COLUMBIA, 6/25/12 (Beat Byte) -- First Ward neighbors who live near Councilman Fred Schmidt say he may have moved out of the First Ward.
They say they have taken their concerns to city attorney Fred Boeckmann and filed a complaint with Columbia's Office of Neighborhood Services (ONS) over Mr. Schmidt's residence of record, a home he owns on Ash Street which may instead be a rental duplex.
The Columbia City Charter mandates Council members maintain permanent, ongoing residence in the wards they represent. Mr. Schmidt was elected First Ward Councilperson in 2011
. He currently faces an unrelated recall effort.
Mr. Schmidt told area residents he intended to move from Ash St. to a home on Anderson St. in January, explained neighbor Carol Rogers.
"I spoke with Fred in January, when he first bought the house," said Rogers, who contacted the Heart Beat seeking information about City Charter residency requirements. "Fred said he was getting married and his fiance insisted that they not live in the house he was currently occupying. She wanted a bigger and nicer house than the one he was living in."
But Mr. Schmidt never made the move. Meanwhile, his Ash Street neighbors "say he's only there sometimes, going in and out," Rogers said. A few months ago, rumors started "going around the neighborhood that Fred now lives in another ward (we think the 4th ward)."
So far, at least four different homes are involved in the "Where's Frederick?" mystery. Mr. Schmidt owns another home on St. Christopher Street in the Fourth Ward, and has been rumored residing at his fiance's home on Longfellow Lane, also in the Fourth Ward.
After contacting Mr. Schmidt directly and speaking with representatives from Boeckmann's office, Rogers and other neighbors researched the Councilman's whereabouts. His official residence has "two electric meters" and neighbors worry it may be a rental. ONS has no rental compliance certificate on file, however.