Reasons listed for disqualifying Aberdeen candidate

Residency question could delay election

October 19, 2007|By MADISON PARK

Aberdeen officials explained yesterday their decision to disqualify a candidate for City Council who has sued to get on the ballot.

The residency controversy centers on whether Steven C. Johnson has lived in the city for the past two years, a requirement for council candidates. In his filing papers, Johnson listed an Aberdeen address that city officials argue is not his primary residence.

During a hearing Wednesday, a Harford County circuit judge gave the city and Johnson until today to discuss a resolution while indicating that an injunction to postpone the Nov. 6 election is possible. The parties are expected to appear in court today.

At yesterday's special session of the council, city clerk Monica Correll recited eight of the city's reasons for denying Johnson's request for candidacy. Several related to public records that listed Johnson's address in Perryman.

The reasons included:

Tax bills for Johnson's 13 rental properties in the area were sent to an address in Perryman.

State tax records indicating that Johnson's Aberdeen property was not his primary residence.

Tax credits claimed by Johnson for his Perryman property, which can only be collected if the house is his main residence.

Correll also noted that Johnson's driver's license, which was issued Oct. 2, carries an Aberdeen address. The filing deadline for the election was Oct. 5.

Shortly after the explanation, the council went into closed session to confer with the city's attorney, Frederick C. Sussman.

Johnson did not attend the public portion of the meeting yesterday but entered City Hall with his attorney, Joe Creed, after the council went to closed session.

Mayor S. Fred Simmons said it appears more likely that the dispute will lead to the postponement of the Nov. 6 election.

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