Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The game continues...

Amherst Board of Registrars
Town of Amherst

Under the General Laws of Massachusetts Chapter 51: Section 48 please consider this a formal complaint regarding the registered voter status of Robie Hubley (also an Amherst Town Meeting member) and his spouse Anne Awad (also a Select Board member.)

On April 10’Th Mr. Hubley freely signed a ‘Declaration of Homestead” for a recently purchased estate--twice the size and value of their Amherst condo--at 4 Jewett Lane, South Hadley. That notarized one-page legal document clearly states: “I own and am possessed and occupy said premises as a residence and homestead.”

Mr. Hubley and Ms. Awad also both signed a mortgage with Florence Savings Bank (an FDIC institution) for the property in South Hadley containing the following provision: ‘Occupancy: Borrower shall occupy, establish, and use the Property as Borrower’s principal residence within 60 days after the executions of this Security Instrument.” That residency deadline passed on June 10.

In response to this legal information going public, the couple published a Letter in the Amherst Bulletin declaring: “The homestead declaration, cited frequently by this newspaper as proof that we are already living in South Hadley, was an error on our part. We were unaware that such protection can only apply to one’s primary residence. We removed the homestead declaration as soon as we realized the error. It now applies only to our Amherst home as it has for years."

But according to a check of the Registry of Deeds this morning the Homestead for the South Hadley residency was never “removed” and is still in legal effect. No such Homestead exists for any location in the town of Amherst. And the state only allows one Homestead per couple.

The couple is also actively trying to sell their North East Street condominium.

Ms. Awad’s Select board seat will be more expensive to fill via a standalone Special Election, and the deadline to piggyback her open seat on the already scheduled September 16’th primary ballot (resulting in significant savings to taxpayers) is fast approaching.

I ask for a speedy resolution to this matter.


Larry J, Kelley
Signed and sworn under the penalties of perjury


anonymous said...

Nice letter. Hopefully, the response will include (1) a decision supported by (2) a statement of the facts, a statement of (3) the requirements to hold an elected office, a description of (4) how residency affects one status as a registered voter.

Who is on the Amherst Board of Registrars?

LarryK4 said...

The Registrar of Voters is made up of four individuals—three appointed by the Select Board and the Town Clerk (who is appointed by the Town Manager). Current make up includes Harry Oldham Brooks (D), Joyce Crouch (Republican) Gladys Rodriguez (D) and Town Clerk Sandra Burgess.

The town clerk said when it comes to a vote she will let the other three decided so that way you can’t get a tie vote (unless one abstains I guess).

Yeah, Mr. Brooks concerns me as he is a friend of Awad and the number one enemy of the July 4’Th Parade, a private committee I served on for six years.

But at least at the hearing they will be under oath. It is one thing to lie to the readers of the Amherst Bulletin and another thing altogether to lie under oath.

Mary E.Carey said...

Is that your cat, Larry?! If so, hope we'll be seeing more of him or her.

LarryK4 said...

Hey Mary,
No, I stole that off google images although my two cats are real killers.

We have a family of woodchucks in the backyard they are eyeing with bad intent.

Anonymous said...

Gladys Rodriguez is a by-the-book procedure person. You will get a fair hearing if she is on that board.

anonymous said...

My concern is that the Registrar of Voters will treat it as a narrow question and decide that Ms. Awad and Mr. Hubley’s voter registrations are valid because they currently own the Amherst condo with which their Amherst voter registration is associated, and disregard whether they’ve already relocated to South Hadley and disregard their legally binding commitment to be a primary resident in South Hadley that provides them with Homestead liability protection on their South Hadley residence.

I’m concerned the Registrar of Voters won’t consider the question of their intent to be residents of South Hadley, to have already placed their Amherst condo on the market; whether they’ve moved all of their possessions to their new home and whether it is their intention to use a loophole that allows them to be residents of South Hadley and keep their official positions in Amherst Town government, representing people in a town in which they do not live, because their voter registrations are technically in tact.

We’ll just have to wait and see. When’s the hearing? Is it open?

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, all of that concerns me as well. They will be given the benefit of the doubt. Kind of like boxing against a World Champ. You have to more than just barely beat them.

But if the condo sells in the next week or two...

Don't know yet when the Hearing is as the Registrar of Voters have no set schedule to meet and do so on an "as needed" basis.

They can have a lawyer (probably the Town Attorney at taxpayer expense) and I can have one as well.

Main thing is they will be placed under oath. And yeah, it damn well better be open.