Records show mayor flaunting residency requirement - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Records show mayor flaunting residency requirement

(Source: WOIO) (Source: WOIO)
LINNDALE, OH (WOIO) -

We watched as Ashlee McLaughlin left a home she shares with a man she describes as a onetime boyfriend named Andy Baker. 

The home is on Clifton Boulevard in Cleveland.  One problem with that.  McLaughlin is the mayor of Linndale, and from our observations, she doesn't live in the village as required in article four of the Village charter. 

It says the Mayor "shall continue to be a resident of the Village throughout his or her term of office."

She was confronted about her residency by Councilman Tyler Newark at a recent meeting and replied, “Before we go too far down this road, what is it you're actually asking?”  

Newark responded, “If you actually live in the Village.” 

The Mayor responded “I do” and continued adding she is in the Village “Quite often.”

So where does the mayor actually live? 

We reviewed weeks of surveillance video of the Linndale home the mayor and Andy Baker say is their residence. There was no activity there for at times weeks. 

At 5:15 p.m. on May 30, Memorial Day, Baker arrived and began to plant some flowers.  The next day, he mowed nearly foot-long grass.  After a time, he did other yard work while the mayor took a turn on the riding mower. 

At the end of the day, they put a garbage can out.  Five days later, a neighbor, also a council member and ally of the mayor took the can in.  She did it more than once.  The grass grew and grew for about three weeks before they came back and mowed again.

On June 28, the mayor and Baker dropped her car off in Linndale, giving the impression she was home. 

The next day, we knocked on the door and found no one home.  Our repeated attempts to contact the mayor in Linndale failed. 

We left contact information in person with the police chief, and with Andy Baker to relay to the mayor and got no response from McLaughlin.

Long grass, abandoned cars on a property, even video doesn't prove a person doesn't live there.  So what other evidence could be found to prove the Mayor's claim is all wet. 

We reviewed her water records for the past year.  The Linndale home the mayor says is her residence is still in the name of her mother, Mary Ann McLaughlin, who died in 2009.  We found that little or no water was used at the home month after month. 

From February to May of 2015 no water used.  Just 200 gallons during the entire three months of summer,  100 gallons in the fall, and none from November until now.  Not a drop billed for in more than seven months.

We also reviewed property records and found not a penny in property tax has been paid since roughly the time the mayor's mother Mary Ann McLaughlin died.  The home is in her name.  There is an outstanding balance of more than $14,000.

And what does the law say?  A check with the Secretary of State's Office says the Village Charter is the determining factor in a candidates ability to run for and hold office. 

Again, Linndale's says the mayor "shall continue to be a resident of the village throughout his or her term of office.

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