UPDATE: Paul has been declared ineligible to run for the office of Ringgold mayor.
Paul Lee and I have never met.This is in no way an attack on his character. However, the evidence strongly suggests he doesn’t live in the city, which is a requirement to run for the office of Mayor in the City of Ringgold. Click the link HERE for the city code which spells out the 12 month residency requirement. Many people have approached me over the course of the last two weeks about the fact that he lives at a county residence outside the city (in what I’ve heard is an exceptionally large home) and has for quite some time. One of my jobs is to protect the citizens of Ringgold from being hoodwinked, so I did some research in public record. First, I was curious about the address he used in my neighborhood (Bluff View) in order to qualify, so I went to the tax assessor web page to look up info on who owned the house. On August 7th, 2015 the house was transferred to Paul for $0 as a gift from a family member. The link to the transfer is HERE (sale info at bottom of page). Next I went by the Registrar’s office to see when he registered to vote in the city. On August 11th, 2015 he changed his driver’s license address to my neighborhood and registered to vote in the city at that time.
Mayor Barger had also been approached by many people about his residency and wanted to challenge Paul’s candidacy formally. Collectively the Mayor, myself, and the two other candidates for Mayor have filed a challenge at City Hall on the grounds he does not meet the requirements (specifically Sec 2.11 of city code linked above) to run for Mayor. At this point, there will be a public hearing at City Hall in which Paul will have to defend his candidacy in order to have his name on the ballot. He would have an opportunity to appeal to a higher court, so the process would need to be expedited in order to have closure before ballots are made.
In such a small city, the election can be easily swayed. We deserve to have a fair election. He may or may not have a shot at winning, but if he gets even one vote, it could change the outcome of the election and make it illegitimate. When Mayor Barger won his seat, he was only 3 votes ahead of his closest rival. I was only nine votes away from 4th place when I ran for council, which would have knocked me out of having the honor to serve. As I don’t know Paul, I have nothing against him personally, but I do believe in playing by the rules. I’ll post updates along the way to keep you informed.