This story from the Sun-Herald.
If Mayor Brent Warr and his wife, Laura, are tried on Katrina-fraud charges, a verdict could be based on a “totality” of records indicating whether their primary residence was the one they claimed on Beach Drive to qualify for federal hurricane recovery funds, according to records from a previous case.
Court testimony in a previous case indicates neither MDA nor FEMA regulations define what constitutes a “primary residence.”
The Homeowners Assistance grant paperwork asked applicants: “Was damaged residence your primary residence on Aug. 29, 2005?” To qualify for a grant, the application guidebook says, you must have “owned and occupied your home on Aug. 29, 2005,” and it must have been your “primary residence.”
The Warrs bought the beach property from the federal government around January 2004. They were living in a home owned by Brent Warr’s grandmother while the beach home was renovated. Brent Warr has said the family was substantially moved into the beach home when Katrina struck.
Bordelon said homestead exemption on a property is one indication the home is owner-occupied. But if the Warrs moved into the beach home in 2005, the law says they would need to wait until January 2006 to apply for homestead. The Harrison County Tax Assessor’s Office said the Warrs have never had homestead exemption on the beach house, although they live there now.
In addition to homestead exemption, Bordelon testified in the previous case: “We look for where somebody gets their bills, where they spend their time, where their belongings are, where do their bills go to, are they registered to vote, their driver’s license, things of that nature, things that can only be attributed to one location, generally.
“But when there is evidence of a situation where someone is fortunate enough to have more than one home, for example, the reliability of some of these factors diminishes. For example, if someone has more than one residence, they can spend time in multiple locations. So you look at where did they maintain their homestead, and those other factors increase in importance.”
Here is an idea: primary residence? the place where you physically live. See that was not so hard. If he gets to keep the cash, then everyone who filled out the paperwork should a second chance at scamming the government too.
This is just all so pathetic.
On a side note…why are not the people more outraged? I mean a governor was impeached because of allegations….I guess the South is just more tolerant to the crimes of our elected representatives…..we have many many years of crooks in office…..that is all I can think of…….for some reason voters seldom think of them as betraying the public trust…..is it stupidity or just ignorance that allows this sort of thing to continue?