As Harold Ford Jr. lines up political support for a possible run for the junior U.S. Senate seat for New York, he still needs to break financial and legal ties to his native state of Tennessee. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following exclusive report.
Harold Ford often insists he is no carpetbagger, but the could-be candidate is also still keeping a foot in his native Tennessee. Records show he owns a Memphis condo and his personal website says he lives in Memphis as well as New York.
Also, Ford still has a Tennessee driver's license, hasn't voted in New York State and has not filed New York State income taxes.
"I'm in the process," said Ford on Thursday. "Let me be clear, I pay my quarterly estimates. I will file a return for the first time for last year come April, when taxes are to be filed. And if I become a candidate, I'll comply with all of the disclosures that candidates are asked to disclose."
It remains murky why this is Ford's first year to file New York taxes, as he has been living in the state in some form for more than three years, and even married a New Yorker in 2008.
Although Ford insists he has always paid his taxes, aides will not spell out exactly what kind of taxes they were. They argue that because Ford is only considering running, he should not have to open his financial books.
There is no general income tax in Tennessee, but aides vigorously reject the notion that Ford has been evading New York's more onerous taxes.
As for his driver's license, Ford is hardly alone in holding one state's license while living in another. Yet under a little-enforced law, new residents have 30 days to apply for a New York license or face up to a $300 fine and 15 days in prison, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
If history is any guide, Ford's status as a new york transplant could be a political bonus, especially for the Senate seat he is eyeing.
When Robert Kennedy ran for the Senate seat in 1964, he was so new to the state that he still could not vote in New York.
As a Senate candidate, Hillary Clinton voted in Westchester County, one of her two homes in 2000.
Meanwhile, Ford's campaign says he is taken leave from being a paid analyst for NBC as he weighs a run.