Texas Republican’s trust rewards his kids for marrying someone white

Financial rewards to encourage his adult children to marry someone "of the opposite sex, that's Caucasian and Christian."

Screen grab of Vic Cunningham during his videotaped interview with The Dallas Morning News. CREDIT: The Dallas Morning News
Screen grab of Vic Cunningham during his videotaped interview with The Dallas Morning News. CREDIT: The Dallas Morning News

A white candidate running for local office in Dallas, Texas admitted that a living trust he set up for his adult children several years ago contains a clause rewarding them for marrying within their race.

Vickers “Vic” Cunningham, a former criminal district judge who is running for a seat on the Dallas County Commissioners Court, acknowledged Friday in a videotaped interview that he inserted the offensive clause in the trust he set up in 2010 to dissuade his children from marrying someone who is not white. It also aims to discourage them from marrying a non-Christian or someone of the same sex.

“I strongly support traditional family values,” Cunningham explained to the Dallas Morning News in the interview. “If you marry a person of the opposite sex that’s Caucasian, that’s Christian, they will get a distribution.”

Cunningham explained that financial disbursements from his estate are paid at various significant “milestones” in his children’s lives, including when they marry someone he deems racially appropriate, and who is of the opposite sex.


“There are milestones set out in the trust. The milestone is, you get a distribution if you get an advanced degree. Milestone, if you run for public office. When you turn 35,  40, 45, you get a distribution. The same thing … when you get married.”

He insisted that his efforts to influence the race of the person his kids marry in no way makes him a bigot. But various people interviewed for the article — including relatives — said Cunningham has shown a lifelong pattern of racism.

The Dallas Morning News cited Amanda Tackett, a former political aide who worked on Cunningham’s 2006 campaign for district attorney, who said he repeatedly made racist remarks. His own mother, Mina Cunningham, is quoted in the article as having admitted that her son had a penchant for using the N-word “quite a bit.”


“All I can do is apologize for Vic and this way that he thinks,” she told the newspaper. “He’s so bigoted and so forth, as we all know. That does make me sick.”

More charges of racism were lodged by Cunningham’s brother Bill, who is gay and married to a black man. He said Vic Cunningham threatened him and his husband, referring to his husband repeatedly as “your boy.”

“His views and his actions are disqualifying for anyone to hold public office in 2018,” Bill Cunningham told the Dallas Morning News. “It frightens me to death to think of people in power who could hurt people.”

Vic Cunningham’s son, who is dating a Vietnamese woman, also spoke with the daily, and said his interracial relationship is helping to change his father’s biased thinking. The candidate said in the article that he has come to accept his son’s relationship, but said he could not change the terms of his trust.

The revelations prompted the newspaper’s editorial board on Friday to pull its endorsement of Cunningham.

“This newspaper recommended Vickers Cunningham for the precinct two seat on the Dallas County Commissioner’s Court because we felt the former state district judge’s career left him best prepared for the job. However recent developments have caused us to reconsider, and we are withdrawing our recommendation of Cunningham.”


Chief among their concerns, the Dallas Morning News wrote, was Cunningham’s living will, which demonstrated “a personal problem with diversity.”

The editorial noted that the trust “provides financial distributions to his children, if they reach certain milestones, including marriage to someone who is white, Christian and of the opposite sex.”

According to the Dallas Morning News, the constituency Cunningham would represent if elected is comprised largely of African Americans and Hispanics.

As a judge for about a decade, the daily wrote that he sent scores of black and Hispanic defendants to prison, although he insists he never showed racial bias in his courtroom decisions.