In Evangeline Parish, the mayor-elect of Turkey Creek is facing a challenge that could prevent him from taking office. Phillip Cavins ran unopposed and is set to be sworn in on January 1.
Bert Campbell and private investigator James Bertrand are suspicious of the mayor-elect’s eligibility to hold office.
“This is not legal what you’re doing,” Campbell said about Cavins. “You’re not a citizen of Turkey Creek. At least you weren’t on the day that you were qualified. Now, you say that you’ve been living here over a year. I know you bought your house a little over a year ago, but you have not lived there. I have witnesses and affidavits signed, saying you did not live there.”
Campell and Bertrand alleged Cavins lived outside of the village limits and changed his address the same day he qualified for the election. They also say they have paperwork to back up their claims. According to Louisiana law, you have to live in the place where you are wanting to run for mayor a full year before you can qualify.
“If I have to take a guess, I got about fifteen statues of the law that he violated,” Bertrand said. “I believe it’s a fix-up. There is a lot of suspicion going on.”
KATC looked through documents given to us by Bertrand and Campbell. Two documents show Cavins with a P.O. box in Pine Prairie and that he voted in elections there in 2016. Cavins admits to never have voted in Turkey Creek but says he is qualified to be mayor.
“The fact that I’m being accused of buying a house just to run for mayor, I think, is slightly ridiculous because it’s a lot of work just to run for mayor,” Cavins said.
In June of 2017, documents show Cavins declared homestead exemption at the Turkey Creek address, which is what most courts use to show a voter’s permanent address.
“I signed my homestead exemption, I believe, it was June 13th and moved in on the 15th or 16th. The water records show when I got it turned on, and you can see a fluctuation. It’s not always the same. You can see I’m using water and electricity over there. ”
Cavins admits he was raised just outside of the village limits but moved last year. Meanwhile, a group of residents plans on filling a recall petition once Cavins takes office.
“I respect the community’s choice and ability to attempt a recall,” Cavins said. ” But, I pray for the chance to prove myself to each and every Turkey Creek voter to prove to them that I can be a mayor that they are proud of.”