LIMA — Since the beginning of Lima’s mayoral race, questions have been raised about the status of candidate Elizabeth Hardesty’s residency.
Even though her residency has been upheld three times — by the Allen County Board of Elections, Lima Municipal Court and the Third District Court of Appeals — the argument continues to be made by those opposing her that she has not met the six-month residency requirement to run for office as laid out by the city’s charter.
Part of being a resident of the city of Lima includes paying city income taxes, something that Hardesty did not do, according to the legal documents regarding her case.
Hardesty’s lawyer, Lawrence Huffman, responded to a legal petition on May 24, 2021, and admitted that Hardesty did not file a city tax return in 2018 and 2019 and obtained an extension to file her taxes for 2020. The document also confirms that Hardesty had a Pennsylvania driver’s license when she filed to run for mayor of Lima.
During a conversation with The Lima News on Oct. 6, Hardesty did not make any such admission when she was asked if the issue of taxes had been resolved.
“I’ve always paid all my taxes,” Hardesty said. “I’ve paid city, I’ve paid state, I’ve paid national, I always pay my income taxes.”
Hardesty also confirmed that she had not yet filed her 2020 taxes during a quasi-judicial hearing between her and the Allen County Board of Elections on March 4, 2021. During the same hearing, Hardesty was asked if she was using her Lima address while she was working overseas in 2014, which she couldn’t confirm.
“My ex-husband’s company took care of all that,” she said. “Including taxes and everything.”
Neither Huffman nor Hardesty responded to a request for comment from The Lima News.
Lima resident Alice Donahue, one of the plaintiffs listed in the petition questioning Hardesty’s residency, said that all she wants is a straight answer from the candidate. The Hardesty campaign has maintained that has happened with the Allen County Board of Elections, Allen County Common Pleas Court and the Ohio 3rd District Court of Appeals ruling she was a resident and could remain on the ballot for mayor.
“This has never been about politics,” Donahue said. “It’s just been about that the rule should apply to everyone, and I just think that the voters in the city of Lima have a right to know why one of the mayoral candidates did not file city of Lima income tax returns for at least two years and ordered an extension for the third and that someone needs to ask the question. There might be a perfectly logical explanation for it, I don’t know.”
Early voting for the 2021 election is already underway. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 2. Elizabeth Hardesty is facing current Lima Chief of Staff Sharetta Smith on the ballot to become Lima’s next mayor.
Reach Trevor Hubert at 567-242-0398