A Democratic party volunteer has filed a state ethics complaint against Republican Rep. John Legg, saying he has been less than truthful about his living arrangements.
Joann McMahon, a registered Democrat from New Port Richey, said she believes Legg spends all his time at his wife's home in Trinity, which is outside his legislative district, and not at his home on Woodcrest Drive in Port Richey, which is his official address.
"I believe John Legg has committed fraud against his constituents by lying about his residence," McMahon wrote in the complaint, which she provided to the Pasco Times.
Legg said Wednesday that McMahon's allegations were false, and he suspects they were orchestrated by the campaign of his Democratic opponent, Ron Rice. McMahon donated $50 to Rice's campaign this month.
"It's a desperate act at the last minute," Legg said. "We've come to expect it from a campaign that doesn't want to talk about issues."
Rice denied his campaign had anything to do with the complaint. "I know Joann, and I knew she was upset about it," he said. "But I didn't know she was filing a complaint."
State law requires elected officials to live in their districts upon election.
In January 2007, Legg married Suzanne, who had three children from a previous marriage and a home in Trinity. The couple also has a baby son.
As the Pasco Times reported in September, Legg says he splits his time between his two-bedroom home in Port Richey and his wife's four-bedroom home in Longleaf while they try to sell both and buy a new place for the entire family within his district.
McMahon questioned whether Legg was splitting the time. She wrote in her complaint that Legg "lives and sleeps daily" at his wife's Trinity home and had rented out the Port Richey home to someone else until only recently.
As evidence, she cited unnamed neighbors of Legg's Port Richey home and included a state corporation record from April that lists that house as the address for a director of the Gulf Coast Worship Center.
Legg said he rented out his Port Richey house only during the 2007 legislative session - not this year - and that the address given for his former tenant is outdated.
McMahon said she has been out of sorts this year dealing with her husband's death in January. She said she only recently started paying attention to the political races and heard about Legg's residency issue at a debate, when Rice brought it up.
She said she liked Legg as a person and as a legislator. She met him when she worked for the Pasco County Supervisor of Elections. "I think he's done a good job," she said. But "if you're going to move into a different district, then that's the district you should live in."
Jodie Tillman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6247.