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Dominik Lay vs. City of Lowell grinds on; appeal is still pending

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LOWELL – Lowell Superior Court Judge William White ruled Tuesday morning that the city cannot go forward with its motion to reconsider the initial ruling by the court that would-be School Committee member Dominik Lay lives in Lowell.

As The Sun has previously reported, the Lowell Superior Court judge ruled on March 24 that Lay does in fact live in Lowell, rendering him eligible to serve on the School Committee in the seat vacated by Robert Hoey earlier this year.

In White’s order, he states the city’s effort, led by City Solicitor Christine O’Connor, to submit evidence discovered on April 14 that Lay cannot live in Lowell because two other parties unrelated to Lay live in the building he said he lived in. The city alleged that Lay was merely a landlord rather than a resident, and instead lived in Brighton.

“The fact that Lay’s residence is a two-unit building and that other registered occupants reside therein, who are not seemingly associated with Lay, was readily discoverable well before the hearing on merits,” White wrote. “Although the change in Lay’s voter registration information prompted the City to inquire further into the nature and occupancy of (Lay’s Lowell address), there was ample time and adequate resources available to the City to discover this information earlier.”

He added that this case was one of “simple oversight,” which he wrote “shall not be excused.” White closed by arguing that the city’s reasoning that the hearing was expedited was not persuasive because the city had agreed to the hearing date without requesting additional time to gather evidence. The order made no mention of the merits of the evidence itself.

“When you file a 52-page document with the court that’s basically the same documents you have already filed many times prior, and the court didn’t find them persuasive, then what makes you think they’re going to be persuasive this time?” said Lay’s attorney, Roland Milliard, when reached for comment.

“What they were advancing was ridiculous. It’s a multi-family home, they are stunned to discover there are other people who live in a multi-family home, besides Mr. Lay,” he added.

O’Connor declined to comment on the matter at this time.

The city’s appeal to the state Appeals Court is pending, as is its motion to stay with the Superior Court, which would allow the city to hold off on seating Lay on the School Committee until the appeal was through.

If the stay was denied and the city still refused to seat him, then the contempt hearing would come into play.

White’s document also lays out the city’s argument that, on April 14, O’Connor discovered that on March 26, the same day the city filed its appeal, Lay, an aide to 1st Middlesex District state Sen. Edward Kennedy,  changed his residential address on his voter registration from his Boston address to his Lowell address, and changed his form of voter ID from his Social Security number to his driver’s license ID number, which lists Lowell as his address.

In response to that, Milliard said he sent Lay to City Hall to confirm that he was still on the voting roll. There, he was given a document that lists his “previous address” as his Boston address without listing the dates of residency of that previous address. With regards to the change in ID, Milliard said, “How does that help their case?”