LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — One of the four qualified candidates for Lafayette Mayor-President is facing a challenge of eligibility.
Priscilla Gonzalez is accused of not having lived in the parish for one year prior to qualifying, which is required in order to be eligible to run for the office.
The objection to her candidacy comes from Lafayette resident Aimee Boyd Robinson, who filed a petition to challenge Gonzalez’s eligibility with the 15th Judicial District Court this morning.
Robinson said her request to file a lawsuit started as she was an “active Democrat” in the Hub City and sits on the party’s state central committee.
“I know Democrats in the city, so when I saw that someone had entered at the last minute, it immediately raised a red flag for me,” Robinson said. “This isn’t the first time I’ve done this; have someone disqualified. The qualifications are by penalty of perjury, so I have a feeling that a lot of these get through, and this one just caught my eye and made me want to dig a little further.”
Robinson also claims in the petition that Gonzalez falsely stated that she filed state and federal personal income tax returns for the last five years. According to the filing, an Aug. 15 public records request showed the Louisiana Department of Revenue informed it had no record of Gonzalez ever filing tax returns in Louisiana.
“Our home rule charter in our local election states that you must be a resident legally residing here for a year. If you don’t have a Louisiana driver’s license, then you’re not legally residing here,” Robinson said. “The LDR does not have any record of her filing any Louisiana taxes returns or any extensions on file.”
According to the filing, up to the time of her qualification, Gonzalez has held a Texas driver’s license and owned a vehicle still registered in Texas.
“ln fact, on the Notice of Candidacy qualifying form where the candidate must attest that she is a duly qualilied elector of Lafayette Parish, Gonzalez lists ‘NONE’ next to Parish and the line for Precinct identification is left completely blank,” the filing read.
Gonzalez discredits Robinson’s claims and stated she was “already pre-warned.”
“I have resided, and I can provide proof that I was here on November 20, 2020, so that’s a little over three years. I do have a federal ID that states that I resided at 301 Gerald Street, and I’m qualified. Other than that, she has no basis for her claims,” Gonzalez said. “I’m pretty well educated. I’m prepared. I do know to try a case in federal court. So I do question the motives that Aimee Robinson has by using taxpayer dollars by using the court system and the court’s time.”
Gonzalez was ordered by the court to sit for a deposition on Friday, and a trial date was set for Monday, Aug. 21.
Gonzalez is one of three candidates who qualified to run for Lafayette Mayor-President in the Oct. 14 primary election, along with incumbent Josh Guillory and challengers Monique Blanco Boulet and Jan Swift.