Paper: Carruth's Candidacy Challenged
Campaign officials for State Senate candidate Bill Carruth say the challenge is "without merit."
A Dallas resident is challenging the qualifications of one of the three men seeking a State Senate seat that covers Paulding County.
According to a report Wednesday by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jim Galloway in his Political Insider column, a letter challenging Bill Carruth’s candidacy was submitted to Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office earlier today. Carruth, along with J.K. Rogers, are challenging Bill Heath, R-Bremen, for the State Senate’s District 31 seat.
According to a letter provided to the AJC, and later forwarded to Dallas-Hiram Patch by the Heath campaign, Dallas resident Bill Houston asserts 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. A copy of the letter, as submitted by the Heath campaign, is attached to this article. An attempt by Dallas-Hiram Patch to obtain a copy of the original challenge letter from the Secretary of State's office was not met by a response from state officials as of 6 p.m. Wednesday.
“This challenge is based on the fact that Mr. Carruth has not been a legal resident of the territory embraced within Senate District 31 for at least one year prior to the election as required by the Georgia Constitution...” the letter states. “It is also based on the fact that Mr. Carruth is the holder of public monies illegally in violation of the Georgia Constitution ... Attached to this letter are two documents confirming that Mr. Carruth and his wife, Laura, owe the federal government, and thus the taxpayers, $2,351,661.86.
“The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) sued Mr. Carruth in federal court for his default on a loan. Judge Stephen Jones issued the default judgment against Mr. Carruth and his wife on April 27, 2012. On May 30, 2012, Judge Jones also issued a writ of execution directing the U.S. Marshall's Office to enforce and satisfy a judgment for payment of money owed to the FDIC...
“In sum, Mr. Carruth is the holder of public monies illegally, and, unless he can demonstrate the ability to satisfy this debt to the federal government in full or that a payment plan has been established with the FDIC, he is ineligible to hold or seek public office in Georgia.”
Carruth and his fellow candidates addressed the issue of office holders and candidates owing outstanding taxes. At Tuesday night’s District 31 debate in Dallas, from which Dallas-Hiram Patch brought you live coverage, the first question the candidates were asked was if they owed any outstanding taxes to the state or federal government. All three candidates responded in the negative.
“I don’t owe the federal government, county government, state government, anybody, any taxes. I’ve always fulfilled mine, and I will always continue to,” Carruth said in response to the question.
See the video of Carruth’s response and that of his opponents attached to this article.
"This complaint is baseless and without merit,” said Chip Lake, a spokesman for Carruth, in an email to Dallas-Hiram Patch Wednesday afternoon. He added that the campaign would issue a formal response early next week.
Heath released a statement regarding the challenge to Carruth’s candidacy late Wednesday afternoon.
“The facts are clear. Bill Carruth is not a resident of the 31st Senate District,” Heath said in the release. “Worse than his violation of residency laws is the $2.35 million he owes to the taxpayers of the United States of America. … I hope the legal process will work as intended and honor the trust of the citizens of our great state.”
Return to Dallas-Hiram Patch for updates to this story.
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