Whether or not Antony Weissmann will be a candidate for the Hillsboro mayoral election later this year is in the Ohio Secretary of State’s hands after the Highland County Board of Elections’s vote was split two to two at Weissmann’s challenge hearing Thursday.
Weissmann submitted a water bill, registration for a trailer, two rent receipts, and two postcards addressed to him to the board as evidence of residency. Many of the materials he submitted were dated after he filled out the Declaration of Candidacy form and listed two different addresses between them, including one in the taxing district of Sinking Spring, which Weissmann confirmed as incorrect.
Weissmann said he divided his time between two addresses for the past year, keeping an upstairs apartment at 122 N. High St. in Hillsboro in a building that once housed Wanda’s Grill, while also renting an apartment at 211 S. High St. in Hillsboro. When confronted by the board about a recording in which he can be heard saying he lives in Germantown, Weissmann claimed he only said it to throw people off.
“I’ve kept my whereabouts as low key as possible and my address as protected as possible because some people have taken it upon themselves to harass the man who rented to me,” Weissmann said. “I don’t want people in town to know I was living in town because my job [was] a position [that] puts people in a situation [that] becomes adversarial.”
Asked by the board what address he gave the City of Hillsboro during his employment as city building inspector — before he was fired — Weissmann revealed that the city as well as the bank he uses only have on record post office boxes in Cincinnati, Ohio and Manassas, Va., which he claimed that other people monitor for him.
Highland County Prosecuting Attorney Anneka Collins said that the legal definition of residency is a place where you intend to return.
“Length of time is not necessarily determinative,” Collins said during the hearing. “The best example I can give is when I was at Ohio State in college, my residence was Highland County. Even though I had a utility bill up there, Highland County was home for me. I did not register to vote up there; nothing was changed to make that my home.”
Weissmann claimed that he frequently leaves the Hillsboro area in order to work as a consultant.
“I did not live here in the normal, traditional sense of the word that I’m here seven days a week because I’m working out of town on the weekends at a second job,” Weissmann said. “The specification is that I have to claim this as my residence, and I have to have a place that I return to regularly. There’s a place I’m coming back to. Do you think if I didn’t live here, and I got fired a month ago, that I’d be coming back every day or every month in between? Or that I’d have a house here in town? It’s phenomenally unbelievable.”
Before the Board voted on whether Weissmann’s name would be placed on the ballot, he said he had not had the proper time to prepare for the hearing because he’d been out of the state for the last three weeks with his son’s Boy Scout troop and had just returned to Hillsboro after driving through the night. He said that if the board wanted to extend the hearing, he’d be happy to find the appropriate materials.
But the board of elections proceeded with a vote. Board members Andrew West and Steve Hunter voted for allowing Weissmann to run for mayor, and Kay Ayres and Dinah Phillips voted against it.
That means that the Ohio Secretary of State will have the final say. A Secretary of State’s representative who was present at the hearing said that she was unsure of how long it will be before a ruling is made. As of Thursday evening, the Ohio Secretary of State’s office said it had not received anything from Highland County on the matter.
Weissmann told The Times-Gazette that even if he isn’t permitted to run this year, that won’t stop him from running for government office in the future. He went on to say, “I feel like I bring a lot to the table. Hillsboro has a lot of structural problems. That’s what I specialize in.”
Asked if getting elected into office would affect the amount of time he spends traveling,Weissmann said he wasn’t sure, but that he would probably adjust his schedule to meet the needs of the position.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.