Commissioner addresses residency issues

Randy White residency
City Commissioner Randy White divides his time among Bradenton Beach, New York and Toronto. - Joe Hendricks | Sun

BRADENTON BEACH – City Commissioner Randy White’s status as a city resident was indirectly questioned during last week’s Charter Review Committee (CRC) meeting.

City Attorney Ricinda Perry said she has received inquiries about the residency status of a current commissioner. Perry was discussing the City Commission’s request to better define city charter residency requirements for commission candidates.

Perry did not identify the commissioner by name but mistakenly said he holds a city-issued Transient Public Lodging Establishment (TPLE) license. She also said the property listed as the commissioner’s residence has been used recently as a vacation rental.

Perry said the property tax bill for the commissioner’s property is sent to a Canadian address and the commissioner’s car had a Canadian license plate until recently.

Mayor John Chappie has a city-issued TPLE license, but he resides full-time in one of the two duplexes he and his brother, Joe, own on 12th Street South. Their tax bills also reflect that.

According to the Manatee County Property Appraiser’s website, Commissioner Randy White’s tax bill for the bungalow at 106 Fourth St. N. has been sent to Toronto, Canada since he bought it 2012.

The tax bill for the bungalow White owns next door at 108 Fourth St. N. has been sent to the 106 Fourth St. N. address since he bought the second bungalow in 2014. According to Building Official Steve Gilbert, the bungalow at 108 Fourth St. N. remains uninhabitable due to an unresolved stop work order issued for working without permits in 2016.

In January, White pursued a TPLE license for the 106 Fourth St. N. bungalow that was being used as a vacation rental. Late last year and earlier this year that property was listed as a vacation rental through the Holmes Beach-based Beachrental.mobi property management company.

On Monday, City Treasurer Shayne Thompson said White recently obtained a city-issued business tax receipt license for that property but he never completed the TPLE licensing process.

White’s response

White is a commercial airline pilot based out of LaGuardia Airport in New York City. During a layover Monday morning, he explained his residency situation.

“I do understand why people scratch their heads,” he said, when informed of Friday’s CRC discussion.

White said his wife, Lorraine, lives in Toronto and is a Canadian citizen. He said she usually handled the vacation rental logistics and that’s why the tax bill was sent there.

White said his wife will vacation at the bungalow at 106 Fourth St. N. but she will not live there because it’s too small. They planned to live in the bigger bungalow next door, but those plans got bogged down in the permitting issues and remain on hold.

White said he often has overnight layovers in Toronto that allow him to spend time with his wife.

“I have an international job and I’m in an international marriage,” he said.

White said they abandoned the TPLE license because it was getting complicated and costly. He said they no longer use the bungalow as a vacation rental and previously only rented it out when he was flying or out of town.

When it was noted there was recently a car with out-of-state license plates parked in his driveway, White said it belonged to a friend of his wife’s and she did not pay to stay. He said other friends do the same.

White says he also has a crash pad in New York and shares a room with another pilot. He said he usually works Saturday, Sunday, Monday and sometimes on Friday. He usually commutes to New York from Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport.

White said he inherited a Buick LeSabre when his dad passed away and that’s why it had Canadian plates. It now has Florida plates. White said he has a Florida driver’s license that lists 108 Fourth St. N. as his address because that’s where he planned to live.

White said he is an American citizen and registered to vote in Manatee County and Bradenton Beach.

“I’m on the road at least half the time. I spent time in New York and I shoot up to Toronto to see my wife. The other time I dedicate to Bradenton Beach,” he said, noting that he spends about 10 days a month in Bradenton Beach.

White was asked why he decided to run for a commission seat when his time in Bradenton Beach is limited.

“Because I love the town and I know a lot of people here. I’m big on the residents and I think there’s resident and residential issues that need to be addressed,” he said.

On Monday, Perry said she was not aware that White had discontinued his efforts to obtain a TPLE license. She said that has no impact on the commission’s request to better define residency in the city charter.