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Daphne Campbell

South Florida

Report: Daphne Campbell may have lived outside of her district for years

Democratic Sen. Daphne Campbell is the latest lawmaker to face questions about whether she lives in the district she represents in the Florida Legislature.

While it’s not unheard of for lawmakers to keep their home while living in a rented residence in the district they represent, Sarah Blaskey and David Smiley of the Miami Herald report that Campbell may have treated the residency requirement as a mere formality since as far back as 2012, when redistricting shifted the lines of her former seat in the Florida House to exclude the Carll Heights home she owned until recently.

Campbell has listed four home addresses on official paperwork since then, and she may not have lived in any of them. Her former campaign manager, Nacivre “Charlie” Charles, said as much when contacted by the Herald’s reporters.

“Since redistricting [House District] 108, she wasn’t living there” in her district, Charles said, asserting that she’s spent the last 30 months living in her true home, well outside the confines of northeastern Miami-Dade’s Senate District 38.

Charles said he stopped working for Campbell after the 2016 election, citing $20,000 in unpaid invoices. He now works for Campbell’s 2018 Democratic primary challenger, Jason Pizzo.

Addresses Campbell has used since 2012 include the Ebenezer Christian Academy. The school’s founder, Emy Etienne, said he agreed to let Campbell use the property without a lease and never told anyone about the arrangement, even his adopted son, Roberto Joseph.

“We’ve never rented it out,” he said. “She never lived there.”

Other addresses Campbell has used: A duplex owned by Gepsie Metellus and her husband, Gerard Metellus; an Arch Creek Estates home owned by radio host Carline Paul; and most recently a Panuleta Gardens home owned by Sonia Remy Casimir.

Campbell uses the Metellus’ address on her voter registration but when asked, they said they couldn’t verify whether Campbell ever lived at the home, and another tenant who used the address concurrently said she never met Campbell. Paul said Campbell never moved in to the home she owns, nor did she pay the security deposit or sign the lease. Casimir told reporters that Campbell was her sister and that Campbell does live at the Panulta Gardens address, rent-free and without a lease.

Even though she’s moved a couple times since claiming to live at the Metellus’ duplex, the Herald also found Campbell voted twice from that address during her 2016 campaign. If that sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the illegal act that former HD 114 Rep. Daisy Baez resigned over last year.

Campbell, for her part, denies living outside of SD 38 but didn’t provide any details clarifying her residency.

“I’ve been in office for eight years. I live in the district for eight years,” she said.

The state constitution requires any candidate for the state House or Senate be “at least twenty-one years of age, an elector and resident of the district from which elected and shall have resided in the state for a period of two years prior to election.”

While that allows for Floridians to run for office from afar, as some candidates do, the accepted interpretation requires lawmakers to reside in the district at the time of their election.

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