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Is Her Home in Jersey City or Florida?
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JERSEY CITY COUNCILWOMAN NIDIA LOPEZ
HOME IS HERE, OR IT'S THERE?
Friday, July 10, 2009
By AMY SARA CLARK
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

Officials in, Fla., Hudson are trying to sort it out

Less than 24 hours after casting her vote on the Jersey City Municipal Council, Ward C Councilwoman Nidia Lopez was back in Florida yesterday, trying to convince an Orlando reporter that the Sunshine State is her home.

"Up until March of 2008, Orlando has been my real home," she told Rich McKay of the Orlando Sentinel, who caught up with her yesterday at her four-bedroom home there.

She said medical problems and her marriage to Hudson County director of Family Services Ben Lopez prevented her from traveling back and forth, so she made Jersey City her permanent home. "But this is my home, too. All my clothes are here," she added, according to the Sentinel.

But Lopez told The Jersey Journal she was "misquoted." She declined to explain what she said, or answer other questions, saying it was better for her to keep quiet during the litigation. Jimmy King, who came in second to Lopez in the Ward C election, has filed a lawsuit in Hudson County Superior Court challenging Lopez's Jersey City residency.

Lopez is apparently trying to walk a very fine line between New Jersey and Florida.

She has to prove to Orange County, Fla., officials that the Sunshine State has been her permanent home in order to qualify for the thousands of dollars in "homestead" tax exemptions she's claimed since 1997.

But she has to prove to Hudson County officials that she has lived in Jersey City for at least a full year before the May 12 municipal elections, according to her attorney, William Northgrave.

Lopez broke her silence briefly at the City Council meeting Wednesday by denying a Jersey Journal report that she voted in Orlando in 2003 while also voting in Jersey City every year between 2001 and 2009.

"I never voted in Florida in 2003," she said. Lopez said Orange County records are wrong. Orange County election officials confirmed again yesterday that their records show that Lopez voted there in the 2003 election.

Meanwhile, Mayor Jerramiah Healy broke his own silence to defend Lopez.

"In no way should Councilwoman Lopez step down," Healy said Wednesday.

"This has and continues to be a case of sour grapes on the behalf of Mr. King who is looking only to tarnish the image of our first-ever elected Latina councilwoman."

Posted on: 2009/7/10 11:17
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Re: Councilwoman Elect Lopez a Florida Resident?
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Looks like she pays FL $50,000 to take her seat in disgrace as Jersey City's first Latina councilwoman.

Is the Hispanic community really willing to back this worthless joke? I doubt it. They live in this town, pay taxes in this town, vote in this town, and die in this town.

This reverse carpetbagger disgrace should withdraw now.

But, instead, she's taking the Healy Administration line of attack and getting reinforcements from the "Change We Can Piss On" campaign.

Posted on: 2009/7/10 10:16
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Re: Councilwoman Elect Lopez a Florida Resident?
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They probably sent her back to florida to hide and stay out of site.Man i bet her attorney is pissed off.She may have hung herself today.

Posted on: 2009/7/10 3:05
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Re: Councilwoman Elect Lopez a Florida Resident?
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If all her clothes are there, doesn't that make Orlando her primary residence?

Posted on: 2009/7/10 2:46
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Re: Councilwoman Elect Lopez a Florida Resident?
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No, the best line is: "And I got a new husband, so I live up there now [Jersey City]."

Posted on: 2009/7/10 2:41
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Re: Councilwoman Elect Lopez a Florida Resident?
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The best line in the Orlando Sentinel story: "But this (Orlando) is my home too. All my clothes are here." Get some up here for the parade next month.

Posted on: 2009/7/10 2:34
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Re: Councilwoman Elect Lopez a Florida Resident?
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Thanks Shadow,none of my teenagers were home to show me how to do that.

Is this story just uneffen believable or what.

Posted on: 2009/7/10 2:15
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Re: Councilwoman Elect Lopez a Florida Resident?
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Orlando woman must decide whether to call Sunshine State or Garden State home
Tax exemptions, City Council seat hang in the balance


Rich McKay Sentinel Staff Writer
July ORLANDO - Where does Nidia Lopez really live -- in Orlando's MetroWest neighborhood or along the Hudson River in New Jersey?

A Jersey City council seat hangs on that question.

So does $33,000 or more in taxes that Lopez, 59, might have to pay to Orange County if she claimed both cities as her home.

Questions about Lopez's residency could threaten her win, just a week after she was sworn in to the Ward C seat.

In May, Lopez, a medical business consultant, became the first Hispanic woman elected to the Jersey City Council.

Lopez attended her second Jersey City Council meeting Wednesday night.

By noon Thursday, she had traveled the 1,000 miles or so to her Orlando home in the Bardmoor section of MetroWest.

"Up until March of 2008, Orlando has been my real home," Lopez told the Orlando Sentinel Thursday afternoon.

"Then I had two operations, and I couldn't keep going back and forth all the time," she said.

"And I got a new husband, so I live up there now [Jersey City].

But this is my home too. All my clothes are here."

Lopez referred further questions to her attorney, William Northgrave, who said he would not comment on an open case.

After receiving two anonymous tips on June 1, the Orange County Property Appraiser's Office launched an investigation into whether Lopez has been falsely claiming a homestead tax exemption.

Violations of that law are considered a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.

To qualify for homestead exemption, the rules say you must be a permanent Florida resident living in that home as your primary residence as of Jan. 1 of that year.

If either changes, you must notify the county.

The office vigorously pursues false homestead-exemption claims, said Michael Prestridge chief deputy property appraiser.

A link on its Web site allows people to anonymously report violators.

Penalties includes the exempted taxes, plus another 50 percent of that amount, as well as 15 percent interest compounded annually, he said.

Lopez's opponent in the New Jersey race, Jimmy King, filed a civil lawsuit in Hudson County, N.J., challenging her residency in the Garden State and the outcome of the May election.


King's attorney, Alexander W. Booth, said it's a simple case of right and wrong.

"People can have all the residences that they can afford, but they can't select more than one as your official permanent residence," he said.

"You can't claim to be a resident of one state so you can run for office and claim to be a resident of another state for the tax breaks."

Property appraiser records show that Lopez and her former husband, Karl Boehringer built their Orlando house in 1997, the same year she registered to vote in Orange County.

Records in New Jersey, including voting records examined by The Jersey Journal newspaper, show that Lopez established a Jersey City address in 2001 and has voted there in almost every election since then.

Orange County election records show that Lopez voted in Orlando's 2003 municipal election that ushered in Buddy Dyer as Orlando's mayor.

Neither New Jersey nor Florida allows people to be registered to vote in more than one place.

Lopez told The Jersey Journal: "I never voted in Florida in 2003."

Ion Sancho, elections supervisor in Leon County and an elections expert, said that as a practical matter, Lopez isn't likely to get in any trouble in Florida for having voted in New Jersey.

"Voting laws are patchwork at best among different states," Sancho said.

"There are huge gaps in the law. [To prosecute] the law here requires that you intended to commit voter fraud. If you just say you didn't know or made a mistake, there's no case."

Information from The Jersey Journal of Jersey City, N.J. was used in this report. Rich McKay can be reached at rmckay@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5470.

Posted on: 2009/7/10 2:07
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Re: Councilwoman Elect Lopez a Florida Resident?
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If you go to the web site of the orlando sentinel newspaper they have just posted a story on lopez.Please someone post the link to the story here.

Seems after voting for a tax increase in jersey city last night she flew back to orlando by breakfast.The reporter went to her home today to tell her she may owe as much as 33,000 in back taxes and she had the nerve to tell him she only moved to jersey city in march of 2008.

Meaning she doesn't owe the tax money because she lived in Florida but claims she is eligable to be a councilwomen because she moved here exactly one year prior to the election.Than why did she vote here since 1997.

She can't seem to keep her lies straight.

Posted on: 2009/7/10 1:39
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Re: Councilwoman Elect Lopez a Florida Resident?
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Ms. Lopez stated today she never voted in Florida in 2003. Linda Tenko of the Orange County Board of elections said she did vote in Florida in 2003. So now it gets hotter for Ms. Lopez. Healy supports Lopez proclaiming her the city's first Latina Councilwoman. So according to Healy she gets a free pass. Whatarollmodel.

Posted on: 2009/7/9 23:54
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Re: Councilwoman Elect Lopez a Florida Resident?
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Quote:
Nidia Lopez changed her license to NJ to qualify for a city car. Yvonne


Seriously...JC councilpeople get free cars? And I assume a gas allowance, too? Why?

Please enlighten me more - what other perks do they receive? This is unbelievable.

Posted on: 2009/7/9 22:45
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Re: Councilwoman Elect Lopez a Florida Resident?
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Not to mention her people were aggressively campaigning outside of my polling place on election day... shoving postcards at me and shouting.

Posted on: 2009/7/9 20:49
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Re: Councilwoman Elect Lopez a Florida Resident?
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Nidia Lopez changed her license to NJ to qualify for a city car.
Yvonne

Posted on: 2009/7/9 20:33
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Re: Councilwoman Elect Lopez a Florida Resident?
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TBG - do you care when she gets the NJ drivers license? Because that didn't happen until June 15 - five weeks after the election.

Posted on: 2009/7/9 3:02
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Re: Councilwoman Elect Lopez a Florida Resident?
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residency laws??? I would suspect that some form of state sanctioned identification (i.e. driver's license) showing your current address in the state might be one... I would think you might need a notarized document that might have your New Jersey address to get on the ballot??? Of course if you are on the Mayor's slate... those are mere technicalities, that only apply to everyone else.....

Posted on: 2009/7/9 2:57
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Re: Councilwoman Elect Lopez a Florida Resident?
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mrrogers wrote:
Bump this up till phone numbers can be added that people can call to protest and tell her she should resign.Tonight this women who pays less tax than us in florida,votes in florida and pays less car insurance in florida just voted for a major tax increase in Jersey City.


well said .... her election is disgusting, and she does not even address the topic.

there is no reason why we should not be proud of her and her accomplishment.

Posted on: 2009/7/9 2:30
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Re: Councilwoman Elect Lopez a Florida Resident?
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This is now an issue in the election for governor:

http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/20 ... is_jersey_city_counc.html

Posted on: 2009/7/9 1:42
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Re: Councilwoman Elect Lopez a Florida Resident?
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Bump this up till phone numbers can be added that people can call to protest and tell her she should resign.Tonight this women who pays less tax than us in florida,votes in florida and pays less car insurance in florida just voted for a major tax increase in Jersey City.

Posted on: 2009/7/9 0:27
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Re: Councilwoman Elect Lopez a Florida Resident?
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I actually thought that the residency requirements were even looser, something about being in the state during the election. I don't believe the Clinton's owned property in NY until after they left the White House. And it would be difficult to say they were NY residents while they lived in DC. And yes the liberal environment played a part in it, but so did residency.

Regardless this is off topic and old news. This current scandal, there is no way this women can be a city councilperson. It seems that she didn't meet very basic criteria for being an elected official.

Posted on: 2009/7/8 17:16
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Re: Councilwoman Elect Lopez a Florida Resident?
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This is the only thing I've been able to come across that has any reference to residency requirements: http://www.state.nj.us/state/election ... ological-guide-060509.pdf

P. 21 seems to indicate (depending on your interpretation of "Independent Election" and "other" for officeholder) that you need to be a resident for a minimum of 1 year to be elected to municipal council in NJ.

NY may have loose residency standards (1 year), but at least Hillary met them. I'd bet the liberal environment and prominence of NY had a lot more to do with her choice of NY than if, say Alabama or Oklahoma had even looser residency requirements.... Just a hunch.

Posted on: 2009/7/8 16:48
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Re: Councilwoman Elect Lopez a Florida Resident?
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What are the actual residency requirements to be a JC councilperson? Some states have very relaxed residency requirements. NY comes to mind, that is how Hillary was elected senator, and one of the reasons she picked NY.

Posted on: 2009/7/8 15:31
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Re: Councilwoman Elect Lopez a Florida Resident?
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She will be our next mayor.

Posted on: 2009/7/8 13:27
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Re: Councilwoman Loquat Breaks Election Law
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The only thing showing residency here is her voting record here, which is more frequent than in FL.

If she filed a homestead rebate here, that might show residence in NJ, and more fraud!

Hmmm. So she wants to pay Florida's low taxes rather than here, where it supports our schools. Ms. Loquat, you pitiful disgrace, quit now. You'll be forced to either pay FL in full to take your seat, and then take it in disgrace... Or abandon the seat and claim FL residency.

Since your political future is already worthless: take the money and run. Again.

Posted on: 2009/7/8 13:06
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Re: Councilwoman Loquat Breaks Election Law
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So this is the person who replaced the 'pissing-on-your-head' Steve Lipski....

It never freaking ends here, does it?

And now this resident of Florida is going to vote to increase our taxes.

How many of these incidents are needed before there is a revolt? Or at least a Federal investigation into JC City Hall as a whole?

Posted on: 2009/7/8 12:30
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Re: Councilwoman Loquat Breaks Election Law
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Just the tip of the iceberg. More to come.

Posted on: 2009/7/8 1:47
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Re: Councilwoman Loquat Breaks Election Law
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Looks like things keep getting more interesting for the Councilwoman........


Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez didn't get a New Jersey driver's license until after election
by Amy Sara Clark / The Jersey Journal
Tuesday July 07, 2009, 6:06 PM

Amy Sara Clark / The Jersey Journal
Newly sworn in Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez at her first City Council meeting on July 1, 2009 at Jersey City Hall. Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez had an out of state driver's license until June 15, when she switched it to New Jersey, a Motor Vehicle Commission spokesman said.

State records do not indicate where Lopez had her license before, the spokesman said, but it is likely her former license was from Florida, where she owns a 4-bedroom home.

Lopez was sworn in as Ward C Councilwoman July 1. She was elected to the office May 12.

Last week, The Jersey Journal reported Florida officials are investigating whether Lopez improperly received tax exemptions for her Orlando home between 1997 and 2008. They denied her claim for 2009.

The investigation came to light after Jimmy King, who finished second to Lopez in May's municipal election in Ward C, filed a lawsuit in Hudson County Superior Court challenging Lopez's Jersey City residency.

Yesterday the Jersey Journal reported that Lopez has violated Florida law by being registered to vote in Orlando at the same time she's registered to vote in Jersey City and by voting in both places in 2003, according to a Florida official

Posted on: 2009/7/7 23:08
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Re: Councilwoman Loquat Breaks Election Law
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It's amazing what kind of garbage floats to the surface after a Jersey City election... The Council knew about the tax increase and it was never talked about with any substance by the candidates or the mayor... I suspect this Lopez story was common knowledge too... why the media / other candidates sat on these stories and let the whole Healy slate get (re)elected makes you sick...

Posted on: 2009/7/7 23:01
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Re: Councilwoman Loquat Breaks Election Law
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With a tax hike looming it's disconcerting to know that Lopez will be voting on and for it so she should definitely sit on the sidelines until her status is determined. Her financial records should be checked like how much shopping and spending did she do and when in the State of Florida. Just when did she arrive here and all that.

Posted on: 2009/7/7 22:07
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Re: Councilwoman Loquat Breaks Election Law
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First she accepted the homestead rebate from Florida which can only be taken if your primary residence is Florida.Thats Fraud.

Second,She is registered to vote in both Florida and Jersey and voted in both places in 2003.That is Voter fraud.

She also has her license and car insurance in florida which if she really does live in Jersey City would make that Insurance Fraud.

She can't have it both ways.

Posted on: 2009/7/7 21:06
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Re: Councilwoman Loquat Breaks Election Law
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Quote:

PBW wrote:
if it's true, she's either an outright lawbreaker or an idiot, neither fit for office.


You're forgetting this is JC, they're both virtually qualifications for office. If only she were a drunk it would be a trifecta.

Posted on: 2009/7/7 19:00
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