EXCLUSIVE AUDIO: Tax Collector Incoherent at Public Meeting

tax collector
Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector Wendy Burgess | Image by Wendy Burgess

An audio recording of a meeting between Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector Wendy Burgess and Tarrant Appraisal District officials has Burgess slurring her words and repeatedly making unintelligible remarks.

The recently discovered December 2020 recording, obtained by The Dallas Express, suggests an incoherent Burgess was unable to effectively communicate with her counterparts. The topics of discussion during the meeting included billing, contracts, and other county business.

Toward the end of the roughly three-minute recording, Burgess’ impaired speech sparks confusion.

“You are what?” one official can be heard replying to Burgess.

At one point, Tarrant Appraisal District board member Rich DeOtte interjects, “I cannot understand.”



Burgess can be heard repeatedly referring to herself in the third person.

“The tax assessor-collector has a question,” she said before adding, “The tax assessor-collector agrees.”

Burgess did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the audio recording when her office was contacted.

“From what was said and how it was said, it appeared her thinking was inhibited,” DeOtte told The Dallas Express. “Personally, I do not think she is fit for office.”

A former Mansfield City Council member, Burgess was first elected to her current seat in 2018.

The tax assessor-collector position primarily calculates and collects property taxes and issues car registrations. The officeholder in Tarrant County also serves as a non-voting member of the six-person Tarrant Appraisal District Board of Directors.

Burgess filed for re-election in late 2023.

“Today, I officially filed for re-election. Serving as your Tax Assessor-Collector is an honor and privilege I don’t take lightly,” she said at the time. “I’m proud of my office’s award-winning service as we are accountable to Tarrant County taxpayers down to every penny.”

She is facing a rematch against Barnes, a previous primary opponent and the former Tarrant County Republican Party chair. Barnes vacated his post as party chair to challenge Burgess.

“The Tarrant Appraisal District has had one scandal after another with Wendy Burgess on the TAD board. I’ll clean it up and return transparency, fiscal responsibility, and trust to that agency. She couldn’t in 5 years,” Barnes said.

Early voting begins on February 20, with the Texas Republican primary set for March 5.

Note: This story was updated on February 17, 2024, at 5:35 a.m. to include a statement from Burgess’ opponent Barnes.

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