Rehoboth commissioners are expected to confirm the slate of candidates for the city’s 2019 municipal election during a meeting Friday, June 21.
However, in a June 17 complaint to Rehoboth Mayor Paul Kuhns and Sussex County Department of Elections Director Kenneth McDowell, Rehoboth property owner Brian Patterson challenged the qualifications of candidate Edward Chrzanowski, who filed as a resident with the address of 46 Pennsylvania Ave.
Patterson, the long-term partner of candidate Gary Glass and an attorney from Washington, D.C., claims Chrzanowski is registered to vote in Mercer County, N.J. and does not own any property in Rehoboth. According to Sussex County records, planning commission member Rick Perry owns the Rehoboth property Chrzanowski listed as his residence.
Patterson also claims, as of 2017, Chrzanowski has lived in Philadelphia with his husband, while listing a home in Washington, D.C., as his residence. “Mr. Chrzanowski is not a freeholder in Rehoboth Beach, and he is not a bona fide resident and domiciliary of Rehoboth Beach,” said Patterson. “Therefore, he is not qualified to run for and hold the office of commissioner of the City of Rehoboth Beach in the upcoming election.”
Chrzanowski called all of Patterson’s accusations are ridiculous. “Rehoboth is my domicle. It’s where I pay my taxes,” he said. “I spend more time here than anywhere else.”
Chrzanowski said he’s a trustee in multiple property-owning LLCs in town, including 46 Pennsylvania Ave., but he said he’s running as a resident, not as a free holder. “I’m not eligible as a free holder, and I never said I was running as one,” said Chrzanowski, adding that he doesn’t intend to remove his name as a candidate. “They would like me to, but no, I’m not.”
McDowell confirmed June 19 that he had received the letter from Patterson, but he said the city has home rule, so city officials would decide the matter. He said Chrzanowski is registered to vote in Delaware and has a Delaware driver’s license.
Patterson addresses these two points in his complaint. He said secondary measures such as registering to vote in Delaware and possessing a Delaware driver’s license are not sufficient to demonstrate a change of domicile.
Chrzanowski said he hasn’t lived in Mercer County in 15 years, and he’s not sure why he’s still registered there. He said he thought municipalities purged voting records after a certain number of years.
In addition to questioning Chrzanowski’s candidacy, Patterson requests that Commissioners Lisa Schlosser and Pat Coluzzi recuse themselves from participating in the upcoming candidate confirmation. He said the two commissioners have a close personal relationship with Chrzanowski, were involved with his petition as a candidate and escorted Chrzanowski to city hall the day he filed his paperwork.
Chrzanowski said Schlosser and Coluzzi were absolutely not at city hall with him. “I’m 35 years old. I don’t need to be escorted,” he said. “This is exactly why I’m running. This type of nonsense and negativity is not what Rehoboth needs.”
Efforts to reach Schlosser and Coluzzi were unsuccessful.
For now, the candidacy of the other five candidates – Glass, Charles Garlow, Susan Gay, Suzanne Goode and Mark Betchkal – has not been questioned.
The confirmation of candidates will take place at the regularly scheduled commissioner meeting, which begins at 3 p.m. This item is the last new business item on the agenda, which is available at cityofrehoboth.civicweb.net.
The election will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 10, in Rehoboth Beach Convention Center, 229 Rehoboth Ave. To be eligible to vote, a person must register on or before Thursday, July 11.