Judge to decide today in Councilman Charlie Wilson eligibility case

Last updated: Monday, 12:20 p.m.

VERO BEACH – A ruling is expected today by Circuit Court Judge Paul Kanarek on whether Vero Beach Councilman Charlie Wilson met the eligibility requirements as laid out in the City Charter in his recent run for office.

A decision was expected by noon Monday, but so far, the judge has not filed his ruling. When that might happen remains unknown.

Kanarek heard 3 1-2 hours of testimony last week in the case brought forth by Dian George that Wilson was not a Vero Beach resident the year before filing for office for which he received the most votes in the Nov. 3 election. Should Kanarek decide against Wilson it could mean the councilman’s removal from office.

The judge would have the option of ordering a special election, awarding the seat to Ken Daige as the next highest vote-getter or leave it to the City Council to decide how to fill the seat if he were to rule Wilson did not meet the eligibility requirements as laid out in the charter.

Kanarek will rule on language in the charter pertaining to when a candidate for city council had to live in Vero Beach before running for office. The plaintiff contends Wilson had to have been a resident for at least the year immediately preceding his run for the council seat.

Wilson admits he did not live within the city limits the year before he ran, but offers an interpretation of the charter that one needed only to have lived in the city for at least a year at some time in the past – a requirement Wilson says he met.

In his first month in office Wilson has already left his mark, asking that the City Council engage in negotiations with Florida Power & Light to supply power to the city. Wilson based his campaign on such a scenario.

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