Challenge to Powell City Council candidate’s address withdrawn

The Powell woman who was challenging a city council candidate’s eligibility, withdrew her protest and challenge Tuesday morning at a Delaware County Board of Elections meeting.

On Aug. 25, Gertude Trowbridge filed a challenge with the board of elections, alleging that David Ebersole is not eligible to run for Powell City Council because he does not live within Powell City limits.

A hearing on the challenge was held before the board of elections Tuesday morning and both parties were sworn in before the board.

“I read an article in the Valley News that David Ebersole was running for city council, my blood pressure raised about 10 degrees, because I thought they only thing worse than one Ebersole in Powell would be two, because the first one cost me over half of my life savings because of the petition he circulated against the development on my property,” Trowbridge said.

Trowbridge’s daughter, Pat Kijewski, said Trowbridge had problems hearing and gave an opening statement on her behalf, including the basis for Trowbridge’s challenge.

“Through her church and other affiliations that we have in the city, (we) heard that there was a question about Mr. Ebersole’s residency,” Kijewski said “Specifically, a woman in Powell was looking for an apartment for her mother to live in that was supposed to be senior living and when they went to look at the property they saw a young man whom the leasing agent later said, ‘he’s not here through the week, he’s only here on the weekends.’”

Trowbridge’s challenge alleged that Ebersole has a known address on Runaway Bay Drive in Columbus and alleged that the Penny Lane residence that Ebersole claimed he lived in was actually occupied by another couple.

Ebersole presented a number of documents to the board of elections including his lease agreement for the Penny Lane residence, his driver’s license, and a utility bill, all listing his Penny Lane address. Ebersole also had an affidavit from his former landlord of the Runaway Bay property in Columbus that stated he had not resided there since July 2016.

Ebersole also presented an obituary for the resident that Trowbridge alleged lived at his Penny Lane residence.

The board then had a brief recess and when the hearing resumed Kijewski said her mother would like to withdraw the challenge. With no other business to discuss, the board adjourned the meeting.

Ebersole declined to provide a comment to The Gazette about the matter.

Board of Elections Chair Ed Helvey said after the hearing that Trowbridge would have had to present a large amount of evidence to prove that Ebersole didn’t live at Penny Lane.

“Going into it we would need just a ton of evidence that he didn’t live there,” Helvey said. “It was really stacked in his favor from the beginning. He presented a lot of documentary evidence that indicated that he lives where he said he lived.”

Helvey said the board is required to hear all such challenges as long as they meet a factual obligation.

“The board has a legal obligation to hold a hearing and investigate the matter, which we did,” Helvey said. “The challengers, at any point in the preceding, had the right to withdraw and they chose to do so.”

By Glenn Battishill

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Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.