Complaint alleges Assembly candidate lives outside district

CARSON CITY – Assembly District 9 candidate Kelly Hurst filed a criminal complaint Tuesday in Clark County District Court to disqualify his opponent, Andrew Martin, from running on the grounds he does not live in the district.

"Andrew Martin says that ‘Accountability is the change we need,’ " said Hurst, a Republican, about a Martin campaign statement. "I agree! He should be accountable to the people of this district who need a representative who actually lives in the district and doesn’t just use a sham address for filing purposes."

Martin, a Democrat, insisted that he lives in a condominium in the district that he bought last year and the home that Hurst’s investigator watched is his office.

"I don’t deny I own the property, but I maintain it as my office. Eventually I am going to sell it or rent it out. These are tough economic times. I decided to downsize."

He said Hurst is "desperate" because he will lose the election, and hiring an investigator to watch him for three weeks was a waste of money.

District 9 lies in far southwestern Las Vegas, south of Flamingo Road and west of Durango Drive. The district has about 2,900 more Democrats than Republicans. Martin listed an address of 7345 S. Durango Drive when he filed for the seat, now held by Tick Segerblom, a candidate for the state Senate.

Hurst and his attorney, Frank Cremen, said Martin never moved into that condo.

"He’s cheating the people of this district," Hurst said. "They need a representative who lives in the district, experiences all their challenges and joys, and can actually address their needs, instead of someone who just gives lip service, lies to the voters and uses the power of office for his own agenda. It’s time to hold those who lie to the public and the state accountable."

In filing the complaint, Hurst included photos and an affidavit from private investigator Tom Dillard, who was hired to watch Martin’s residence for several weeks in September.

Dillard, a former Las Vegas police officer, said Martin and his partner, Dana Paul Barooshian, live at 3317 Daylight Moss St. in Assembly District 2. That home is much larger – valued at $499,000 – than the condo at 7345 S. Durango Drive, which they bought in December.

In the garage of the larger home is a plug-in charger for Martin’s 2012 Chevy Volt, according to Dillard. There is no charger at the condo complex, he reported.

The investigator took photos of Martin recharging the Chevy Volt several times, usually in the evenings. He also noted the times when Martin arrived at the home in the Chevy Volt or in a BMW, most often in the evening. Then he kept track of when Martin left the home, usually in the morning.

Based on that information, Dillard said Martin bought the Durango condo inside District 9 "with the purpose of taking advantage of an open election, therefore, deceiving the voters of District 9 as to his actual residence." But Martin said he used the charger when he went to work in his office, and such use does not prove he lives at that residence.

On his website, Martin said he and Barooshian are committed life partners who acquired a domestic partnership from the District of Columbia. Barooshian lists the Daylight Moss address as his home and owns the BMW that Dillard said he saw Martin drive.

Under state law, it is a gross misdemeanor for a candidate knowingly to give false information on a declaration of candidacy. Those who do and win their races cannot serve in the office, according to the law.

Cremen said he will ask the court to hold an expedited hearing, perhaps in the next three or four weeks. But the election is Nov. 6, and the ballot could not be changed before then even if a judge ruled against Martin.

Cremen said he will pursue the case, regardless if Martin wins or loses the election. If Martin wins, then Cremen said he will seek to have him removed from office.

He acknowledged that a hearing might not be scheduled until sometime next year after Martin already has been seated in the Legislature. If a court ordered Martin removed from office, then Cremen said there would be a special election to pick his successor.

Under the state constitution, the Legislature determines the qualifications of its members and could seat Martin even if he lives outside District 9. But because legislators passed the law making it a gross misdemeanor to live outside a district, Cremen said they would be "hypocrites" if members decided to seat Martin anyway.

In 2004, the state Supreme Court ruled that Ely Mayor Bob Miller – a past Nevada governor has the same name – could not serve in office because he had moved just outside the city limits to care for his mother. Miller moved back into the city, and the Ely City Council then selected him as his own replacement.

Then-Clark County Commissioner Lynette Boggs was indicted on criminal charges in 2007 when she listed an incorrect address in running for re-election.

Two of the charges were dropped, and she later was found guilty on two misdemeanor charges. She eventually became a lawyer in Florida. She was defeated in her re-election bid in part because of the publicity generated about her not living in the district.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3901.

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