Incumbent challenges opponent's residency - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Incumbent challenges opponent's residency

Freddie Powell Sims Freddie Powell Sims

May 12, 2004

Albany-- Controversy in the race for a state house seat.

District 151 incumbent Lawrence Roberts is questioning the residency of his opponent, Freddie Powell Sims. Sims says those claims are unfounded.

This is where Freddie Powell Sims says she lives full-time, "This is where I live, this is my address and I have been here since June of 2003."

Powell Sims, a retired Dougherty County Principal, moved into this Albany apartment complex last summer, "I am a registered voter here in Dougherty County, I voted here in the last election, so this is where I am."

But, her opponent in the race for the District 151 seat, incumbent Lawrence Roberts, says she is lying, "Contrary to what she alleges, we have certified copies from the Clerk of Courts in Terrell County to the effect that she owns 10 acres of property that she claims as a permanent residence."

The documents also show she accepted a $234.00 Homestead Exemption credit on her taxes last year for that property, which Roberts claims she can only take on a permanent residence, "She can't have it both ways. Either she owes the people in Terrell County a grand sum of money that was exempted from her taxes or she resides in Dougherty County. My challenge to Mrs. Powell is which one, where does she live?"

Powell Sims says, "The first thing that I did as a candidate was to make sure all the qualifications were met prior to even thinking about running as a candidate, so no, it is not true."

Powell Sims says she has owned the Terrell County property since the early 1980's, and even lived there for about five years. She says the Homestead Exemption credit is automatic, "Well, I am not really sure about Homestead Exemption. It's a legal matter. I would really rather not comment on that right now, but let the system take care of that for me."

Powell Sims says she hopes a hearing on the issue will be soon so she can continue with her campaign. Roberts filed a residency complaint with the secretary of state's office last week. A hearing date with an administrative law judge has not been scheduled but is expected soon.

Posted at 4:20 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com

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