A group of Nassau County residents has asked the Governor’s Office to look into whether County Commissioner Danny Leeper is eligible to hold his position.
In a letter sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis, the residents cite an investigation that found Leeper doesn’t live within District 1, the seat he holds on the commission.
“Based on information we have learned, it is our belief that Mr. Leeper does not reside in District 1, and has not for over two years — a requirement imposed by the Florida Constitution for him to serve as a county commissioner representing our District,” the letter states.
It then lists several bullet points summarizing the investigation, including that Leeper owns a home in District 2 and claims a homestead exemption on it.
The Florida Constitution requires elected officials to live in the districts they represent. The rule has some vagaries. For one, candidates can run in districts they don’t live in, and many do, but once they are elected, they must live in their district for the duration of their term. If they move out of their district, they must resign.
The letter also references a recent candidate forum where Leeper, who is running for reelection this year, dodged a question on his residency.
“He also reportedly has stated that he lives with his parents and that the Florida law regarding residency ‘is very vague’ allowing him great latitude on where he lives,” the letter states before reprinting the state constitution’s definition of residency.
“The weight of the evidence overwhelmingly shows that Mr. Leeper has not maintained residency in District 1 based on his ‘intention’ and ‘overt acts.’ As a result, he has vacated his seat as a Commissioner for District 1, based on his failure to maintain the residence required of him by law,” the letter continues. “As true residents of Nassau County, District 1, we are entitled to a county commissioner that lives and resides in District 1 as required by the Florida Constitution.”
It concludes with a call for action: “Should you concur with our findings that a vacancy now exists, we respectfully ask that you issue an Executive Order declaring a vacancy in the office of Nassau County Commissioner, District 1 in accordance with section 114.01(2), Florida Statutes.”
The letter is below.