled for March 21 in the D.C. case and April 3 for the Chicago case. Jesse Jackson Jr. — who still lives in the family’s Chicago home — has filed court papers in D.C. to be able to appear for the March 21 hearing via telephone.
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.