Hearing officer to determine if Fort Myers city council candidate eligible to run

A hearing officer appointed by the City of Fort Myers heard testimony Monday regarding an allegation that a council candidate did not meet residency requirements to run for city council.

Anthony Thomas Jr. is running for Ward 2 against incumbent Councilman Johnny Streets.

Sawyer Smith, an attorney for Thomas’ cousin, presented an affidavit at the Oct. 19 council meeting, alleging Thomas did not reside at the address he provided on that document. A candidate must live at an address within Ward 2 at least six months prior to running for office.

Council voted to have the Lee County Sheriff’s Office investigate the allegation, but late Thursday, a public hearing was set regarding the allegation.

An attorney appointed to hear testimony from Smith and Thomas said he would listen to evidence and then make a recommendation to council.

Melissa Blue, a cousin of Thomas, said that Thomas did not reside at the house she shares with her parents and children on Lemon Street.

Blue claimed her cousin only sleeps at the home on Lemon Street when it’s time to vote.

Thomas objected to the validity of the hearing and called it a kangaroo court and a tribunal.

He objected to the hearing officer on record that the city council did not actually authorize this type of hearing to take place.

Thomas did not provide any evidence at Monday’s hearing. Instead, he stated the records he already submitted in his qualifying documents spoke for themselves.

He previously told WINK News his driver’s license, voter registration and other public documents list his home on Lemon Street as his residence.

Tuesday, someone at the home who did not open the door, told WINK News Melissa Blue did not live there.

Smith claimed she was kicked out of her home after members of the media showed up to talk to her.

At the hearing Monday, Blue claimed “so many” members of the media showed up.

WINK News only went to the home one time to try to speak to Blue.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Lee County Sheriff’s Office told WINK News it had not received a request by city council to investigate the situation.

The hearing officer was given a deadline of October 30 for his recommendation.

Reporter:Lauren Sweeney
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