The Democratic opponent of Republican state Sen. Mimi Walters in the November election filed a lawsuit Thursday in Sacramento County Superior Court alleging she does not live in the district she represents.
Attorney Steve Young alleges in his "petition for mandate" that Walters pretends to reside in a small Irvine apartment, but actually still lives in her Laguna Niguel mansion, which fell outside the 37th Senate district after redistricting. The reconfigured 37th district also includes Newport Beach, Lake Forest and Laguna Beach.
A spokesman for Walters' campaign called the lawsuit "frivolous."
"It's without merit," said Dave Gilliard. "There's no facts behind it. This is what happens when your political opponent also happens to be a trial lawyer."
Walters registered to vote at the Irvine residence earlier this year, Gilliard said. "She's legally a resident of Irvine and that's what the law requires."
Young said Walters must principally live in the Irvine residence and cited various clues that she doesn't.
For instance, Walters' husband hasn't changed his voter registration from Laguna Niguel, Young said. And their Irvine apartment is about 500 square feet in size, a jarring shift for a family of six used to living in a Laguna Niguel estate, he noted.
"If they put five beds [the couple has four children] in a 500-square-foot apartment, they barely have room for the bathroom," Young said. "The math just doesn't work."
According to Walters' legislative biography, the entire family now lives in Irvine.
Another clue the apartment is a charade, Young said, is that "after the primary, we sent a bouquet of flowers to her Irvine apartment and we walked by to look at the bouquet and watched it wilt for a week before anybody touched it. For a week after the election nobody went there."
Every time Young or someone from his campaign goes to the apartment, nobody answers the door, Young said.
A judge will hold a hearing on Young's claim in Sacramento on Oct. 19.
-- City News Service