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Some of 'Chiefland 11' respond to accusations

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By Jeff M. Hardison

"The Chiefland 11" might be a name for the 11 people accused by former Chiefland City Commissioner Alice Monyei as having violated Florida law by voting in a precinct where they do not live.

While the six Andrews family members chose against making any comment about where the live in contrast with where they vote, other than Kelby Andrews who tried to intimidate a reporter with a verbal threat, some of the other 11 were willing to speak.

Lester R. Hunter, a member of the Chiefland City Commission for 18 years, was contacted at his Newberry residence on Nov. 26.

"I don't live in Newberry full-time," Hunter said. "I vote in Chiefland and in Levy County elections. I stay at my house in Chiefland a couple of times a week."

An agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and a sheriff's deputy visited him at his Newberry home to speak with Hunter about the allegation of voter fraud, he said.

"The FDLE came to see me," Hunter said. "The man said there wasn't a thing in the world wrong with that (voting in Chiefland and Levy County)."

Hunter said he pays the full property tax on his house in Chiefland and does not claim Homestead Exemption, because his wife claims the exemption on the house in Newberry. He believes Monyei has accused him wrongly.

"She is just a poor loser," Hunter said. "That's all she is."

A friend of Monyei's said she was hurt when Monyei accused her of voter fraud.

Mary Golding said the FDLE saw a "For Sale" sign at one property and realized she moves often.

"I have moved from place to place for years," Golding said, "even when I campaigned for Alice (Monyei). She knew I lived in a place in Chiefland. When I voted for her, I live here."

Golding said she is in the process of building a more permanent home for herself in Chiefland, but she buys and sells houses. Golding said she was affected when she saw Monyei lost the election.

"I cried like a baby when she lost," Golding said. "The bond we have is deeper than voting. My thing is, 'Girl, next time, we will win.' I will never go against my friend."

Golding said the alleged practice in Chiefland happens elsewhere. People who do not live in Bronson cast their ballots in that town's elections, Golding said. This practice is widespread in Levy County, Golding said. She has brought people to vote in Chiefland who lived in the county.

"There were a number of people who had inside the city voting (registrations)," Golding said. "Alice and I went in the country and got them."

Another person accused by Monyei wants to wait for the state attorney to make a decision on who will or will not be prosecuted for voter fraud.

Melanie Allen said she claims Homestead Exemption and pays her bills at the home she owns in Chiefland. She prefers to wait until State Attorney Bill Cervone decides whether to prosecute her case, however, before she says anything more.

When a reporter visited on Nov. 27, there was no one home at the home owned by John and Carolyn Hart, 201 N.W. Fourth Ave. John Hart is allegedly voting in Chiefland even though he reportedly resides somewhere else, according to the complaint by Monyei. There was no telephone number listed in the directory for John Hart in Chiefland.

When a reporter visited on Nov. 27, there was no one home at the home where Marcus Corbin allegedly resides, 1208 S.W. Third Ave. Darlene Corbin owns the house, according to records in the Levy County Property Appraiser's Office.

Corbin is allegedly voting in Chiefland even though he reportedly resides somewhere else, according to the complaint by Monyei. There was no telephone number listed in the directory for Marcus Corbin in Chiefland, and there was no answer at the number listed for Darlene Corbin.