A mayoral candidate in Brockton, Massachusetts, is under the microscope after the city challenged his residency, saying he is living in another municipality. His response has troubled some at city hall.
Hamilton Rodrigues was taken off Brockton's list of registered voters two weeks ago after listing his home in Canton, not Brockton, in an online transaction with the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
Rodrigues immediately sent an email to the Brockton Elections Commission, accusing the city of sabotaging his campaign, and even calling some city councilors racial slurs.
Rodrigues says he stands by all of it.
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"I'm allowed to sleep everywhere, anywhere I want in America, but my residency is here in Brockton," he said Thursday.
But Cyndy Scrivani, the Election Commission's executive director, says it isn't. She says Rodrigues completed an online transaction with the RMV a few weeks ago where he allegedly put his legal address as Rockland Street in Canton.
"Canton processed the voter registration for the address provided to the Registry," Scrivani said. "They pulled him from us, Canton did. So we sent him a letter of final removal."
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She tells NBC10 Boston the department removed Rodrigues from the list of registered voters on Aug. 4. That's when he responded with an email sent to Scrivani and other city officials.
"Is this a joke or are you trying to sabotage my campaign?" he asked in the email. "You are not playing games with no ordinary individual."
Later in the email, he used a racial slur to describe two city councilors.
Hamilton told NBC10 Boston he stands by his words.
"It's freedom of speech. It's not illegal to say rappers couldn't put it in their songs, OK? And every single Black person, minority person, on the planet uses it. So why can't I? The day every person of color stops using the N word, that's the day I stop using it."
According to city documents, the last time Hamilton voted in Brockton was in 2010.
These documents also reveal he changed his address a few days ago to a single-family home on Brockton's Chamberlain Court, behind his business, George's Restaurant.
"I'm appalled that someone … who wants such an esteemed position as mayor, and this is how he reacts to things that don't go his way?" Scrivani said.
"I'm a real estate developer. I have properties around the world, you know? I hop and I hop. Sometimes I live here and sometimes I live there," Rodrigues said. "I'm here to help out all people of Brockton. This is the United Nations."
Rodrigues will be on the ballot for mayor, along with five other candidates, in the city's preliminary election on Sept. 19.