Judge: Carruth Eligible for Election
An Administrative Court judge determined that State Senate Candidate Bill Carruth does live in the 31st District.
An Administrative Court made an initial decision this week that Bill Carruth is eligible to run for State Senate Distrit 31.
Carruth's candidacy had been challenged by current Senator Bill Heath, R-Bremen, and Dallas resident Bill Houston who alleged that Carruth has not resided in the district for a sufficient amount of time and owes the federal government, and thus the taxpayers, more than $2.3 million.
In a statement, Carruth called the allegations frivolous.
“I said from the beginning that this challenge has no basis in fact and will be thrown out," Carruth said. "Today, I am vindicated by Judge (Ronit) Walker’s decision. This was a frivolous complaint from the beginning that wasted time and taxpayer money so that Senator Heath might score some cheap political points.”
Carruth owns a 5,000 square foot home 1400 Paul Akin Road in Dallas outside of the 31st District and in October 2011 purchased a smaller home 625 Willow Pointe Drive in Dallas with the intent to run for office and live closer to his mother. According to documents from the hearing, Carruth provided proof of utilities that fluctuated over time, indicating varying amounts of use.
Carruth told the court that he had his voter registration changed to his new address, which is where he receives the bulk of his mail.
Heath said that he has driven by Carruth's former full-time home and seen lights on. However, Carruth said that his family leaves lights on to protect the property and that they do still use the larger house for Christmas gatherings.
In response to Heath's claim that Carruth still receives a homestead exemption for the property on Paul Akin Road, Carruth said his wife asked the Paulding County Board of Tax Assessors to remove the homestead exemption for 2012 because it no longer is used as the family's primary home.
Another complaint lodged by Heath and Houston was that Carruth owes more than $2.3 million to the federal government. Carruth said that he received a line of credit from Silverton Bank in 2007 and, at the time that the FDIC took over Silverton Bank's operations, he was "current on his obligation to the bank." He said that he never drew on his line of credit while the FDIC was the receiver nor borrow money from the FDIC.
In April, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia issued a default judgment in the amount of $2.35 million in favor of the FDIC, which was not appealed in time. Carruth said he and his wife are negotiating the debt, which Walker ruled does not involve public funds.
After the ruling, Heath said that he disagrees with the judge.
"It's just plain common sense that Carruth did not move his family out of a 5,000-square-foot mansion to a $100,000 starter home," Heath said. "And Carruth’s trail of bad debts is a disgrace to our community and would bring shame upon the State Senate if elected."
Secretary of State Brian Kemp will make a final ruling on the matter. Attached are a challenge letter written by Houston and Walker's initial decision.
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