Community News - Latest

North Miami Beach

North Miami Beach runoff election may be in judge’s hands

 

parafshar@gmail.com

North Miami Beach’s runoff election will be held Tuesday, but with one caveat: The city’s canvassing board cannot certify the official results until further order from the courts.

Judge Darrin Gayles of the 11th Judicial Circuit Court made that decision Monday after a hearing in which Seat 4 candidate Yvenoline Dargenson’s residency came under question due to a lawsuit filed by her opponent North Miami Beach Councilwoman Beth Spiegel. A hearing to decide on further action was set for Wednesday, but a time had not been determined as of Tuesday afternoon.

In her lawsuit, Spiegel alleged that Dargenson violated the city charter requirement that candidates must continuously reside in North Miami Beach for one year prior to the qualifying date.

The suit claims that Dargenson has been residing at an address on Boulder Street in Miramar and not at her North Miami Beach address on Northeast 161st Street, which is listed as her residence on various city documents, including a signed oath of loyalty.

“I simply do not find Ms. Dargenson’s testimony to be credible,” Gayles said.

He said that she “backtracked” during her testimony and pointed to the evidence produced in the case as cause to question her residency.

Evidence presented against Dargenson included banking statements, insurance policies and other documents that list the Miramar address as Dargenson’s primary address.

She was also questioned about her marriage, finances, work life and other personal details, such as her three daughters and husband living in Miramar.

Dargenson claims that material issues have kept her family from living in the same home.

“We discussed it, and we wanted the kids in Miramar,” Dargenson said after the hearing, adding that she listed that address out of convenience, not because she lives at that address.

Dargenson maintains that she has been a North Miami Beach resident for about 20 years.

She points to her driver's license and voter's registration listing North Miami Beach as her address.

Dargenson wasn't the only one to take the stand on Monday.

Two men who claimed to be Dargenson's neighbors testified that she lived at the North Miami Beach address.

However, the judge raised doubts about the testimony of both neighbors.

Following the hearing, Joe Geller, an attorney representing Spiegel, said he was “grateful” for the results.

“We appreciate the judge’s time; we appreciate his thoroughness,” Geller said.

Dargenson's attorney Frank Wolland said he was disappointed with the ruling and believes the judge “did not properly look at the evidence.”

“Ultimately, I think, the voters will understand and accept that Ms. Dargenson does live in North Miami Beach — she has lived there for the past 20 years,” Wolland said. “The judge’s ruling was not accurate, and hopefully that can be straightened out.”

Read more Community News - Latest stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK