A City Commission candidate whose home is a vacant concrete shell said he’s living in Fort Lauderdale because his Wilton Manors house is under construction.
The residency issue appears to put Joseph Vincent Sansone in violation of a 2004 city ordinance that requires candidates to have lived in Wilton Manors for six months prior to qualifying for office.
Sansone, 40, filed qualifying paperwork in June that says he lives at 400 Northwest 24 Street, but admitted on Tuesday that he currently resides in a Fort Lauderdale house at 508 Flamingo Drive, owned by his partner. Sansone said the couple will live in Fort Lauderdale until the Wilton Manors house is completed.
“The fact is that I should be living on 24th Street [in Wilton Manors]. I cannot help that I was forced out of my residence because the house basically needed to be torn down,” Sansone said. “The truth of the matter is, that is our primary residence. We have no intention of staying where we are now.”
Sansone filed to run for office on June 8. He said the 24th Street house had water damage and faulty electrical wiring that made it unsafe to inhabit.
Whether Sansone is eligible to run for Wilton Manors Commission would have to be determined by the courts, said John Way, Director of Candidate and Elections Services for the Broward Supervisor of Elections.
“After qualifying, only a judge can stop it,” Way said. “It’s not in our power to stop it or remove a name from the ballot unless the person withdraws or it is court-ordered. The law is very clear on this.”
Sansone said his own legal counsel advised him that he could run.
“It is the consensus that I am able to run,” Sansone said. “My attorneys have told me that it is OK to run. They have read through the bylaws and they have deemed it OK to run. The City Clerk has accepted the application.”
The election forms Sansone filed with the Wilton Manors City Clerk say that he lives at 400 Northwest 24th Street. A visit to the property revealed an unoccupied concrete block shell with visible rebar surrounded by a chain-link fence. A large green dumpster sits in the front yard. A neighbor said no one had lived there for about a year.
Property records show that the house is owned by ASCO Holdings & Development LLC, of which Sansone is a registered agent. ASCO’s annual report, filed on March 7, 2020, lists Sansone’s address at 495 North Federal Highway, Unit 1602, Fort Lauderdale. Sansone said he doesn’t live at that address, and doesn’t know why that address was included in the annual report.
Corporation documents for ASCO list the mailing address as 508 Flamingo Drive in Fort Lauderdale, the home owned by Sansone’s partner Muhammed Adnan Aziz.
According to the Broward Property Appraiser’s website, Aziz purchased the 24th Street in Wilton Manors house on January 22, 2019, from the previous owners, then quitclaimed the property to ASCO Holdings & Development LLC on August 1, 2019. The house is located in a neighborhood overseen by the Westside Association of Wilton Manors.
The Florida Department of State’s Voter Information database lists Sansone as an active voter with the Florida Democratic Party who registered to vote on Sept. 28, 2000. It lists his home address as the vacant house at 400 NW 24 Street in Wilton Manors.
The Broward County Supervisor of Elections website lists the same home address, with a mailing address of 508 Flamingo Drive in Fort Lauderdale. Sansone listed the Flamingo Drive address as his own in January 2019 when he was cited for a traffic infraction for failing to change the address on his driver's license, court records show.
Sansone, a realtor for Compass Realty, is on the Board of Directors for SunServe and operated a barbershop on Wilton Drive from 2010-2017.
“I’ve been affiliated with the Wilton Manors community for over 15 years,” Sansone said. “We had to get out [of the house] because it was uninhabitable.”