Democrat Roxanne Y. Valies wants Broward voters to send her to Tallahassee to represent District 95 in the Florida House of Representatives. This largely minority district includes Lauderdale Lakes, Lauderhill and North Lauderdale. Just one small problem: according to numerous Federal, State and local records, Roxanne Y. Valies does not live in District 95.
The Florida Constitution requires all state legislators to live in the House or Senate district they represent. Since 2013, this reporter has exposed numerous politicians violating the residency requirement. These politicians included State Sen. Maria Sachs, Rep. Lori Berman, Rep. Perry Thurston, Rep. Jared Moskowitz, Rep. Alan Williams, and Hazelle Rogers, the current representative of District 95.
As first reported in April 2013, Rogers owns a large home with her husband outside the District she represents, but claims she is living in a small, older condominium within her district.
In 2008, Rogers listed a Lauderdale Lakes house in District 94 as her official mailing address. The 2,184-square foot home is owned by Rogers and her husband, Clifton. Records from the Florida Division of Elections show the Rogers home is the current official address for Premier Group Enterprises, Inc. Documents filed on April 17, 2012 show Rogers and her husband are officers of the corporation.
In campaign documents filed with the State Division of Elections, Rogers now lists a small Lauderdale Lakes condominium in District 95 as her address. Broward Property Appraiser records confirm Rogers owns a 944-square foot condominium built around 1970. Although Rogers and her husband still own a house that is much nicer and more than twice the size of the 944-square-foot condominium, Rogers claims she meets the Florida Constitution’s residency requirements, insisting she uses the small condominium as her primary residence.
In March 2014, the Florida Legislature and Governor Rick Scott took steps to end this residency game. Joint Rule 7 of the Joint Rules of the Florida Legislature Resolution states,” A member shall be a legal resident and elector of his or her district at the time of election and shall maintain his or her legal residence within that district for the duration of his or her term of office. While a member may have multiple residences, he or she shall have only one legal residence. The legal residence of a member at a designated location is demonstrated by a totality of the circumstances.”
The Joint Resolution lists several factors to determine legal residence. These include the “abandonment of a prior legal residence” by selling that residence or giving up “rights and privileges” regarding the other residence. Other factors include voter registration records, bank records, homestead tax exemptions, and receipt of mail. The location of a legislator’s spouse and minor children can also be a factor.
Each lawmaker will be required to affirm, in writing, that he or she resides within the district. If evidence shows a lawmaker does not reside within the district, the legislature, acting as the sole judge in residency matters, will determine a vacancy has occurred.
Valies currently resides in House District 97, represented by Democrat Jared Moskowitz. According to the Broward County Property Appraiser (BCPA), Valies has owned a spacious Sunrise townhome since 1998. Valies receives the full Homestead tax exemption at this address.
BCPA records show Valies has owned a much smaller Lauderhill condominium since 2003.
While her official campaign documents filed with the State of Florida show a Tamarac address, voter registration websites show Valies is still registered to vote at her Sunrise home.
Corporate documents Valies filed with the State also use her Sunrise address.
Federal campaign records from 2012 and 2014 show Valies made contributions to the Obama Victory Fund and the Democrat Executive Committee of Florida. These contributions list Valies address in Sunrise.
Of course, Valies simply needs to reside in District 95 on the day of her election. Will she actually move into her small condo?
Or will she play the residency games perfected by Hazelle Rogers?
After all, Valies was recently an official with the Lauderhill Regional Chamber Of Commerce. Even though she lives in Sunrise.