The Dewey Beach Board of Elections will determine whether Commissioner David Moskowitz is an eligible candidate at a virtual special public meeting at 4 p.m., Friday, Sept. 11, in response to a complaint that Moskowitz does not meet residency qualifications as mandated in town charter.
Comprehensive development plan committee Chair Dave Davis filed the complaint with the town, stating that Moskowitz is ineligible because he filed as a resident commissioner but does not meet that qualification because he is no longer a property owner.
Davis said after he read an email called Dewey Truth, he wondered about Moskowitz’s eligibility to vote and as a candidate.
“The more I thought about it, the more it seemed in need of looking into further,” Davis said. “I sent an email to the board of elections and Mayor Cooke and Acting Town Manager Jim Dedes asking if the town was investigating the issue. From there it became a formal complaint and I'm now doing the research on the issue, and a hearing has been scheduled.”
Documents submitted to the town by Davis and posted on townofdeweybeach.com Sept. 9 show that town charter states a resident commissioner must be a bona fide resident and property owner and that if a commissioner ceases to be a bona fide resident or property owner during his term, he must vacate his office. Commissioners will judge qualifications of their members, the charter states.
The charter states that a loss of residence is a disqualifying event that would result in a vacancy in the commissioner office, and that commissioners should fill the vacant position for the remainder of the term.
Davis submitted a copy of Moskowitz’s election paperwork dated Aug. 18 in which he filed as a resident commissioner. Davis also submitted a copy of a deed dated May 28 that was recorded by the Sussex County Recorder of Deeds June 3 in which Moskowitz transferred ownership of his property to a limited liability company called Beachtime.com, LLC by David E. Moskowitz, sole member.
In his complaint, Davis stated Moskowitz ceased to be a property owner as of June 3, thereby disqualifying him from continuing his term as a resident commissioner and rendering that office vacant. Davis stated that Moskowitz is also ineligible to appear on the ballot in the upcoming election if he did not restore his qualifications by the time he filed to run as a resident commissioner Aug. 18.
“If the commission judges that Mr. Moskowitz does not meet the qualifications to serve as a resident commissioner, then I ask that his Aug. 18 application be rejected and his name removed from the ballot in the upcoming election, and notice of such action be mailed to all registered voters in the town,” Davis said.
In a Sept. 4 email blast, Moskowitz alleged former Mayor Pat Wright created a fake Facebook page impersonating him and was spreading false personal information about him via the Dewey Truth newsletter to discredit him and promote candidate Bill Stevens.
In a Sept. 7 email to the Cape Gazette, Moskowitz stated, “Everyone knows I have owned property in Dewey Beach for over seven years and now live here full time with my 16-month-old daughter. This all started with mudslinging by a key supporter of my opponent Mr. Stevens. So instead of spending my time on voter issues, I am dealing with an election hearing. I love Dewey Beach. We are better than this.”
Regarding Moskowitz’s allegations against her, Wright said in a Sept. 7 email, “I am flattered that Mr. Moskowitz thinks I am capable of all of this. I can hardly operate my cellphone, and Mr. Moskowitz ongoingly makes false police reports and attacks. It’s sad.”
On Sept. 10, Moskowitz sent a link to a Sussex County property records search indicating that he is co-owner of the property.
“I placed my house into a sole-member LLC wrapped into a trust for liability and estate planning purposes for my daughter's benefit,” Moskowitz said.
In addition to residency and property ownership qualifications, town charter also states that resident commissioners can also be qualified if they are a settlor/creator and trustee of a valid trust of property within the town and recorded in the Office of the Recorder of Deeds in and for Sussex County, or be a leaseholder of real estate in the town for five years or more.
A link to the meeting is available at townofdeweybeach.com. Public comment will be accepted.