Democratic Florida House Minority Leader Perry E. Thurston Jr. was repeatedly caught living in a house outside his district. When questioned by a local TV news reporter, he admitted to doing so “occasionally” and “when I want to.”
Thurston was one of four Democratic lawmakers who were found living outside their districts in violation of the Florida Constitution, all under similar circumstances — their official, in-district residence was in each case very modest compared to their out-of-district home where their spouse and children lived, according to Local 10 News.
State Rep. Hazelle Rogers wasn’t quite as forthcoming as Thurston. She insisted that although her husband lives in a nice home outside the district, she maintains her residence at a tiny condo inside her Florida House district.
“Honestly, I live in my condo,” she told Local 10. “My husband follows me whenever he feels like it.”
Local 10 News also reported:
Sen. Maria Sachs, who was seen on undercover video staying at her $1.5 million estate in Boca Raton outside her district, said she lived in a condominium in Fort Lauderdale that is owned by a campaign aide. She now says she lives in a condominium in Delray Beach.
State Rep. Jared Moskowitz said he lives in an apartment in Coral Springs rather than the townhome at Parkland Golf and Country Club where his wife and baby live. Moskowitz says he left the apartment and now rents a home for his family in Heron Bay.
Article III, Section 15(c) of the Florida Constitution provides, “Each legislator shall be at least twenty-one years of age, an elector and resident of the district from which elected and shall have resided in the state for a period of two years prior to election.”
Senate Ethics Committee Chairman Jack Latvala is taking the matter seriously.
“I think it’s really a crying shame that we have as many as half a dozen Florida state legislators who are violating the [Florida] Constitution every single day by living outside their district,” the Clearwater Republican told Local 10 News. “I think you’ve done the people of Florida, or at least South Florida, a great service by exposing how many of these legislators are violating the constitution.”
Watch the footage, courtesy of Local 10 News.