Florida mayor files lawsuit to disqualify candidate running against him


The mayor of West Palm Beach has filed a lawsuit against his sole challenger in the March mayoral election.Keith James is trying to disqualify Rodney Mayo from running against him, claiming Mayo does not live in the city.James is also suing Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Wendy Sartory Link and his own city of West Palm Beach, asking a judge to stop them from allowing Mayo’s candidacy to move forward.James’ lawsuit claims Subculture Restaurant Group owner Mayo doesn’t live in the city and so doesn’t qualify to be a candidate.Read the lawsuit here.”Our campaign believes that Rodney Mayo is not a resident of the city of West Palm Beach, and that he is not a candidate that should be qualified to be able to be on the ballot and for the March election,” said James’ campaign consultant Rick Asnani.Mayo said he does live in the city, right on Clematis Street above his Respectable Street Café which he opened in 1987.”My address has always been 520 Clematis, upstairs. I’ve had a water bill in my name since 1982, electric in my name since 1982,” Mayo said.Mayo sent WPBF 25 News Investigative Reporter Terri Parker a copy of his driver’s license which lists 520 Clematis St. as his address.James’ lawsuit says that’s false — that Mayo actually lives in a house he owns in Lantana.According to Mayo’s voter registration, his residence is on Pine Drive in Lantana.But Mayo said that’s just because it was too complicated to change it, saying he has worked in downtown West Palm Beach for 35 years and goes back and forth between the two houses. Mayo said the Lantana house sitting on a one-acre lot is where he keeps his six dogs but the Clematis apartment, close to his nightclubs, coffee shop and restaurants, is where he spends his nights.Mayo said he doesn’t have a homestead exemption on the Lantana house, which according to property appraiser records is true.Asnani said he can’t comment on what they will present to a judge, but said they do have evidence Mayo actually lives in Lantana.A West Palm Beach ordinance says a candidate must reside in the city for six months preceding an election.Until Mayo filed to run in November, James was sailing toward an unopposed new term.Mayo said James’ lawsuit is an attempt to take away the public’s choice of who they want for mayor. “If there’s a small chance they are successful he will go unopposed — he won’t have to run a campaign, he won’t have to talk about issues, he won’t have to debate me and he’ll just wind up being our next mayor, for four years,” Mayo said. Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Sartory Link said legally it is not up to her to decide, because the City qualifies candidates for its own elections.”Unless a judge orders us not to, we have to keep him on the ballot,” she said.Asnani said he expects a hearing next week to set the date for court arguments.

The mayor of West Palm Beach has filed a lawsuit against his sole challenger in the March mayoral election.

Keith James is trying to disqualify Rodney Mayo from running against him, claiming Mayo does not live in the city.

James is also suing Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Wendy Sartory Link and his own city of West Palm Beach, asking a judge to stop them from allowing Mayo’s candidacy to move forward.

James’ lawsuit claims Subculture Restaurant Group owner Mayo doesn’t live in the city and so doesn’t qualify to be a candidate.

Read the lawsuit here.

“Our campaign believes that Rodney Mayo is not a resident of the city of West Palm Beach, and that he is not a candidate that should be qualified to be able to be on the ballot and for the March election,” said James’ campaign consultant Rick Asnani.

Mayo said he does live in the city, right on Clematis Street above his Respectable Street Café which he opened in 1987.

“My address has always been 520 Clematis, upstairs. I’ve had a water bill in my name since 1982, electric in my name since 1982,” Mayo said.

Mayo sent WPBF 25 News Investigative Reporter Terri Parker a copy of his driver’s license which lists 520 Clematis St. as his address.

James’ lawsuit says that’s false — that Mayo actually lives in a house he owns in Lantana.

According to Mayo’s voter registration, his residence is on Pine Drive in Lantana.

But Mayo said that’s just because it was too complicated to change it, saying he has worked in downtown West Palm Beach for 35 years and goes back and forth between the two houses. Mayo said the Lantana house sitting on a one-acre lot is where he keeps his six dogs but the Clematis apartment, close to his nightclubs, coffee shop and restaurants, is where he spends his nights.

Mayo said he doesn’t have a homestead exemption on the Lantana house, which according to property appraiser records is true.

Asnani said he can’t comment on what they will present to a judge, but said they do have evidence Mayo actually lives in Lantana.

A West Palm Beach ordinance says a candidate must reside in the city for six months preceding an election.

Until Mayo filed to run in November, James was sailing toward an unopposed new term.

Mayo said James’ lawsuit is an attempt to take away the public’s choice of who they want for mayor.

“If there’s a small chance they are successful he will go unopposed — he won’t have to run a campaign, he won’t have to talk about issues, he won’t have to debate me and he’ll just wind up being our next mayor, for four years,” Mayo said.

Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Sartory Link said legally it is not up to her to decide, because the City qualifies candidates for its own elections.

“Unless a judge orders us not to, we have to keep him on the ballot,” she said.

Asnani said he expects a hearing next week to set the date for court arguments.



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