Rep. Tlaib’s fa­ther: She didn’t live in city

The Detroit News - - Metro -

Detroit — It is not only Matty Moroun the bil­lion­aire-bridge owner who is try­ing to undo the po­lit­i­cal ca­reer of State Rep. Rashida Tlaib. Now, it is her fa­ther — Harbi Elabed. Tlaib, a fresh­man from the 12th District in Detroit’s South­west side, has made a quick name for her­self play­ing David to Moroun’s Go­liath.

Moroun is try­ing with in­creas­ing dif­fi­culty to build a sec­ond span to Canada ad­ja­cent to his beloved Am­bas­sador Bridge, which is lo­cated in Tlaib’s district.

Tlaib has been such a pain to Moroun that his sub­or­di­nates launched an un­suc­cess­ful re­call cam­paign against her last year, claim­ing her sup­port for a com­pet­ing bridge plan would dev­as­tate the Del­ray com­mu­nity, a neigh­bor­hood fur­ther but also trict.

Now Tlaib’s fa­ther is pip­ing in. He said his daugh­ter mis­rep­re­sented her res­i­dency when she signed an elec­tion af­fi­davit in 2008 with the Wayne County Clerk claim­ing she was a ci­ti­zen of Detroit.

Ac­cord­ing to that af­fi­davit, Tlaib claimed she lived at 9123 Rath­bone in Detroit. That house is owned in part by her fa­ther, Harbi Elabed, and he now says she did not live there and he was only re­cently made aware that she had claimed so. “She lied,” said Elabed, 61, an im­mi­grant from Jerusalem and fa-

down­river, in her dis- ther of 14 who prides him­self on Old World val­ues of parental fealty. “She lied big-time to get elected. I never teach her that way. I teach her the right way. It’s my house. She didn’t live there. She lived in Dear­born in her house with her hus­band and boy.”

Dear­born is not a part of the 12 th House District that Tlaib was elected to rep­re­sent.

Res­i­dency is­sues are very dif­fi­cult to prove. To be­come a can­di­date, you must be a “reg­is­tered and qual­i­fied elec­tor” of that district, ac­cord­ing to state law. That means you must have your pri­mary res­i­dence — the ad­dress on your driver’s li­cense and where you’re reg­is­tered to vote — in that district.

There is no law how­ever, ac­cord­ing to state elec­tion of­fi­cials, say­ing that a per­son must spend any par­tic­u­lar num­ber of days, weeks or months at a cer­tain lo­ca­tion. Per­jury is an of­fense pun­ish­able by up to five years in prison and a $1,000 fine.

Tlaib ad­mit­ted that the res­i­dency is­sue has dogged her since she was elected to of­fice but says she ab­so­lutely lived at the house.

“Peo­ple have ques­tioned that a lot, but never my fa­ther and I’m sad about that,” she said. “The point is I com­plied with the law. I moved into the district be­fore I filed. Pe­riod.”

‘My fa­ther’s crazy’

Ac­cord­ing to prop­erty and tax records, Tlaib lived in a house on Tire­man in Dear­born that her hus­band pur­chased a decade ago. Taxes were paid on that house in 2009 with her hus­band claim­ing it as his pri­mary res­i­dence.

But in 2008, as Tlaib was pre­par­ing for a run for the seat, she said she sep­a­rated from her hus­band and moved into her fa­ther’s house with her two broth­ers.

“It’s em­bar­rass­ing but it’s the truth, I’ve got bills to prove it,” she said.

Her brother Ibra­hem Elabed backed her up: “She lived with me for a year. My fa­ther’s crazy.”

Asked why he was tat­tling on his daugh­ter, Harbi Elabed said it was a grow­ing litany of trans­gres­sions that his daugh­ter com­mit­ted upon him — cul­mi­nat­ing in a dis­pute about care of his aged mother, who suf­fers from de­men­tia.

Ac­cord­ing to Harbi, his daugh­ter sided against him and in fa­vor of his nephew in a bat­tle of cus­tody, a com­plete breach of fam­ily val­ues, he said.

“My sons told me blood is thicker than wa­ter and I should keep my mouth shut, so OK, I did,” he said. “Then she crossed the line with her fa­ther. When she in­ter­feres in the fa­ther’s busi­ness, when she shows him no re­spect. This life in pol­i­tics has changed her.

“What’s the say­ing?” he said. “Peo­ple liv­ing in glass houses?”

Tlaib now lives next to dad

To which his daugh­ter replied: “It’s not sur­pris­ing that he did this to me. It’s not. He was abu­sive to me as a girl and he’s an­gry at me about my grand­mother. I know he’s proud of what I’ve ac­com­plished but he’s also vin­dic­tive. It’s all very em­bar­rass­ing. What do they say, you can’t choose your fam­ily?”

Tlaib changed her ad­dress again last June. She pur­chased a house at 9129 Rath­bone St. and has rec­on­ciled with her hus­band.

Her new house is next door to her fa­ther’s house.

CHAR­LIE LEDUFF

El­iz­a­beth Con­ley / The Detroit News Rashida Tlaib said she lived at this home on Rath­bone in Detroit i n 2008. Her dad, a part-owner, says she didn’t.

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