SHEFFIELD TWP. — A formal complaint questioning whether Lorain school board member Paul Biber lives at the home he owns on East 29th Street was filed Friday with the Lorain County Board of Elections.
Denise Caruloff, a Lorain resident who is challenging Biber’s residency, also has filed a complaint over whether Lorain Service Director Robert Gilchrist voted in the wrong place four times over the past two years.
Biber’s residency was reviewed by the elections board in 2007 when he successfully ran for his first term on the board, and he provided documentation showing that he had rented an apartment in Lorain, which he believed ended the matter.
But Caruloff said she’s long harbored suspicions over where Biber lives.
“It just seems, on paper, that is not his primary residence on East 29th Street,” she said.
Caruloff points to documentation filed with the Lorain County Auditor’s Office in 2008, when Biber purchased the East 29th Street property, that declared it wasn’t his primary residence. The paperwork wasn’t filled out by Biber himself, but failing to declare the property his primary residence cost him a 2.5 percent rollback on his property taxes.
Instead, Biber and his wife were receiving the rollback, which is designated only for owner-occupied homes, on two adjacent properties they own in Sheffield Lake.
The auditor’s office sent the Bibers a letter Thursday asking them to declare whether the home they own on Lake Road or the one they own on Harris Road is their primary residence. They will lose the tax break on one of the properties, according to the letters.
Biber said the Harris Road house is a rental property, while his wife and children, who are graduates of Lorain Schools, live on Lake Road. The tax break saves the couple $142.98 annually on the Lake Road house and $141.22 on the Harris Road property.
Elections board Director Paul Adams said Caruloff’s complaint about Biber has been forwarded to county Prosecutor Dennis Will’s office to make sure it’s been properly prepared. If it is, he said, a hearing on the matter will need to be on or before Aug. 8.
Biber said he doesn’t understand why the issue has resurfaced, particularly since he purchased a home in Lorain so he would have a residence there that he paid taxes on. Before that, he said, the elections board determined that his rented apartment was acceptable to make him a registered voter and eligible to run for school board.
“I moved into the city and established a residence, end of story,” Biber said.
Biber acknowledged that he isn’t the only one who’s called the East 29th property home since he bought it. He estimated perhaps 10 friends or family members have been his roommates in that time.
Among them is P.J. Carter, who works as a public information officer for Lorain Schools. Biber said he abstained from voting on whether to hire Carter when it came before the board earlier this year because he’s known Carter since he coached him when he was a child.
He also said Carter is in the process of moving out, but that having people stay with him doesn’t have any impact on whether he lives there himself.
“The fact that I live here and someone else lives here is irrelevant,” he said.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or email@example.com.