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Candidate says he's a resident of area he hopes to represent

A county Republican official has asked the county clerk to verify the residence of a commission hopeful.

A county Republican official has asked the county clerk to verify the residence of a commission hopeful.

November 01, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. - John E. Ott, county clerk for Jefferson County, said Thursday he will ask the county prosecutor's office to decide if Democratic County Commission candidate Gregory Lance is a legal resident of the Harpers Ferry District, the district he is seeking to represent.

The flap surfaced Thursday in a letter to Ott and Patsy Noland, Jefferson County Circuit Clerk, from Charles E. Rowe, chairman of the county's Republican Executive Committee, which charged that a loan application filled out by Lance on Oct. 8 listed his address as 428 S. Samuel St., Charles Town, W.Va.

The application, including the Charles Town address, was submitted by Lance in his financial disclosure forms.

Lance said Thursday night he moved to his current address at 1235 Washington St., Bolivar, on Oct. 15, 2001. He said he is moving into a new house in two weeks at 774 Breckinridge Way in Bolivar, which is also in the Harpers Ferry District.

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Lance said he has been a customer at the BB&T, the former Blakeley Bank, for years and that when he applied for the loan on Oct. 8 to pay campaign expenses he was told by the loan officer he would not have to fill out a new application.

"They just pulled out one of my old applications. I didn't notice that it had my old Charles Town address on it. The loan officer said that I wouldn't have to fill out a new application," Lance said.

He said he didn't notice the error when he filed his disclosure papers. "I'm going to the bank tomorrow and have them change it," he said.

In his letter, Rowe said the loan application was a legal document. In it, Lance listed his legal address as 428 S. Samuel St., "to the best of his knowledge," the letter said.

"It also casts doubt on whether he (Lance) was a legal resident of the district at the time of the May 14 primary," the letter said.

Rowe concluded the letter by writing, "The integrity of our representational government rests on all candidates and parties complying with the law."

"There's no issue of residence here," Lance said. "I just didn't catch it when I filed. This is nothing but a desperate attempt by the Republican Party to attempt to make an issue out of a nonissue five days before the election."

Ott agreed it was an oversight on Lance's part. "He wasn't trying to hide anything. It was on the papers when he filed them. It's petty politics."

Ott, a Democrat, said he would turn the letter over to the prosecuting attorney's office for a ruling. "It's the thing to do," he said.

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