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News Commissioner Haven’s residency at issue

Charles Nichols files challenge with board of elections.

Macon County’s commissioner candidate line-up could be changing. Tuesday morning, Debbie T. George, Interim Director for the Macon County Board Elections sent out a public notice regarding the calling of candidacy.

On Monday, March 3, Charles Nichols challenged the candidacy of Commissioner Ron Haven. Haven is seeking re-election to his District 2 commission seat.

The challenge reads, “I, Charles Nichols, being a qualified voter in the Macon County Commissioner District 2 and duly sworn, do hereby file this challenge to the declared candidacy of Ronald M. Haven for Macon County commissioner of District 2, and make that challenge not only as the qualifications of Ronald M. Haven as a candidate of the 2nd District Commissioner race, but also challenge Ronald M. Haven’s qualification as a voter in the Precinct of South Franklin (Macon #2), City of Franklin.”

The challenge was filed on the basis that Haven does not reside at the address given on his candidate application, which is the same address he listed when filing to vote. When filing for candidacy, Haven listed 433 East Palmer Street as his address, which is also the address for the Budget Inn Motel located in town, which Haven owns.

Records on file at the Board of Elections office show a change of address for Haven that was filed on April 19, 2012, during one-stop voting. The document shows that Haven requested to have his address changed to the East Palmer address from 17 West Palmer Street. The 17 West Palmer address was the address for another one of Haven’s properties, The Franklin Motel, which was closed due to bankruptcy.

According to Nichols’ challenge, the Macon County Register of Deeds and Macon County Tax department office show that the 433 East Palmer Street address is owned by Cartoogechaye Investments, LLC, and the physical address of the property is 423 East Palmer Street.

The challenge states that the N.C. Department of the Secretary of State’s office lists Cartoogechaye Investments, LLC as a legally recognized Limited Liability Company, effective July 10, 2008. This date is prior to Haven first being elected to the board of commissions. The Secretary of State’s office also shows that Haven is a registered agent for Cartoogechaye Investments with an office address for the property being 98-30 Mill Creek Road. Haven is listed as the manager of Cartoogechaye Investments, LLC and Maricella Haven, Haven’s wife is also listed as a member. The business address for the two company officials is listed as 750 Mill Creek Road.

According to the telephone directory, Haven's address is listed as 750 Mill Creek Road, which is located outside of County Commission District 2.

Nichols’ challenge requests that a full investigation into the matter be conducted by the county board of elections and specifically requests the board obtain copies of Haven’s driver’s license, forwarding addresses, income tax returns and other documents containing residency verification.

Due to the candidacy challenge, the Macon County Board of Elections announced Tuesday morning that a special called meeting will be held Tuesday, March 11, at 10 a.m. in Courtroom 4B in order to allow for a hearing in the challenge.

Macon County News contacted Haven for comment at which time Haven informed us that he would be seeking legal counsel out of Asheville before commenting on the matter.


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