Lawsuits challenge candidates’ qualifications

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 5, 2000

VIDALIA, La. — In 33 years as Concordia Parish clerk of court, Clyde Ray Webber had only seen two people file lawsuits objecting to others’ candidacy for an elected office — until Friday, when five such suits were filed.

&uot;But that’s what makes this job so interesting,&uot;&160;Webber said, shaking his head.

Lawsuits were filed Friday against Ferriday mayoral candidates Gene Allen and Hubert Lee McGlothin and alderman candidates Elijah Banks and James Skipper. Banks did not return calls Friday evening.

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A hearing will be held Monday in Seventh Judicial District Court for Skipper to show why he should not be disqualified. Hearings for Allen, McGlothin and Banks will be Tuesday. Because the primary election is March 14, rulings will be made immediately and appeals will be heard as soon as possible.

Concordia Parish resident Arthur Johnson filed suit against mayoral candidate Hubert Lee McGlothin because McGlothin, a former Concordia sheriff and former Ferriday mayor, was convicted of fraud in November 1990.

Louisiana’s Constitution states that someone who has been convicted of a felony, has exhausted all appeals and has not been pardoned cannot seek an elected office.

When asked if he was surprised by the suit, Hubert Lee McGlothin said &uot;you hear all kinds of scuttlebutt in these elections, and you expect some of that. … I’m just going to beat them at the polls.&uot;

Glen McGlothin Jr. and Justin Conner, also candidates for Ferriday mayor, both filed suit against fellow candidate and Police Juror Allen, saying he is not qualified to run because he does not meet the residency requirement.

Under state law, a person must be a registered voter in a town and must have lived in that town for one year to run for mayor of that town. On Jan. 12, Allen changed his address with the Registrar of Voters Office from 2962 Louisiana 569, his home on Lake St. John, to 609 Alabama Ave. in Ferriday — the address of his business, Concordia Funeral Home.

Allen said he has lived at his business periodically since 1979 and has equipped it with many comforts of home — clothing, toiletries, kitchen appliances and a sleeping area.

&uot;It’s impossible for Glen McGlothin to know where I&160;live because he’s never been to one of my residences,&uot;&160;Allen said. &uot;Justin Conner has been to 609 Alabama Ave. … and had dinner with me there.&uot;

Ferriday Alderwoman Dorothy Johnson challenged Skipper’s qualifications because Skipper pleaded guilty in July 1994 to a charge of possession of cocaine base with intent to distribute.

Police Juror Carey Cook filed suit against Skipper last September on the same grounds. Both Seventh Judicial District Court and the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Skipper could not run for office, and the Louisiana Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal. &uot;And I&160;intend to fight it this time, too,&uot;&160;Skipper said Friday.

District D Alderman Sammy Davis Jr. sued challenger Elijah Banks, who qualified to run for that post using the address of his business, Club Steppers, on E.E. Wallace Boulevard. Banks has a home on Tennessee Avenue.