St. Joe County assessor’s race sees dispute over candidate’s residency


A challenge filed to the St. Joseph County Election Board raises questions about whether Penn Township Assessor Mike Castellon, who’s running for county assessor, should be allowed to hold office given allegations he’s been living in a Florida home he bought last spring instead of residing primarily in the township he represents.

The accusation comes from Castellon’s Democratic opponent in this year’s race for St. Joseph County assessor, Ted Booker. A former Tribune reporter, Booker says others raised the issue to him. He claims Castellon is violating state law that requires an assessor to “reside within the township” or else forfeit office.

Castellon, a Republican, denied that the Florida house is his main residence, saying Thursday that he and his wife had been renovating it for a retirement home until the opportunity arose to run for county assessor. The couple rents an apartment at Autumn Lakes Apartments and Townhomes in Mishawaka, records show and Castellon confirmed.

Mike Castellon

“That was a second home that eventually we would retire to,” Castellon, who has served as Penn Township assessor since 2011, told The Tribune of his home in Port Charlotte, Florida. “I am fulfilling my job requirements. That’s all I can really say.”

The two candidates are vying to replace longtime Democratic St. Joseph County Assessor Rosemary Mandrici, whose decision to step down offers Republicans a chance to flip the seat.





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