North Miami Beach Councilwoman Beth Spiegel has filed a lawsuit against her Seat 4 opponent Yvenoline Dargenson that questions her eligibility to run for office.
In her lawsuit, Spiegel claims that Dargenson violated the city charter requirement that candidates must continuously reside in North Miami Beach for one year prior to the qualifying date, which was the last week of March.
The lawsuit alleges that Dargenson has been residing at 9620 Boulder St. in Miramar and not at her North Miami Beach address of 1511 NE 161st St., which is listed as her residence on various city documents, including a signed oath of loyalty.
Dargenson and her husband, Frannix Jean-Mary, are listed as the owners on the Broward County property appraiser’s website.
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The River Run of Miramar Homeowners Association sued to foreclose upon the Miramar property in May 2012.
“She was personally served with a summons at that address, and she was served with substitute service for her husband, Frannix Jean-Mary, at that residence,” according to the lawsuit, which includes copies of the returns of service. The lawsuit also claims that since the documents were signed at the Miramar residence, it can be presumed that both she and her husband had lived there as of May 12, 2012.
The lawsuit goes on to claim that, “If this is correct, Dargenson would not be a qualified candidate for a position on the city council and no vote should be counted for her in the election of May 7, 2013.”
Dargenson denies the accusation and claims she has been living in the North Miami Beach residence long enough to meet the one-year criteria, although she refused to answer how long she has been living in the city.
“I have met the requirement,” she said.
The North Miami Beach address also shows up on a copy of her driver’s license, along with her voters registration.
Spiegel is seeking an emergency hearing on the issue.
An allegation of residency discrepancy was made by North Miami Beach resident and local blogger Stephanie Kienzle regarding Dargenson, according to a memo sent from Sgt. Richard Silberman of the North Miami Beach Police to city clerk Pamela Latimore.
Based on those allegations, Silberman conducted an investigation into Dargenson’s primary residence.
“I cannot provide positive confirmation that Ms. Yvenoline Dargenson is a bona fide resident of the city of North Miami Beach,” the document said.
Silberman conducted a check of the North Miami Beach address and was greeted by Dargenson’s father, Jean Dargenson, who stated that his daughter has lived in the residence full-time since they moved in.
Her father went on to say that his daughter “didn’t live [in Miramar] anymore” and doesn’t know what her husband does with that property.
County documents show that the family purchased the property in 1992.
Silberman then went over to the Miramar address where Dargenson’s mother, Olympia Dargenson, told him that her daughter goes back and forth to the Miramar residence regularly and that she comes to the home daily to watch her children.
A homestead exemption has been filed on the Miramar property.
Dargenson “moved out of this house approximately three to six months ago due to material issues with Dargenson’s husband, but they are trying to work things out,” according to Silberman’s memo portion about his conversation with Dargenson’s mom.
When asked, Dargenson refused to answer why her children lived at the Miramar home or any other questions regarding her connection to the residence.
“I can choose not to talk about my personal life,” she said. “I am not bringing my family into this election.”
Her mom went on to say that Dargenson moved into the North Miami Beach home after “splitting up with her husband.”
A neighbor in Miramar said he believed that Dargenson lives at the residence, while a neighbor in North Miami Beach said he knows Dargenson but doesn’t believe she lives at the residence.