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Questions Surround Rep. Rashad Taylor's Residency
By Matthew Cardinale, News Editor, The Atlanta Progressive News (June 11, 2012)
READ THE ARTICLE ON APN'S WEBSITE BY CLICKING HERE
(APN) ATLANTA -- Numerous questions surround the residency of State Rep. Rashad Taylor (D-Atlanta), and the legislator has not maintained complete records of his address with the office of the Secretary of State of Georgia, Atlanta Progressive News has learned.
APN began its inquiry into Rep. Taylor's many addresses in January 2011, when Atlanta Public Schools parents Allison Adair and Kim Kahwach filed an ethics complaint claiming that Rep. Taylor and former APS Board of Education Chairman Khaatim El had violated APS conflict of interest policies.
Kahwach said it was common knowledge at APS that Taylor and El had been living together. So when Taylor sought a legal opinion from the Georgia House of Representatives regarding the APS BOE Takeover by the Gang of Five, an opinion which benefitted El, Adair and Kahwach raised the concern that it was a conflict of interest because Taylor and El would qualify as relatives under the APS Charter.
The APS Ethics Committee chose not to take up the complaint. However, when Kahwach began researching the question of where Taylor lived, she unearthed more questions than answers.
First, all of Rep. Taylor's qualifying forms, disclosures, and listings on the Legislature's website, and numerous other records listed a PO Box address for Taylor--PO Box 11078, Atlanta, GA 30310--rather than a physical address.
Then, Kahwach used a paid online search service to attempt to find a physical address for Taylor; however, she says the search only turned up addresses in Washington, DC.
APN searched the Whitepages.com website and found an address listed for Taylor at 1070 Harwell St., Atlanta, GA, 30314.
A source who lives around the corner from that address told APN that Taylor moved into that address in 2008, shortly before he ran for the first time for State House District 55. However, the source said that Taylor left the address shortly after the election and that they have not seen him in the neighborhood since then.
"After the election, he disappeared," the person said.
APN emailed Taylor on January 19, 2011, seeking clarification, but received no response.
APN emailed Taylor again yesterday, June 10, 2012, again seeking clarification, but received no response, even though Taylor has responded to APN recently regarding other matters such as APN's candidate questionnaire.
It would seem that if Rep. Taylor had nothing to hide, he would have been happy to clarify questions about where he lives and has lived over the last few years.
Recently, APN obtained a copy Rep. Taylor's voter file, which includes a listing of all changes of address Taylor filed with the Secretary of State's office since he has been registered to vote in Georgia.
On January 24, 2004, Taylor filed a change of address to reflect a move from 1080 Oak Street Atlanta GA 30314, to 150 Peyton Place SW Apt. 301E Atlanta GA 30311.
Then, on June 11, 2008, Taylor filed a change of address to reflect a move from 1037 Oglethorpe Atlanta GA, to 1070 Harwell St. Atlanta GA 30314.
However, Taylor never filed a change of address to reflect a change from Peyton Place to 1037 Oglethorpe, meaning that he appears to have been registered to vote at Peyton Place from January 2004 to June 2008, even though by his own admission, during some portion of that time, he lived at 1037 Oglethorpe.
Then, on October 05, 2009, Taylor filed a change of address to reflect a move from 1070 Harwell St, to 917 Oglethorpe Ave., Atlanta GA 30310.
917 Oglethorpe Ave. is the address for Angela Brown, who ran for an open seat on the APS BOE when Khaatim El resigned last year. Brown, El, Taylor, and State Sen. Vincent Fort have all been part of a political clique, helping each other get elected, for several years.
Another source familiar with the matter spoke with a neighbor of Angela Brown, who said that they had not seen Taylor living there.
The neighbor went on to question Brown about it, and Brown later showed the neighbor a utility bill in Taylor's name and some of Taylor's clothes in the closet, according to the source who spoke with the neighbor. However, it is not clear whether Taylor has actually been residing there in terms of sleeping there and physically spending time there.
The source also said they had spoken with Taylor and that Taylor told them that he had recently lived in a condo at the Sky Lofts. The address for the Sky Lofts is 898 Oak Street SW Atlanta, GA 30313.
The source also said that Taylor told them that his male lover lives off of Moreland Avenue, which would be outside District 55. It's not clear whether Taylor resides there or not.
Meanwhile, the source who lives near 1070 Harwell St., told APN that another person had told them that Taylor lived not at the Sky Lofts, but near the Sky Lofts and Joseph E. Lowery Blvd., also outside of District 55.
When Khaatim El qualified in 2009, he used an address at 1286 West Fair Street SW Atlanta, GA 30314. While it was common knowledge at APS that Taylor and El lived together at some point, it is not clear when or whether it was at that address.
None of the addresses at Sky Lofts, near Sky Lofts, off of Moreland Avenue, or on West Fair Street are reflected in Taylor's voter file, however.
When Kahwach contacted the Legislature in 2011 to inquire about Taylor's use of a PO Box for qualifying, she says that she was told that the Democratic Party of Georgia is responsible for certifying the address and that a physical address is not required.
Kahwach believes that the law should be changed to require the disclosure of such addresses in the future.