Ocean City Council Candidate’s Residency Questioned

OCEAN CITY – A review of the list of candidates for the Oct. 19 municipal election created some controversy at City Hall this week.

The list of candidates almost did not pass go this week at the Mayor and City Council meeting. The list includes Rick Meehan for mayor and Brent Ashley, Charles P. Borchini, Jr., Warren Disbrow, Lloyd Martin, Joe Mitrecic, Margaret Pillas, and Sean Rox for City Council. Martin, Mitrecic and Pillas are incumbents.

Upon listing the candidates, City Clerk Kathy Mathias brought Borchini’s questionable residence to the Mayor and Council’s attention.

“Mr. Borchini has a different mailing address than on the voter registration list. It is not in Maryland, it is in Arlington, Va.,” she said. “When requesting those forms and instructions to file for council, he asked that all the forms be sent to him at the address in Virginia.”

Councilman Doug Cymek had received inquires from some of the voters in the area about Borchini’s residency and had decided to investigate the matter.

“I first went to a website he has called Clean Up O.C. and he notes that he had made Ocean City his official residence in the beginning of December 2007,” he said. “I checked his drivers license, which is a Maryland license, and it’s associated with his address on 94th Street.”

However, Cymek said Borchini’s local residence appears to be vacant.

“In the past three weeks, I have made an excess of 15 or more stops at Mr. Borchini’s home in efforts to meet him,” said Cymek. “He is never there. The place is locked up and appears to be secured for winter.”

The certificate of candidacy and affidavit states upon signature that one has read and understood the definition of domicile and further affirm that he or she has domiciled in Ocean City and has been for at least four months preceding the election. Domicile is also defined in that document as “acquiring a domicile entails the happening of two concurrent conditions, which includes the act of changing residence and the intent to reside either permanently or indefinitely at the new residence … there must be a present intention to abandon permanently or indefinitely the former domicile.”

Borchini’s domicile is required to be Ocean City as a candidate in the municipal election. His domicile is in question because he owns three properties, two in Maryland and one in Virginia.

A factor that can prove your domicile is the address listed on one’s income tax return. The City Clerk attempted to make contact with Borchini, which resulted in leaving a voicemail stating that he should appear before the council at Monday’s meeting with evidence that his Ocean City home is in fact his domicile.

Mathias had suggested that he bring his income tax return. Borchini was not present at the meeting, and Mathias said she never heard from him.

“According to the affidavit, there is no reference to him living in Ocean City,” said Cymek. “I want to maintain the integrity in this process, which I feel is very important and in fairness to all candidates that are running…I personally feel he does not fit the criteria and I would like to make the motion to remove his name from the list.”

A few problems were brought up if Borchini’s name was removed from the candidacy list. The names need to be approved sooner then later, because the absentee ballots need to be mailed out before Oct. 12. Also, Borchini has the right to file an action against the town in circuit court. If he does challenge the town and prevails, the absentee ballots would be askew.

Councilman Joe Hall stood in defense of Borchini.

“Maybe I’m a little sensitive because my domicile was questioned in my candidacy,” he said. “Everybody that knows me knows Ocean City has been my home since I was six years old, full time. But because I own property outside of Ocean City and I have vacationed sometimes for extended periods of time outside of town in the winter, my domicile was in question.”

Pillas and Martin were not comfortable in making a decision because both of their names are on the ballot.

“I feel comfortable to allow the voters to make the decision. Let them decide whether they want someone who doesn’t have a strong presence in our town lead them into the future,” Pillas said.

Cymek’s motion to approve the list excluding Borchini’s name was denied with in a 5-2 vote. Joe Hall’s motion to approve the candidates as presented was passed.