Questions About WM Mayor’s Residency & Re-Election Eligibility

Scott Newton. Photo via Facebook.

Wilton Manors Mayor Scott Newton has lived in the city nearly his entire life, but the past 15 months have been nomadic, and some people are questioning his eligibility to run for office in the city.

Newton pushes back against those questions, saying, “Yes, my residence is in Wilton Manors, and you don’t have to sleep there every night. Where I choose to sleep is my own business.”

Article IIIA, Section 3 of the City Charter says, “A mayoral candidate shall be domiciled in the city for six (6) months prior to qualifying for office.”

Newton’s paperwork to “qualify” for the election was filed June 11. There are two questions: where was he “domiciled” on Dec. 11, 2023, and how is the word “domiciled” legally interpreted?

Newton says his legal domicile on Dec. 11, 2023, was his longtime home at 1825 NE 27th Dr. However, he essentially moved out in March 2023, during the early stages of a divorce.

The mayor said he still mows the lawn, pays taxes and tends to other matters relating to the upkeep, and that it qualifies as his domicile. However, on his election paperwork, he lists 48 NE 28th Ct. in Wilton Manors as his address.

Newton says his girlfriend bought the property, and it is under renovation, and is staying at a rental in Wilton Manors until the house is livable. He does admit to spending some nights outside the city limits.

Immediately after leaving the 27th Dr. house, he moved in with a friend outside the city for about three months. In the year since, Newton says he lived a couple of times with his sister, a Wilton Manors resident, and also with his girlfriend. At the time, his girlfriend had a home in Fort Lauderdale. Property records show she bought the 28th Ct. home in March 2024, shortly before selling the Fort Lauderdale property.

The divorce has been contentious, and Newton confirms there is a deposition where he said he was “living” outside Wilton Manors. He says it was a poor choice of words, intended to get under the skin of his estranged wife. “There was a place I was staying, but I said ‘living.’”

Now his political opponents and people affected by the breakup are asking if he meets the residency requirements. Newton says he asked the city attorney, Kerry Ezrol, if he met the standard and was told “yes.” Newton says Ezrol’s firm did not bill for the time involved.

Newton says if he owned a place and was renting it out to others, that would not count as a domicile, but until March 2024 (when he says he officially moved to another Wilton Manors address), he considered himself as legally living there.

A check of records shows candidate Mike Sansevero’s application address matches property in his name. Candidate Mark Beigay rents, and provided us with a state ID that matches the address provided in his application.

If any formal complaints or lawsuits are filed, it will be up to judges and election officials to decide how to define “domicile.” The charter may also inadvertently provide a loophole, as it doesn’t say the candidate must be domiciled for the immediate six months prior to filing. Theoretically, it could be any six-month period or an aggregate of six months of days and nights.

The Gazette will continue following this story and bring you all updates.


This story was produced in collaboration with the New Pelican.

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