Otto Banks Harrisburg residency challenge continues in court

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The spotlight continues to shine on the race for Harrisburg mayor.

The question, as of recent, is if candidate Otto Banks lives in the city — as is required? The question is at the center of a court case that will ultimately determine whether Banks can stay in the race.

Banks is a former Harrisburg City councilman and also served on the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission before announcing his run for mayor in February 2021.

The hearing on Tuesday lasted about five hours. There are two opinions on what residency means.

Harrisburg Democratic candidate Otto Banks owns a home in Harrisburg and Swatara Township.

The deed to his Harrisburg home was put in his name on August 28, 2020, which meets the deadline requirement to establish residency one year prior to the Nov. 2021 mayoral general election.

“The reason we became suspicious, it’s easy to do what his attorney says. It is easy to change your address, no one checks that. We can do that also, but is it my residence? No,” said attorney Karen Balaban, who represents petitioner Joseph Wright.

She subpoenaed the utility records for Banks’ Harrisburg home to show the court the usage is too low for someone who lives there during most of the week.

“You can do renovations, but he testified he is not doing renovations, and with the exception of his travels to Columbia, his utilities should not be so low,” Balaban explained.

Banks testified he lives alone, does not cook and travels a lot — which includes a long length of time out of the country visiting family.

“This is part of the process. Are we thrilled that it happened? No, but it’s part of the process and justice will be served in the end, and Otto Banks will be around for a long time,” Banks said.

Banks calls his Harrisburg resident his home and says this is a political tactic to get him out of the race.

“My Harrisburg home is my home home and it will always be my home home,” Banks said.

Judge Andrew Dowling is expected to announce his ruling by the end of the week.

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