Texas mayor's colorful past called into question

Carrollton_The mayor of this Dallas suburb has long talked about her colorful background, saying she used to sing backup for Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne and other famous musicians. Her campaign Web site lists less glamorous credentials, including a stint at Western Kentucky University.

Officials say Mayor Becky Miller has talked of once being engaged to singer Don Henley, and of a brother who died in Vietnam.

All those details have one thing in common: Family members, representatives of the musicians and school officials have told The Dallas Morning News that they're untrue.

Miller, who became Carrollton's first woman mayor in 2005, says she never made some of the claims and attributed other discrepancies to dirty politics by challenger Ron Branson.

"I get angry when people get into my personal life," Miller told the newspaper for a story in its Wednesday editions. "My personal life does not have a thing to do with my job as mayor or being elected on the City Council for 10 years."

Branson said Miller's claims are false and reflect poorly on Carrollton, a suburb of about 116,000 just northwest of Dallas.

"I really don't think our city and our council wants somebody they can't trust what they say representing them," he said.

Branson said he is most upset by Miller's claim that she had a brother who died in war. Miller's father, Edward Sampson, told the newspaper that his son is alive and never served in the military.

Miller first suggested her 80-year-old father didn't get his facts right and said he suffers from Alzheimer's disease. She later said the man who died was not her biological brother but a "blood brother" was as close to her as a real one. She declined to give his name.

Three former Carrollton council members and one current member said Miller told them she was once engaged to Henley. Larry Solters, a spokesman for Henley and the Eagles, said the musician has "never heard of her, doesn't know her, certainly was never engaged to her."

In an e-mail to the newspaper, Miller wrote: "I have never said that I was engaged to Don Henley. I dated him."

Spokesmen for Browne and Ronstadt said Miller never sang backup for them. Neither Miller's first husband nor her father recalled a professional singing career.

Miller told the newspaper she went by several other names, including the nickname "Pinky." She declined to say what those other names were.

"I'm not going to tell you what they are," Miller said. "You have to find that out."

Miller's contention that she attended Western Kentucky remained on her Web site Wednesday. She told the newspaper she attended for two months in 1968. Laura Dilliha, a student records specialist at the school, said there's no record of Miller having been there.

Miller said these questions are coming up just days before the election because Branson is desperate.

"He thinks ... this is the only way he can win this election," Miller said. "That infuriates me."

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