Investigator: State senator questioned under oath about her residency

11:43 PM, Nov 29, 2011   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- State Senator Shirley Smith testified that Channel 3 News hidden cameras caught her living outside of her district, but described it as only temporary.

Ohio law requires state lawmakers to live in the district they represent. Smith was found to be living in a newer home in South Euclid, which is outside her Senate District 21 on Woodworth Avenue in Cleveland.

Following an exclusive Channel 3 News investigation in September, the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections decided to invite the senator to their meeting to answer questions regarding residency raised in the Channel 3 News investigation.

Smith showed up with prominent criminal defense attorney Roger Synenberg representing her. Synenberg served on the board for 14 years and eight as chairman.

The board allowed Synenberg to ask Smith questions regarding her residency.  

"Where do you receive your principal mail?" asked Synenberg.  "It comes to 13901 Woodworth Avenue," said Smith.

But Channel 3 News found Smith's mail was also delivered to her South Euclid home, in addition to FedEx packages.

In September, Meyer questioned Smith about the mail at South Euclid. "Ok, but, ah, but the work I do is for the people all over Ohio," said Smith.

"When you were filmed on Cutters Creek (South Euclid home), did you plan to return to your Woodworth Avenue address? " asked Synenberg.

"I always intend to return to the Woodworth Avenue home," said Smith.

Smith also said she has the South Euclid home up for sale.

"When did you put it on the market?" asked Meyer. "April of this year, I believe," said Smith.

Real estate listings show the house was listed on Sept. 20, the same day Meyer first questioned Smith about the two homes.  Calls to the Senator's office were not returned.  

Smith refused to say who else lived in her Woodworth Avenue home, saying she didn't want to answer any more questions and she had to get to Columbus.

When Meyer called her Columbus office to clarify some issues, an aide said the senator was in Cleveland for the day. 

Board members asked only a few questions, ending the meeting without taking any action against Smith.

"It's over," Synenberg was heard telling Smith.


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