Candidate’s two homes prompts question over residence in Lewiston House race

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LEWISTON — A city councilor who is also running for the Legislature says she’s always lived at 588 Main St. and concerns that she really lives at 686 College St.,  which is outside her ward, are unfounded.

The Main Street address is in Ward 1, the ward Leslie Dubois represents on the City Council. It’s also in the Legislature’s state House District 60, which Dubois is running for as a Republican.

The College Street home is in Lewiston’s Ward 2 and the Legislature’s House District 59. State law requires a lawmaker to live in the district they intend to represent and city ordinance also requires councilors to represent the ward in which they live.

A number of Democrats have raised questions about Dubois’ residence and whether she is seeking election in the proper House district.

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If she were seeking the seat in House District 59 — matching her College Street address — she would face state Rep. Peggy Rotundo, D-Lewiston.

Rotundo, who lives at 446 College St., is running unopposed.

Instead, Dubois is facing Democrat Jared Golden in the open House District 60 race. Golden, also a first-time candidate for the Legislature, lives in an apartment at 47 Nichols St.

When contacted Wednesday, Dubois was at the Main Street address. She said the College Street house, which she owns with her husband, Michael Dubois, an attorney and Androscoggin County’s judge of probate, is used as a “getaway.”

The two properties are about 1.5 miles apart.

Michael Dubois is seeking re-election to his judge of probate office.

Leslie Dubois said the couple doesn’t even keep a mailbox at the College Street home. She lives at both locations and also spends weekends in the summer at a campground in Litchfield, she said.

Only one of the 14 vehicles registered in either Michael Dubois’ or Leslie Dubois’ name was parked at the Main Street location Wednesday. At least two others were parked at the couple’s College Street home, which also includes a three-car garage and a small barn.

Leslie Dubois also told the Sun Journal on Wednesday that the question of her legal residence came up in 2012 when she first ran for City Council and that City Clerk Kathy Montejo verified Dubois’ legal residence was on Main Street.

Montejo said Wednesday that when Dubois’ legal residence was challenged, she provided all the documentation required by state law to show her primary residence was at 588 Main St.

Montejo said Leslie Dubois produced a series of documents, including vehicle registrations and her driver’s license, all showing her address on Main Street. Dubois also signed a sworn statement affirming she lived at the Main Street address, and she said that’s the address she intends to reside at in the future.

The issue of a candidate’s legal residence has come up several times in recent years in Lewiston, including earlier this year, when a Republican candidate challenging Rotundo listed his address at the home of former Republican state Rep. Stavros Mendros.

In that instance, James Sorcek changed his address, showing he moved in with Mendros in House District 59, just nine days before he was nominated by a local GOP caucus to run. Sorcek, who is the GOP’s Lewiston chairman, later withdrew his candidacy.

Mendros, the Androscoggin County chairman for the Maine GOP, said the complaints about Leslie Dubois’ residency were resolved more than a year ago by the Lewiston city clerk.

“It shows you how desperate they are that their policies are a failure, that they have to do these last-minute gimmicks,” Mendros said. “They have to distract people from the failure of their policies with personal attacks.”

Meanwhile, city records show the Duboises take a homestead tax exemption on their Main Street property, which includes Michael Dubois’ law offices and three apartments.

The city’s assessed value of the Main Street property is $119,700, and it receives a $9,100 exemption. The couple’s home on College Street, purchased in 2002, is assessed at $261,030, according to public tax records.

Combined, the couple pay about $10,000 in city property taxes on the two homes.

Leslie Dubois said the College Street home is an investment the couple has been remodeling over the years and is hoping to sell, or “flip,” for a profit.

“You know,” she said, “it’s a real estate investment.”

She said the couple sought another home after a legal case her husband had been involved in years ago led to a series of harassing and threatening phone calls, but she maintains the couple’s primary residence is the Main Street location.

But local Democrats were fast to criticize Dubois, saying her story about where she really lives doesn’t “pass the straight-face test.”

“Voters in the district deserve to know where their candidates actually live,” said state Sen. Margaret Craven, D-Lewiston.

Craven is the Maine Democratic Party chairwoman for Lewiston.

“Does she reside in the district or not? This should be a simple question,” Craven said. “But, unfortunately for Leslie Dubois, it isn’t. Instead, she’s claiming to live at her husband’s law office, which is conveniently located in the district. It just doesn’t pass the straight-face test.”

sthistle@sunjournal.com

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