TRENTON — New Jersey state law stipulates that a legislator reside in the municipality they are elected to serve, but one official in the capital city may be running afoul of that rule, albeit with less than two months left in his term.

Trenton Councilman At Large Santiago Rodriguez did not attend the City Council's first in-person meeting this week since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which according to The Trentonian, made his colleagues wonder if he had followed through on a stated desire to move to Florida.

Rodriguez's term is set to end June 30, as listed on the city's website.

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Rodriguez phoned in to the meeting, but the Trentonian report said he was unable to explain why he was not present at council chambers.

East Ward Councilman Joe Harrison, according to the report, said he recently saw a moving truck at the 420 Commonwealth Avenue address Rodriguez has owned since 2013, and which the Mercer County Clerk's Office still lists Rodriguez as owning.

However, Harrison shared an email from Rodriguez with the Trentonian in which Rodriguez said he no longer lives at that address, and the council's attorney said Rodriguez instead claims to be renting space in the 900 block of South Broad Street.

"He shouldn't be voting ... He would be committing fraud," Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora told the Trentonian.

South Ward Councilman George Muschal agreed.

"He's just causing chaos," Muschal was quoted as saying in the report.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com

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