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Assembly Foe Disputes Residency of Farrell : Election: Marguerite Archie-Hudson produces a couple who say they live in house that the candidate lists in voter records.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Questions about whether Los Angeles City Councilman Robert Farrell actually lives in the 48th Assembly District, which he is seeking to represent, may cloud his bid to win the Democratic nomination for the seat.

At a news conference Tuesday, Marguerite Archie-Hudson, Farrell’s chief opponent, presented a couple who said they own and live in the house at 1100 W. 84th Street that Farrell lists in voter records as his residence.

The candidate accused Farrell of perjury and demanded that he be disqualified from the contest.

California law requires that candidates for Assembly seats live in the district in which they are running for 30 days prior to their filing for office, said officials of the secretary of state’s office and the county registrar of voters’ office .

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At Tuesday’s news conference, Richard and Sheila Pegues said Farrell made an offer to buy their house on 84th Street in February, but has let a 60-day agreement on the closing date expire. They said they do not personally know Farrell and that he has never lived at the property.

“His mail started coming here right after he made the offer, which we thought was strange,” said Richard Pegues, an equipment builder for Rockwell International. “We never gave him permission to use our address.”

Farrell later acknowledged that the 60 days had expired but insisted that the deal to buy the Pegues’ house is still on because the agreement can be extended and “I have a valid escrow.” Despite the Pegues’ statements to the contrary, he maintained that they told him he could have his mail sent to their home.

Farrell would not say where he is living. He said only that his residency “is an issue that is going to turn on the interpretation by the (county) registrar and the secretary of state.”

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Financial statements filed last week by Farrell list his address as Los Angeles City Hall.

The 48th Assembly District cuts across South-Central Los Angeles and Watts and includes the cities of Lynwood and South Gate.

Farrell’s real estate broker, Reggie Ballard, said he is trying to put together a loan package that will allow Farrell to buy the Pegues’ house for $144,000.

Archie-Hudson on Tuesday hand delivered a written complaint against Farrell to the secretary of state’s office in Los Angeles, asking for a formal investigation. Workers at that office said the matter had been referred to Sacramento.

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Roger Gunson, the deputy district attorney who specializes in election matters for the county, said he could not comment on Farrell’s case but expressed doubt that a purchase offer is sufficient to establish residency.

“It doesn’t seem like it would,” Gunson said. “One thing that is required is that you must have been there at some point with an intention to stay, or if you leave, with an intention to return.”

Gunson said it is not unusual in the waning days of an election campaign for complaints about candidates’ residency to increase.

In fact, he said, a write-in candidate in the same Assembly race filed a complaint against Archie-Hudson, who lists her address at 8901 S. Towne St. in South-Central Los Angeles.

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On Tuesday, Archie-Hudson took a reporter on a tour of the three-bedroom, two-story home at that address, insisting that she lives there, well within the boundaries of the 48th District.

She moved there in January, she said, from a house she owns in the Baldwin Vista neighborhood of Baldwin Hills, which is outside the district.


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