Amite Courthouse (2022)

Three locals who qualified for the Nov. 8 ballot now find themselves on their way to court this week to answer objections to their candidacy.

Kentwood Mayor candidate “Teddy” Hookfin and Hammond Council candidate Tasha Robinson are among those summoned to appear Monday in 21st Judicial District Court to answer formal legal challenges.

A third suit was filed against Darryl Smith, who is running for Mayor of Hammond. Incumbent Pete Panepinto filed the challenge against Smith, which will be heard on Tuesday.

In the Hookfin case, filer Tre’Von Cooper, a fellow Kentwood alderman now seeking the office of mayor, alleges that Hookfin did not accurately disclose the location of his residence on his candidacy paperwork. Cooper’s suit alleges Hookfin lives on Deerfield Lane—not Pear Street—as identified on his notice of candidacy. Cooper claims that the Deerfield Lane location is outside the city limits of the town.

The Cooper/Hookfin case will be heard at 8:30 a.m. on Monday at the Amite Courthouse.

Just a half hour later the Robinson suit will be heard, also in Amite. In that case, filer Kimberly Andrews

In the Robinson suit, filer Kimberly Andrews alleges Robinson is not a resident of the precinct in which she allegedly qualified, nor has she filed the required "federal and/or state income tax returns for each of the previous five years.” Andrews asks the court to disqualify Robinson on those grounds, which would defacto result in an automatic victory for incumbent Kip Andrews, the only other candidate in that race.

Then on Tuesday, the court will hear a legal challenge in the Hammond Mayor’s race. In that case, Panepinto raises the residency question, asking if Smith lives at the address on North Oak Street which he claims on the qualifying form or if he lives as stated at the Par Lane address as identified as his homestead exemption address.

The Panepinto/Smith challenge is expected to be heard in 21st Judicial District Court in Amite on Tuesday morning.

The Clerk of Court’s office confirms that the deadline for any other challenges to candidacy has now passed.

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