Broward Democrat Imtiaz Mohammad really wants to go to Tallahassee. Mohammad, publisher of the Asian Times USA, is challenging Robin Bartleman and Morey Wright for the State House District 104 seat. Rick Stark, a former Broward Republican Party Board member, currently holds the seat but term limits prevent him from seeking re-election. The District 104 seat covers western Broward including parts of Weston and Pembroke Pines.

But there’s just one problem. According to public records, Imtiaz Mohammad does not live in District 104.

Article III, Section 15 of the Florida Constitution requires state legislators to live in the district they represent.

Records show Imtiaz Mohammad lives in the city of Miramar, which is part of State House District 105.

Broward property records show Imtiaz Mohammad purchased his Miramar home in June 2015. State records show Mohammad is registered to vote at his Miramar address. Corporate records for Mohammad’s Asian Times USA list his Miramar address.

Imtiaz Mohammad even used his Miramar address when filing his District 104 paperwork.

While the Florida Constitution requires legislators to live in the district as of election day, many lawmakers regularly played this residency shell game.

RESIDENCY GAMES END?

In 2013, this reporter exposed numerous lawmakers’ violation the Florida Constitution. Records showed Perry Thurston, Joseph Gibbons, Susan Bucher, Lori Berman, Kristin Jacobs, Maria Sachs and Jared Moskowitz did not live in the Districts they were elected to represent. In response to our reports, State lawmakers created tougher guidelines to stop these residency games.

In a July 2013 letter, then-Speaker of the House Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel) and then-Senate President Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) outlined a series of steps necessary to investigate claims that a legislator is unlawfully living outside the district she represents. Weatherford and Gaetz noted, “The Florida Constitution provides that each house of the Legislature is the sole judge of the qualifications of its members.” In furtherance of that role, the leaders announced they will take the following investigative steps:

1. Ask the Florida Secretary of State to certify where each legislator is registered to vote.

2. Direct the general counsels for the House and Senate to recommend appropriate standards for determining residency.

3. Outline residency standards based on the information provided.

4. Review any legally sufficient formal complaints and act promptly to address those complaints.

REPEAT OFFENDER STATUS?

This is not the first times Imtiaz Mohammad wanted to represent a District in which he did not live. In 2018, Mohammad challenged Jared Moskowitz for the State House 97 seat. Campaign literature for Mohammad’s campaign even listed the zip codes within District 97. His own zip code was not listed.

In his District 97 campaign paperwork, Imtiaz Mohammad used the Sunrise office of the Asian Times USA as his address.

Why does Imtiaz Mohammad want to represent a District in which he does not live?

Published by Tom Lauder

Covering South Florida Politics Since 2010...As Seen On: POLITICO, The Huffington Post, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, The Miami Herald, WPLG LOCAL 10 (ABC MIAMI), The New Times

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