This story was updated on Saturday, July 7 with Bernard Korn’s response.
A candidate for Boca Raton mayor who launched his campaign months ago only registered to vote in April at a Boca Raton address that conflicts with the address of his permanent home outside the city, according to county records.
Bernard Korn, 63, has never voted in a Palm Beach County election, having just registered as a Democrat in April, the Palm Beach County elections supervisor reports. He registered using an address at the Sun and Surf neighborhood near Red Reef Park, on the city’s barrier island.
The home, within city limits, is owned by Richard Vecchio, a one-time candidate for mayor who withdrew before qualifying period ended. The home has homestead status, afforded to properties if they are the owners’ primary residence.
But Korn and his wife, Kathy, own a home west of Boca Raton, near Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park. It also, that also has homestead status as of this year, the property appraiser’s office reports. This raises the question of whether Korn lives within Boca Raton city limits.
Korn wrote in an email late Friday that he’s separated from his wife and filing for divorce soon, explaining his separate address.
“However, hopeful chance for reconciliation when I win the mayoral election,” he wrote. He did not respond to several phone calls and there was no response visited Vecchio’s home — also Korn’s voter registration address — despite a car in the driveway.
Eligible council candidates must live in the city, but the city clerk’s office is not required to verify an address when a candidate qualifies.
In May, the city council considered changing the rule, forcing potential candidates to prove they live within city limits. The council opted to wait until after the August special election to fill the seat of suspended Mayor Susan Haynie, who faces criminal charges of public corruption.
In a biography emailed to The Palm Beach Post, Korn, a real estate broker, wrote that he has lived in Palm Beach County for 18 years, but declined to share his address. He and his wife bought the home west of Boca Raton in 2000, property records show.
“Is this residence within the district for which you seek election? ABSOLUTELY, REQUIRED BY STATUTE,” Korn wrote in the email.
Korn – one of three candidates for mayor — is self-financing his campaign, having loaned himself just $2,600 as of May 31, campaign finance reports show. He launched his campaign months before Haynie’s ouster.
Why is he running for office? “We must stop CORRUPTION in Boca Raton City by forming an ANTI-CORRUPTION TASK FORCE,” Korn wrote.
Korn is also running for president of the United States in 2020, according to campaign material he printed and handed out at several Boca Raton meetings.
Interim Mayor Scott Singer, formerly vice mayor until Haynie’s suspension, also launched his campaign for mayor long before Haynie’s departure. Singer has raised about $84,300 as of May 31, mostly through donations.
The third mayoral candidate, Al Zucaro, who lost to Haynie in 2017, jumped into the race shortly before qualifying period ended. Zucaro, an attorney and publisher of gadfly blog BocaWatch, loaned himself $3,500 in May. He largely self-financed his unsuccessful bid for mayor in 2017.
The mayoral race will appear on the Aug. 28 primary ballot, along with a race for Boca Raton City Council Seat A, which has drawn three candidates.
Follow Boca Raton reporter Lulu Ramadan on Twitter at @luluramadan.