City council candidate sues opponent over residency
JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - A Greene County judge will hear arguments in a lawsuit filed against a Jonesboro City Council candidate over his residency.
City council Candidate, Janice Porter, is suing her opponent, Guy Pardew Jr.
Porter claims that since Pardew failed to support his claims of residency in Ward 1, she has asked the court for a restraining order to keep Pardew from “further participation in the election.”
Pardew filled out a Political Practices Pledge on Aug. 10, with his address located at West Nettleton, but his voter registration lists his physical address at West Washington, located in Ward 2, according to the lawsuit filed by Porter.
In the lawsuit, Porter claims that on Oct. 11, during a televised candidate forum, where all three of the candidates running for Ward 1 were present, Pardew admitted to living at the address on West Washington.
In a press release the following day, Pardew stated that he had been in the process of buying a residence on West Jefferson since mid-August 2022, the lawsuit said. It went on to say a search of Craighead County property records showed that the property located on West Jefferson was owned by Don & Hannah Howard Farms, LLC.
According to court filings, Porter said Pardew provided a letter from the Howards. The letter stated that the house is awaiting repairs, but Pardew has full access to the house.
“As I stated prior to the General Election, even though I already owned multiple residential properties in Ward 1, it was alway (sic) my intention to purchase a home on West Jefferson Avenue as my permanent residence,” Pardew said in a statement to Region 8 News when contacted about the lawsuit. “Unfortunately, the timing of that purchase has not worked out, so I have already moved into a residence I personally own in the 900 block of West Oak Avenue. The voters who expressed their confidence in me by having me lead the ballot on Election Day can know that I have indeed already moved into Ward 1 and am ready to serve them after I am elected in this runoff election.”
Porter is also suing Jeannette Robertson, Tammy Hodges, and Roseann Askeland, all members of the Craighead County Election Commission, who are accused in the lawsuit by Porter of allowing Pardew to run without the proper legal requirements.
Due to neither candidate receiving 50% of voter support on election day, a runoff election is scheduled for Dec. 6, with early voting scheduled between Nov. 29, and Dec. 5.
Porter says if Pardew is allowed to continue his candidacy for office despite his required residency, she will be forced to expend additional time and effort to “challenge against the candidate who is not legally qualified” for office.
Porter is being represented by Story Law Firm, PLLC. out of Fayetteville.
A one-hour emergency hearing will take place on Nov. 29, at 9:30 a.m. in the Circuit Court of Greene County.
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