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