Deposition held for Rep. David Cole to contest residency in District 10

One Madison county lawmaker is facing a lawsuit that claims he lied to voters about living in the district he represents
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 7:54 PM CDT|Updated: May. 26, 2023 at 5:55 AM CDT
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MADISON, Ala. (WAFF) - House District 10 Representative David Cole is back under the microscope as questions about his residency in the district are piling up.

Questions about Rep. Cole residing in District 10 were raised right before the 2022 election as it was discovered that he signed a rental agreement in Nov. 2021 just days before the filing deadline.

The address he used when he filed to run for office was located on Conservancy Drive which is in District 10. But tax records showed that Rep. Cole resided in a home located on Cedar Springs Place which would have placed him in District 4.

Rep. Cole’s campaign manager, David Driscoll, said at the time the goal was to rent while Cole’s family looked for a home and then eventually sell the home on Cedar Springs Place.

On May 17, a deposition was conducted for Cole brought by the plaintiff, Libertarian Elijah Boyd at the Alabama State House. The deposition lasted from 10:06 a.m. until 12:37 p.m.

While answering the questions that were prepared and provided before Mar. 20, Cole was under oath. The following information has been summarized from the 146-page court document uploaded by the Madison County Circuit Court Clerk on May 25.

Before the deposition began, Cole’s attorney, Al Agricola, stated that “once the official that is -- whose election is being challenged is sworn into office, no court has jurisdiction over the matter thereafter.”

Agricola also requested that the answers to the questions presented during the deposition remain pending until their petition of a writ of mandamus. [As stated in the deposition, the writ of mandamus would seek to limit the number of questions that were served on Cole.]

Agricola finished his statement by saying “we would request that the House dispose of this matter as soon as possible in favor of Representative Cole.”

Following Agricola’s statement, Elijah Boyd’s attorney, Barry Ragsdale, stated that the Alabama Supreme Court denied Cole’s petition for the writ of mandamus and motion to dismiss the day prior, May 16.

Current Address

When Cole was asked by the commissioner what his current address was he answered that he entered into a “residential lease effective November 1, 2021, with Himbert J. Sinopoli” at a residence on Conservancy Drive in Madison [located in District 10].

He continued by saying that the term of the lease was from Nov. 1, 2021, until Nov. 30, 2022, and that he intended to “abandon my[his] previous true, fixed, principal, and permanent home” located on Cedar Springs Place [located in District 4] with places to make the Conservancy Drive location his permanent home.

Following that he stated that he signed a lease for an apartment at Ashbury Woods Apartments and intended “to abandon my previous true fixed, principal, and permanent home located” on Conservancy Drive[located in District 10] to make the Ashbury Wood apartment his permanent home.

Cole said that his permanent home is located “within the geographic boundaries of Madison County in the Alabama House District 10 for at least one year prior to the general election held on November 8, 2022.”

He also answered that he does not currently reside in the home on Cedar Springs Place [located in District 4] and has since resided in the Ashbury Woods apartment and the home located on Conservancy Drive [both located in District 10].

When asked who lived with him in the District 10 residents, he answered that no one resided with him in the Ashbury Woods apartment and resided with Sinopoli and his family in the home on Conservancy Drive.

When asked of mail services, Cole answered that he received mail at all residences. Also, he stated that he did not notify his employer/place of employment, the United State Veterans Administration or the Cedar Springs Homeowner’s Association of his intent to vacate the Cedar Springs home and/or change his address.

Cedar Springs Place (District 4)

Cole stated that he had lived in the home on Cedar Springs Place since 2014 and when asked if he moved any furniture, electronics, dishes, etc. from the home he stated that the question is “not applicable” but stated that he still paid for gas, electric, internet, lawn care, housekeeping and water bills at the home.

It was also stated that Cole and his wife own the home and have annually paid dues to the Cedar Springs Homeowner’s Association.

He continued by saying that he did not intend to return to the home located in District 4 and stated that he vacated the home in order to meet the residency requirements but may have misunderstood “the residency requirements of Section 47** of the Alabama Constitution of 2022.”

When asked if his wife and children had vacated the home he answered no, when asked why his wife and children did not vacate the home he answered: “I don’t know.”

When asked if had ever slept overnight at the home during the period at issue he answered: “I believed I did. but did not recall how many nights.

When asked if he knew his polling location in 2020 he stated that he did not recall, but when asked if his 2022 polling location was the same as it was in 2020 and he answered no. He also stated that he did not recall if he and his wife had voted at the same polling locations in the 2022 primary and general elections.

Cole stated that he changed his residence address on his State of Alabama Voter Registration Form prior to filling out qualification documents to run for office between Nov. 5 and Nov. 8, 2021.

When asked if he planned to sell the home he said yes and that they were looking at other homes to purchase but never hired a realtor and never placed the home on the market.

He stated later on that the home ceased to be his current residence on Nov. 1, 2021.

Conservancy Drive (District 10)

When asked if he moved any furniture, electronics, dishes, etc. into the home he answered no, when asked if he had moved any personal property into the home he answered: “I do not remember.” When asked if anyone assisted him in moving into the home he answered: “I cannot recall.”

The commissioner asked the following question: “The Sinopoli leader indicates that the leased property was not furnished. What furniture did you use at the Conservancy Drive house during the period of the lease?” Cole answered: ‘I don’t recall.” Cole also said that he did not recall sleeping overnight at the home and stated that his children did not sleep overnight at home.

He also stated that he did not recall ever eating a meal or bathing at the home

Cole answered that his wife and children did not move into the home on Conservancy Drive. When asked why his wife was not listed as a tenant and why she did not sign the lease, Cole answered: “I don’t know.” Cole also stated further along that his wife and children did not want to live at the home.

Rent was paid by Cole through a check payment for the home but he did not remember the amount of rent and the total amount of rent he paid to Sinopoli. Utilities, lawn care, housekeeping, cable/internet, etc. were not paid by Cole.

When asked what the fee for an insufficient rent check is and on what date was the lease filled he stated that he did not remember. When asked about renter’s insurance he said that he did not have it and stated “not applicable” when asked why he did not obtain renter’s insurance. Cole and his wife did have homeowner’s insurance for their

Cole answered “unknown” on how long he intended to live in the home or if he planned to renew or extend the lease. When asked what portion, area or rooms of the home did he lease he answered; “I don’t remember.”

Himbert Sinopoli

Once the commissioner asked if the Sinopoli lease attached to the deposition was true and accurate, Cole responded by saying “I cannot answer that question truthfully because Exhibit A, as presented, is not the Sinopoli lease” but did say that he signed the true lease on Nov. 5, 2021, along with Sinopoli.

Cole stated that Sinopoli was a family friend but did not remember when he met him or when he first learned that Sinopoli was interested in leasing some or all of the home on Conservancy Drive.

It was also stated that Sinopoli and his wife continued to live in the home during the period of Cole’s lease but also said “I don’t recall” when asked if anyone else other than himself lived in the home during the period of his lease.

He stated that he provided the Conservancy Drive address to the Alabama Republican Party and/or the Alabama Republican Executive Committee when he filed the documents to run for office in 2022. When asked if he still lived in the Cedar Springs home when he filed the documents to run for office he answered: “I incorporate my answer to the first question as my answer to this question.”

Ashbury Woods Apartments

When asked what address was listed on his driver’s license, he stated that the address for the Ashbury Woods apartment was listed. He followed that by saying that during the period at issue, the Ashbury address and the Cedar Springs address were listed on his license.

He also stated that his wife’s current address listed on her driver’s license is the Ashbury Woods address and stated that she had lived at the apartment since Sep. 1, 2022. Cole said he believes she changed the address on her license in Oct. 2022. When asked where his children reside he said they lived at the home on Cedars Spring Place.

Cole said that he resided in the apartment and that he moved in furniture and purchased renter’s insurance. When asked why he leased the apartment he answered” “It’s a nice complex.”

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