ASHLAND — A formal complaint filed Thursday with the Ashland City Law Director claims Dennis Miller does not live in the ward in which he was just elected.
Miller, 66, won Tuesday by 11 percentage points against his opponent Emily Huestis during Tuesday’s election. He was first elected to represent Ward 3 on city council in 2017.
Heather Sample, who lost her race against Jason Chio to serve as council’s Ward 2 representative, filed the formal complaint Thursday.
“It has been brought to the attention of several people within the city of Ashland, in different wards, that Dennis Miller, councilman for Ward 3, does not live at his residence address of (Hillcrest Drive)," reads Sample's complaint. "It appears that he has been living with his new wife since their date of marriage at the address of (Columbus Circle North)," located in Ward 1.
Miller said he has lived at the Hillcrest house since 2003 and that he is in the process of searching for a new house in ward 3 with the help of a realtor.
Sample cited the city’s charter in her letter, which states “all members of the council shall be resident electors of the city, and each ward councilman shall be a resident of the ward which he represents. Any member who ceases to possess any one or more of these qualifications shall forthwith forfeit his office.”
Sample said she has known about the questions surrounding Miller’s residency for a while. She said she’s bringing it up now because her campaign manager advised against bringing it up during her campaign.
Sample lost to Chio by 323 votes, or 40 percentage points.
“I have no interest in him winning or losing. I just want things to be done appropriately,” she said. “Everybody has to follow the same rules. I had to reside in my ward to run for council, he should have to do the same thing.”
The Hillcrest address, Sample claimed, is currently occupied by Miller’s daughter.
“So it is occupied, but he’s not there,” she said.
Miller said he's lived at his house on Hillcrest since 2003, when he first moved to the city. In an emailed statement, Miller said, "My wife passed away in 2017, and I just got remarried in February of this year.
"In addition to my home at Hillcrest Drive, my new wife has a residence at Columbus Circle North, in Ward 1. We are in the process of looking for a new home in my Ward, and have engaged the services of a realtor. Rest assured that if something happened that made me move out of Ward 3, I would not hesitate to step down from council."
Miller said he and his new wife split their time living in both homes. The couple has been searching for a new house in ward 3 since marrying.
The councilman's daughter has also lived at the Hillcrest house since 2003, he said.
Sample requested Ashland law director Richard Wolfe investigate Miller’s residency. The law director did not immediately respond to requests to comment on Thursday.
Ashland County Board of Elections Director Shannon Johnson confirmed Miller’s residence on file as the house on Hillcrest Drive. She said her office received an anonymous letter outlining the issue — which hinges on Miller now living with his new wife on Columbus Circle North — early on in the election, sometime during the summer.
If the letter had been signed, she said, the office would have held a hearing to investigate the matter. The burden of proof would have been on the person who filed the complaint.
Ashland County probate records show Miller married Kolleen Crall on Feb. 12. Records show Crall's residence as being on the 1200 block of Columbus Circle North, which is part of the city's first ward, according to a ward map on the city's website.
Miller's residence is listed as being on the 1000 block Hillcrest Drive, which is part of the city's third ward.