Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Charlie White's Residency Issue Disconcerting

"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please," Mark Twain once quipped. That thought came to mind when I read about GOP Secretary of State candidate Charlie White's residency issue in the Star this morning. Carrie Ritchie writes:

Republican Secretary of State nominee Charlie White resigned Tuesday as a member of the Fishers Town Council, saying he inadvertently had moved out of his council district.

White's resignation came the day before a Fishers Democrat had scheduled a news conference to call attention to White's residency.

White, who also is the Hamilton County Republican chairman, said Tuesday in a news release issued by the town that he simply didn't realize his new condo in Fall Creek Township was well outside the borders of his district, which is primarily in Delaware Township.

Indiana law requires council members to forfeit their seats if they move out of their district.

"Because of my statewide campaign for secretary of state and recent marriage, I failed to realize that my new residence was outside my Council district," White said. "Once notified of the situation, I took immediate action to correct the issue."

White didn't return a call Tuesday.
First of all, White is an attorney. Secondly, White is a Republican county chairman, which means it is part of his job to know where political boundaries start and end. Of course, that didn't stop Marion Co. GOP Chairman Tom John, who is also an attorney and purported elections law expert, from filing as a candidate for precinct committeeperson in the 2008 primary election in a precinct in which he didn't live, losing the race and then blaming someone else who filed his paperwork for him. Thirdly, as a candidate for Secretary of State, part of his job if elected is to serve as the state's top elections administrator.

The problem for White comes after he divorced his first wife in 2007. He carefully chose an apartment that was still located in his council district in which to move after he divorced. Everything is still kosher. Things start to get a little shaky, however, after White decides to purchase a condo in Fall Creek Township outside his council district in February of this year.

But on Feb. 23, just days before the deed to the Fall Creek Township condo was finalized, he changed the address on his voter registration back to the Broad Leaf Lane home, which his ex-wife still owns, according to Hamilton County records.

He listed the condo as his home address in June when he formally accepted the Republican Party's nomination for secretary of state but listed his ex-wife's home as his mailing address.

Town Council President Scott Faultless said he wasn't aware White had moved until Tuesday, but he said he believed White's explanation.

"Charlie's got a lot on his plate. It's part of life," Faultless said. "He wanted to do the right thing."
White apparently expects us to believe he purchased a new condo where he intended to live with his new wife but moved back in with his ex-wife as indicated by the address he listed when he accepted the nomination for Secretary of State. There seems to be a pattern of deception emerging here of an officer of the court who seeks the job of being the state's top elections administrator. I may be a Republican, but I'm not a fool. When White announced he was running for Secretary of State, I started hearing things about him that were strikingly similar to our own Marion County GOP chairman, which isn't a good thing. It was very disappointing when nobody emerged to challenge White at the state convention, which is one of the reasons I chose not to even bother trying to become a state convention delegate this year. Now we're stuck with the guy since it's too late to replace him on the ballot. How disappointing.

While we're on the subject of deception, how about that other White, our Marion County Clerk Beth White. After months of political grandstanding over how Republicans were trying to deprive voters of their constitutional right to vote by not approving more than one voting site for early voting (her office), White pulled a rabbit out of a hat and announced she was opening two satellite voting locations at the location of two Marion Co. traffic courts where the clerk's office provides staffing to run the courts. According to the clerk's office, the voting sites at the traffic courts will cost the county much less than the estimated $150,000 her office had budgeted for separate satellite voting facilities. "It's only been a week since this board would not agree to satellite voting," White said, "and upon reflection, I believe it is my responsibility to provide as many options as we possibly can for the people of this community."

Who does White thinks she is fooling? She had this planned all along if she didn't get her way on separate satellite voting facilities. I will never forget how she cheated the voters of my council district out of a representative from our district on the council. She knew Patrice Abduallah did not live in his council district but allowed him to continue serving on the council and even file for re-election. She claimed it wasn't her duty as an officer of the court and the county's chief elections administrator to act on Abduallah's deceit in holding office as a councilor in my district for nearly four years while he lived outside the district. Republicans had no candidate on the ballot and, in violation of state law, Democrats were allowed to replace Abduallah on the ballot with Andre Carson after Abduallah resigned his seat--after the deadlines had long since past for replacing candidates on the ballot. In both Whites' cases, deceit was the name of the game.

UPDATE: Charlie White took another stab at getting his story straight in a follow up online story in the Star today. He's not helping his case much to be sure:

Though White, who represented District 2 in Fishers until his resignation Tuesday, admitted he used his ex-wife’s address to vote in the May primary, he called the allegations of wrongdoing against him unwarranted.

“There’s no conspiracy here,” White said during a phone interview today. “I didn’t sit around and think about this.”

White blamed his busy schedule for his failure to notice that his new condo is outside his council district and to change his voter registration to reflect his new address . . .

White said he moved into the condo, located on Overview Drive, in March, but before that, he briefly lived with his ex-wife.

White said he began living with his ex-wife in June 2009 and began splitting time between her home and his new condo in November 2009. He said closing took longer than he expected and he decided to change his voter registration back to his ex-wife’s address because he was still registered at his old apartment address.

When asked why he didn’t change his address again after he moved to his new home, White said, “I simply was so busy I just didn’t think about it.”

White said he will return money to the town if necessary.
Please, how many men move in with their ex-wife at the same time they are planning to marry their next wife?

Greg Purvis, a former Democratic candidate for the Fishers Town Council is asking White to return the salary he earned as a Town Council member during the time he was not living in his district, and he wants a special prosecutor appointed to determine whether White broke any criminal laws. It's too bad the Democrats weren't as interested in investigating the case of Patrice Abduallah and Marion County Clerk Beth White's complicity in his illegal service on the Indianapolis City-County Council for nearly four years.


M Theory said...

Great! Vote for the Libertarian. I think they need at least 2% of the vote in order to keep ballot access in Indiana.

Unknown said...

If I understand the residency requirement for the town council correctly, I believe his office was forfeited as soon as he moved outside of the district- not when he "realized" and resigned. Which means, again if I understand the law correctly, that his votes on the council were illegally cast/counted and may make anything he voted on challengeable simply by his participation. Since he was the council president and presumably set the vote agenda/called meetings to order/etc...couldn't this be a huge issue for any council business conducted by him illegally?

This is just from a reading of the residency statute itself, so I may be way off base in terms of the legal effect of his actions, but do you have any idea what the law is regarding his votes post forfeit of office?

Blog Admin said...

I don't know if I've heard of White's name until now, and having the first impression be a negative piece doesn't help.

I don't know much about Vop Osili, the D candidate for SOS, but I at least know he's been hitting the ground running since his nomination.

Not a lot of choices, huh? At least if I vote for the Libertarian SOS, it'll help those guys keep ballot access. I don't know if much good can come from voting for Osili or White.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Erin, The same would have been true of Patrice Abduallah. He voted on the income tax increase, which passed by one vote, even though he never lived in his council district. Nobody took any action to nullify that vote.

HamiltonGOP said...

I know Charlie personally and he is a good guy. He is one of the better people I have met since I have been in politics. This story will have no affect on his SOS election. He will still beat VOP handedly.

Stew Cloths said...

It would only make sense that Charlie would have been too busy to change his voter registration or realize he had moved out of his district while back pedaling with his future wife as to why he moved in woih his ex-wife.