Ex-Anderson Mayor To 'Rule From Exile' Pending Dispute
Lawsuit Questioning Election Winner's Residency Sent To High Court
Last Updated: 1963 days ago
Though a new Anderson mayor has been inaugurated, the man he replaced says he's not officially acknowledging the change, citing a lawsuit questioning the election winner's residency.Ex-Mayor Kevin Smith on Tuesday issued a statement contending it is his constitutional duty to keep claiming the office until the lawsuit -- which alleges new Mayor Kris Ockomon wasn't an Anderson resident for a required period before the election -- is adjudicated.On Wednesday morning, a judge sent the lawsuit to the Indiana Supreme Court, asking it to appoint a special judge to the case.Ockomon, who was sworn in Tuesday, has assumed the mayor's duties and has moved into the mayor's official office. But Smith says he'll still claim the title of mayor until the lawsuit is resolved."Given the obvious potential for a vacancy in the office of mayor, I am ... announcing that I have not and will not be surrendering the office of mayor pending a determination by the courts," Smith said in the statement.The plaintiffs' attorney, Mark Regnier, said Smith intends to "rule from exile" but not "interfere with city business.""He is going to meet with his department heads and keep in touch with city business, but he is not going to interfere with city business until the courts make a decision on the merits of the case," Regnier said.The lawsuit was filed on behalf of five Anderson residents, some of whom worked in Smith's administration.Ockomon has a home in Chesterfield, though he said he began renting a home in Anderson in 2006 and lives in that Anderson home.Ockomon said his Chesterfield home will go up for auction next week, and that his family has made an offer to buy an Anderson home, 6News' Jennifer Carmack reported."I live by the letter of the law. I have met and complied by every bit of that statute" relating to residency requirements, Ockomon said Wednesday.A judge last week rejected a request to issue a temporary restraining order to keep Ockomon from taking office Tuesday.Ockomon, a city police detective, won the Nov. 6 election over Smith and two others.Smith has resumed working for the Anderson Police Department, from which he had been on leave since becoming mayor in 2004.A ruling on the lawsuit could come as early as next week, Carmack reported.