MOULTRIE, Ga. — “For all that don’t know, I am still running this race.”
Steven Reynolds, disqualified District 1 Post 1 city council candidate, said that and announced his appeal of the disqualification in a Facebook post Thursday.
“I appealed the decision made by the newly appointed election superintendent who disqualified me,” he said in the post. “Don’t remove my signs yet.”
Reynolds was disqualified two days after a Sept. 11 hearing because he could not prove to the election superintendent’s satisfaction that he actually lived where he said he did: 424 Third Avenue N.W. The husband of incumbent Post 1 Councilwoman Lisa Clarke Hill challenged Reynolds’ candidacy, saying he actually resides outside of District 1.
Reynolds officially filed for his appeal on Sept. 20 and said he’s hoping it’ll be on the October docket. Senior Superior Court Judge Joe Bishop was designated Thursday to preside over the case, but as of Monday, the appeal hearing has yet to be scheduled.
Reynolds said he did this because there were unanswered questions by the election superintendent, Tina Coleman. In a call made to him on Sept. 25, Reynolds told The Observer some of the information in Coleman’s Sept. 13 statement was incorrect — like his driver’s license change.
“On the paper that was given to me, it had September 2019 on there, however, I went there [the Department of Driver Services] so that I could get the proof that my address was 424 [Third Avenue N.W.],” he said.
Reynolds’ license displayed a P.O. box before the address change on Sept. 11.
In accordance with DDS rules, P.O. boxes can be used as a mailing address on licenses, but a verifiable residential address must be provided for record purposes, according to their site. Reynolds said they just switched the two addresses, putting his residential address in view.
“It seemed like I changed my address [but] no, I didn’t,” he said. “If I were to have read that statement, it would look like I changed my address from 2424 Jacqueline Circle to 424 Third Avenue. That’s what you’re probably thinking. No, it wasn’t.”
Reynolds said 424 Third Avenue N.W. has been his permanent address since his birth in 1964 and when he came out of the military more than 15 years ago or around 1994, he said.
A certificate of change of name and/or address lists Reynolds as having changed his residential address to 424 Third Avenue N.W. from 2401 Sylvester Drive on Nov. 5, 2002.
He had two residence addresses found on two 1994 registration cards that list him staying at 657 Circle Road #8 and 904 Highland Boulevard on May 21 and Dec. 5 respectively.
“I might have put down Circle Road [or] Sylvester Drive, no matter what, my permanent address is 424 Third Avenue N.W.,” Reynolds said. “Now, if I put something else on there, it didn’t ask for permanent address. Any paperwork that you got where it’s your permanent address, I’m trying to dock it out.”
Jarvis Henry is a 36-year resident of 424 Third Avenue N.W. and nephew to Reynolds. He said Reynolds stayed at the address off and on as it was the family house. Reynolds confirmed this.
“You can’t say I have to lay my head there every night, but I do stay there sometimes,” he said. “That’s my home.”
He said he spent the night there intermittently at 424 Third Avenue N.W. during his marriage.
Another issue was with the 1915 Blossom Court address that Coleman’s statement said was used “to entertain ladies and visitors.” Reynolds said he used it to house his college-age nieces when hey came home.
“When they came home, that’s where they stayed at,” he said. “Not lady friends [like] I’m running a whorehouse or something.”
Another issue Reynolds had with the statement was on the topic of homesteads and him having a homestead on two houses. This was a reading error.
The statement reads as such: “Mr. Reynolds confirmed the ownership and homestead exemptions for each property.” Reynolds confirmed that he had a homestead exemption on 2424 Jacqueline Circle and that Mattie Franklin, his deceased great-grandmother, had one on 424 Third Avenue N.W.
However, this begged another question of Reynolds’ living circumstance.
According to SmartAsset, homestead exemptions are called as such “because they apply to primary residences, not rental properties or investment properties. You must live in the home to qualify for the tax break.” And only one is allowed.
Reynolds filed the exemption for the Jacqueline Circle house on Feb. 9, 2016, only a few weeks before his divorce. He said someone referred it to him as it could save him tax dollars. He said that’s not his primary residence though.
“Now I understand it, but back when I signed it, I didn’t and that’s why I never went back and changed it,” he said. “I didn’t know nothing about homestead exemptions. I told the city attorney in the hearing, you are educating me on something I didn’t even know.”
He didn’t know about the homestead on 424 Third Avenue N.W. either. Reynolds said he wasn’t and isn’t trying to do anything illegal. On Sept. 19, he took the homestead off both addresses.
Now, he just awaits his hearing.
“Win or lose, I’m still going to be Steve,” he said. “If I can help Lisa, I will help Lisa if she wins. I always have and I always will.”
Eddie Warren is also qualified in the race. At one point he told The Observer he planned to drop out but has since recanted and continues to run.