He had pledged earlier to move inside his Pierce County district. Petition seeks DA investigation.
Claims that state Rep. Shannon Zimmerman lives outside the 30th Assembly District he has represented since his election in 2016 have now received validation from Zimmerman himself in the form of paperwork filed in Florida for tax purposes.
In paperwork filed with the Florida Division of Corporations for a limited liability corporation named Southern Latitude Retreat for condominiums in the Sunshine State, Zimmerman, (R-River Falls), and his wife Angela list their address, W10887 875th Ave. in the town of Clifton, as their place of residence.
That home is outside of the Assembly District Zimmerman represents, an apparent violation of Wisconsin law requiring that elected officials live within the districts to which they are elected.
The corporation paperwork also lists Lori and Joseph Bechtel, who have an Augusta address, as agents of the company.
The issue of whether Zimmerman resides in his district has been questioned in the past, residents who live in his district told UpNorthNews. The issue received attention last week when Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Dan Bice wrote a column about the topic.
Zimmerman has identified his out-of-district home, valued at $600,000, as his primary residence for the past 17 years, during which he has also claimed the state lottery credit at that site to offset his property taxes.
However, for political purposes, Zimmerman claims to live in a $200,000 home in River Falls, a property within the district he said he shares with his 33-year-old son. Zimmerman lists the address for that house on his campaign records and nomination papers.
Zimmerman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
Zimmerman’s Democratic opponent in the Nov. 3 election to represent the 30th Assembly District, Sarah Yacoub, said Zimmerman’s residing in the town of Clifton while pretending to live in River Falls represents a breach of state law and misleads his constituents. The fact that Zimmerman lives outside of his district is a poorly-kept secret, she said.
A Wisconsin resident has filed a complaint with the state Elections Commission regarding Zimmerman’s place of residence. The identity of the person filing the complaint has been redacted.
A online petition is seeking involvement by the Pierce County district attorney’s office to investigate possible felony election fraud charges against Zimmerman..
“It is a complete fabrication of what the law says,” Yacoub said of Zimmerman’s living outside the district while contending that a home he owns in that district is his primary residence. “There is nothing about what the law says that would leave a reasonable person to believe that what he is doing is okay. The definition of a primary residence is very clear.”
Zimmerman told the Journal-Sentinel the dual address issue was an “oversight” and said the complaint filed with the WEC is “frivolous.” He contends that his town of Clifton home is his primary residence for tax purposes while his River Falls house serves as his district home so he can serve in the Assembly.
In Wisconsin, lawmakers must have a primary residence within the district they represent by the time they take office, and remain living within their district while they are elected.
When Zimmerman ran for his Assembly seat four years ago, he told the news group RiverTowns.net he would change his primary residence from his town of Clifton house—across the street from the Belle Vinez Vineyard & Winery he owns—to one of several River Falls properties he owns in order to be within his district. Shortly after his election, he told the news organization he had done so.
According to Pierce County records, Zimmerman has claimed the lottery tax credit for his town of Clifton property each year since 2002. Homeowners in Wisconsin can claim that credit only on their primary residence, according to the state Department of Revenue.
Zimmerman has not listed his town of Clifton address as his voting address since his election in 2016 and instead lists his River Falls home. Zimmerman’s wife, however, does vote using the town of Clifton residence as her address.