An unsuccessful Jersey City council candidate claims that his former opponent is actually a resident of the Sunshine State.
Jimmy King, who lost an election for Jersey City council for Ward C in May, has filed suit against the ward’s winning candidate, councilwoman-elect Nidia Rivera Lopez, alleging that she has a residency issue that should keep her from serving.
King said that Lopez, who owns a house in Orlando, Fla., very recently claimed property tax exemptions that required her to cite Florida as her primary residence. He also said she has a Florida driver’s license.
“In order to accept that you had to be a resident of Florida and a homesteader in Florida. She collected over 10 of them,” said King, who hired a private detective to investigate Lopez.
Property tax records available online show that Lopez, who used to have the last name Boehringer from a previous marriage, claimed a homestead exemption of $25,000 for 2008 on the 13-year-old Orlando home that was deeded to her by her ex-husband in 2000. A tax bill from November shows that she saved $277.09 from the exemption.
Florida law requires homeowners who take the exemption to be permanent residents.
Lopez is set to be sworn in at tomorrow morning's reorganization meeting, making her the city’s first Hispanic councilwoman. She will replace Councilman Steve Lipski, who opted not to run again after he was arrested for urinating from a balcony onto a crowd of spectators at a Washington, DC concert.
King said that his attorney, Alex Booth, has filed the complaint, but that he has not heard whether any date has been set for a hearing.
“I think she deceived me and deceived everybody around her by running. If she didn’t run, I would have been the winner, and I think she took advantage of me because I’m a senior citizen,” said King, who at 66 is seven years older than Lopez. “I’d like to see her knocked off [the ballot], obviously… and if she did commit a crime in Florida, she should face penalties like any other citizen.”
Lopez could not be reached for comment.
An official from the office of the Superintendent of Elections in Orange County, Fla. said that Lopez has not cast a vote there since 2003, although she has not been purged from the roles.