Questions arise over candidate's place of residence

There are questions tonight about a Shelby County Commission candidate in Decision 2006, and where he calls home. While some say the accusations are politically motivated, others believe it's the result of unclear election laws.

James Harvey for is running for District 3, position 1 on the Shelby County Commission...the seat serves Whitehaven.

"Whitehaven is my base," Harvey said.

The longtime mortgage banker's business is here, and he also owns a Whitehaven apartment complex. In fact he listed this address, 1287 Raines Road, Apartment # 9, on his petition to run for Shelby County Commission.

But he also owns a home worth $380,000 in the exclusive Southwind community in East Memphis.

"I occasionally I sleep there, but most of the time I sleep in my apartment," Harvey said.

Harvey says when he's not there, he leases the Southwind home to high profile visitors, and says he has a contract to sell the house in the next few weeks.

"An individual has to live in the district that he or she seeks to run for office on at the time of filing petition to run for that particular office," said Shelby County election chair Greg Duckett. Duckett said Harvey isn't violating any rules.

However political watchdog groups like Memphis-based New Path, believe the law needs to be reformed.

"If you plan on representing a particular area, then you should be vested and a member of that community to understand the issues and concerns, plight of people living there everyday," said New Path co-founder Darrell Cobbins.

Harvey said his choice of where to live is not politically motivated.

"Why would you live in a 2 bedroom apartment, when you live out in Southwind? Well when you work hard you have an opportunity to have choices," he said.

There are six other candidates running for the same spot on the county commission as James Harvey.

They are Del Gill, Johnny Hatcher, Junior, Robert Hatton, Adrian Killebrew, Georgia Malone and Paul J. Springer, Senior.

The primary election is May 2nd. Stay with Action News 5 for continuing coverage of Decision 2006.