83ºF

Lawsuit says candidate doesn’t live in her district, but knock on the door and there she is

Miami-Dade school board candidate dismisses claim as dirty politics

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Local 10 News went unannounced Thursday morning to the house Miami-Dade School Board candidate Luisa Santos allegedly doesn’t live in.

But guess who answered the door?

Luisa Santos.

“Yes, that is what I do when I am home,” Santos said with a laugh.

A lawsuit just filed wants Santos disqualified from running for the District 9 school board seat in Miami-Dade County.

The suit accuses Santos of not living in the district when she qualified to run for the seat. It claims she spends most of her time at her boyfriend’s home.

She calls it nothing but last-minute dirty politics.

“I grew up in this community,” she said. “I went to Pine Elementary, South Middle, Coral Reef High. I literally live in Homestead. This is outrageous.”

The suit was filed by Christian Santos — no relation to Luisa.

She said she doesn’t even know who he is.

“This is sad, and this is why people are so frustrated with politics. That in this moment, 30 days left to go, an opponent’s allies get so desperate they have to resort to a lawsuit,” she said.

We wanted to talk to Christian Santos about the lawsuit, but he didn’t answer the call.

Instead, we got an immediate call from his attorney, former State Rep. JC Planas.

The suit seems to be based on a private investigator asking neighbors who lives in what house.

The suit also states that Luisa’s driver license and voter registration don’t come back to the Homestead house.

But the address on her license shows the same address where she was standing outside her home.

Santos is in a runoff with Miami-Dade Commissioner Dennis Moss for the school board seat. He spent close to 30 years on the county commission and is terming out.

His name is nowhere in the lawsuit against Luisa Santos.

Santos said she’s running a grassroots campaign and now will have to hire an attorney to fight the suit.

“They want to distract us,” she said. “This is a distraction, and guess what, my team is stronger than ever and we are excited.”

Santos said the house she lives in is owned by a family friend.

No court date has been set to address the lawsuit. As of now, Luisa Santos remains a very qualified candidate.

Moss released the following statement Thursday night:

"As a 60-year resident of School Board District 9, I want to be clear that I did not initiate, nor was I a part in any way of the lawsuit against Luisa Santos, calling her residency into question. However, I am not surprised that someone has taken this action. I did and still do have my suspicions that she did not live in the district at the time that she filed to run. These suspicions are based on the changing of her address on documents to reflect residency the day before filing to run.

“Additionally, this lawsuit does not benefit me in anyway. My placement on the ballot is secure. I would think other candidates who did not make it to the runoff would be very concerned about this issue. Living in the district you wish to represent is a basic and important requirement.”


About the Author: