OKLAHOMA CITY — Is it a misuse or unfair use of taxpayer dollars? Last weekend, the governor revealed several of her adult children are living at the Governor’s mansion.
In the case of the governor’s 28-year-old daughter, she’s actually driven a travel trailer onto the property for a place to stay.
A viewer wrote us, asking, “Is it true that Mary Fallin’s daughter is living in a trailer on the Governor’s mansion property? That is state property! Who is paying her bills? Oklahoma taxpayers?”
We flew over the property to see if it was, in fact, true.
A view from above shows there is a trailer connected to the mansion, meaning tax payers are likely footing those utility bills.
The governor’s office would not go on camera for an interview, but a spokesperson admits the RV has been there since April.
The governor’s office told us, by phone, they believe it is perfectly acceptable for Christina Fallin to live with her mom and for one of her step-brothers to be living in an apartment over the garage on the property.
They say Christina’s arrangement is just temporary until she finds a better place. Her step-brother is said to also just temporarily be living there, since he was recently engaged.
We did some digging and found that if this trailer were on any other property in Oklahoma City, it would be a code violation.
According to Oklahoma City city code, travel trailers cannot be used as a dwelling for more than 14 days in any calendar year. They are also only allowed to temporarily be connected to a home’s electrical hookups.
From a bird’s-eye view, it appears Christina’s trailer is connected to more than just electrical, and as stated earlier, it has been there since April – well over 14 days.
However, despite being in Oklahoma City, the mansion is exempt from city code because the grounds are governed by the state, meaning Christina’s living arrangement is legal.
The governor’s office says Governor Fallin is enjoying the extra time with her daughter and her husband’s children. Their time together is hard to come by when they live farther apart. They also point out this is not an unusual arrangement.
They say previous governors have also allowed their adult children to live there. They specifically pointed to Chip Keating.
We called former Governor Frank Keating to see if that was true.
The former governor said Chip lived there through high school, and when he went to college, he would occasionally come back and stay for brief periods of time during the summer.
The former governor adds Chip was not a “working adult” at any point while staying at the mansion.
On Tuesday, Gov. Mary Fallin appeared on NewsChannel 4 to talk about the issue.
Fallin says she is very pro-family and wanted to help her daughter, who is in-between living arrangements.
“My daughter, a couple of months ago, came to me and said she was in-between living arrangements. She does have a very nice trailer that she bought, but her place wasn’t ready yet to put it somewhere. And so, I told her, I said, ‘You can park it in the back of this lot, not seen to the public eye and store it there.’ She travels a lot so she’s not home a lot, but that’s where she’s had it,” Fallin said.
She says she appreciates the viewers questioning whether or not the trailer was in violation of city code.
Fallin says she asked her staff to look and see if there were any state codes or ordinances that specifically talked about trailers.
The Capitol Medical Center Improvement Zoning Commission does state that you cannot have a trailer on state property in a certain area, which includes the governor’s mansion.
“It never dawned on me that a mansion, a governor’s mansion, might be on a Capitol medical zone, so we’re gonna remove the trailer by this Sunday and she’s going to make other living arrangements,” Fallin said.
We checked the mansion grounds on Monday, and the trailer has indeed been moved.