Saturday, August 28, 1999

Booth's residency challenged

GOP claims prime home not in city

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Local Republicans have challenged Paul Booth's right to run for Cincinnati City Council, saying he does not live in the city.

        Mr. Booth was appointed to council in December and is running in this fall's election to keep his seat. When he was appointed, he was living in Amberley Village, but said he would establish a temporary residence in Cincinnati with an eye to moving into the city.

        The Booths rent an apartment in Oakley, within city limits, but the Hamilton County Republican Party contends the Stonebridge Apartment Complex is not the family's primary home. According to Ohio law, a married person's residence is where his spouse and children live, unless they are legally separated.

        “We feel there is a willful attempt to betray the voters here,” said Shannon Jones, executive director of the party.

        “I would never betray the voters of Cincinnati. That's an insult,” Mr. Booth responded Friday. “My family is with me in Oakley. That's where we reside. That's where we stay.”

        Republican officials have called for subpoenas of various documents to prove otherwise: rent-payment records from the Oakley apartment complex, Bureau of Motor Vehicle records, phone records, addresses the Booth children gave at school, bank records, newspaper subscription information.

        Cincinnati Bell records may show the Oakley phone number is forwarded to the Amberley Village home, Ms. Jones said, and that the Oakley address is at most a two-bedroom apartment.

        “It's a stretch to say you're going to move from a 21/4-acre Amberley Village home into a two-bedroom apartment,” Ms. Jones said.

        “That's her opinion, I have no comment on that,” Mr. Booth replied.

        Mark Mallory, co-director of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, said the allegations are election-year politics.

        “It's a shame the Republicans have to resort to this kind of attack in order to try to win

        City Hall,” he said. “The Republicans are desperate and they're trying to bring down any member of our ticket they can. It was Minette Cooper first, now it's Paul Booth.”

        In June, the city's police union called for an investigation into Vice Mayor Cooper's meetings with the city safety director and police chief over the arrest of her son.

        The Democrats now control a majority on City Council, with five of the nine seats. But members rarely form a voting bloc.

        That could change with the new council. All nine Democratic candidates for City Council are running on a party platform. They have agreed, if elected, to work together to carry out their agenda.

        The Booth challenge will be heard by the Hamilton County Board of Elections on Wednesday. The board plans to decide whether to issue the subpoenas and set a date for a hearing. The date likely will be Sept. 8.

        Mr. Booth accused the Republican Party of “election-year antics,” waiting until this close to the November election to challenge his residency.

        Ms. Jones said the timing is appropriate. The filing deadline for candidates for the ballot was Aug. 19, and any challenges to those candidacies must be made by Monday.

        “Now it seems it's in your face,” Ms. Jones said. It's like Mr. Booth is saying, “"I'm going to get away with this.'”


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