School board candidate defends residency challenge

Published: Oct. 25, 2010 at 7:50 PM EDT|Updated: Dec. 28, 2011 at 7:58 PM EST
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David Toborowsky
David Toborowsky

By Eric Flack - bio | email
Posted by Katie Bauer - email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - During an ongoing hidden camera investigation, the WAVE 3 Troubleshooter uncovered new information about a Jefferson County School Board race - specifically, accusations that one of the candidates doesn't live in the district he wants to represent.

School board candidate David Toborowsky told the Jefferson County Board of Elections he lives in District 3, but not the day we were there.

Toborowsky listed the address on Alia Circle in his election filing and his voter registration card to qualify to run for the school board's 3rd district seat, but a teen, whom we can't identify, told us Toborowsky didn't live there.

The teen told us former mayoral candidate and real estate developer Chris Thienamen did.

When Thienamen showed up, he told us Toborowsky asked to move in shortly before the election's filing deadline.

"He asked me. He said: 'Listen, you know I want to run for this thing and I need a place to stay. Would you care if I lived with you?' I said: 'Absolutely not. You're my best friend,'" said Thienamen.

"I just think it's the wrong reasons, to move in to run," said Steve Neal, former Executive Director of Jefferson County Teachers Association. "It's just wrong."

Neal says he heard about Toborowsky's plan to move into the district at the last minute from JCTA President Brent McKim.

In fact, records show Toborowsky filed to run just hours before the deadline closed.

"He said: 'Well right now he's at the clerk's office changing his address. He's moving in with Chris Thienamen,'" Neal said. "I said: 'Brent, no, that will get out, that will look bad to the union.' He said: 'Oh, nobody will find out.'"

The JCTA later endorsed Toborowsky, which comes with tens of thousands of dollars in financial support.

"He moved from one part of eastern Jefferson County to another part of eastern Jefferson County right before the filing deadline, but really the school board members make decisions that affect the whole county, so he certainly understands those issues," said JCTA President Brent McKim.

We wanted to know if Toborowsky changed his residency for the sole purpose of running for the school board seat in District 3.

"To answer the question, yes. Did I move there to run for office? The answer is yes," said Toborowsky.

We asked Toborowsky to clear up questions about where he's living, because we found several addresses for him, but none in District 3.

"I'm not there every night, no," said Toborowsky.

Toborowsky says he stays at Thienamen's home four nights a week, but when asked where he stays the rest of the time, he wouldn't specify.

"When I'm not there, I'm at a friend's house," said Toborowsky. "I do have a personal life."

When asked where that friend's house is, Toborowsky replied: "Well, that's in the district, but that's a personal life."

When asked for the address, Toborowsky said that he wasn't going to go into his personal life.

Toborowsky went on to say, he spends about 10% of the time staying with a friend in Jeffersontown - not in District 3 - but he says he doesn't think residency questions are an issue.

"The law states in Kentucky that as long as you are there the day before the election you are a legal resident, so I did that prior to the filing deadline," said Toborowsky.

Critics say Toborowsky is just looking to get elected, and doesn't know enough about the district to be an effective school board member.

So we asked him if he knew the schools in District 3, if he would name the elementary schools.

"Well you have Norton, you have Schaffner," said Toborowsky. "I'm going to continue and stick with what the issues are."

Toborowsky went on to say that he didn't have the schools memorized.

"I'm going to stick with why I am running for the school board," said Toborowsky. "To memorize every single one, I am not going to do."

Toborowsky says he's more focused on revamping the student assignment plan and improving failing school test scores.

"We have raised taxes three out of the last four years," said Toborowsky. "It's not a sham. When you raise taxes three out of the last four years and are being bused across town, it's not a sham. To the failing schools, it's not a sham."

Issues that Toborowsky says are critical to the future of Jefferson County Schools, no matter where you live.

So what's the law say about all this? Although you don't have to live somewhere for a certain period of time before running for office in Kentucky, not actually living at the address Toborowsky put on his election filing would disqualify him from the election.

The county clerk's office says they generally take candidates at their word and do not go out to verify addresses.

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