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German seeks Weston mayor's post

German seeks Weston mayor's post

A German man who has tried for a decade to prove he is the son of a former mayor of the West Virginia town of Weston filed papers Saturday to run for the office amid questions about whether he had lived in the city long enough.
The candidacy of Franz Anthoefer, who was granted honorary citizenship last year, comes a decade after he ran for Weston mayor but was deported on the eve of the 1997 election.
"This time I mean it. I'm very determined," Anthoefer said in a telephone interview.
But incumbent Mayor Jon Tucci, who is seeking re-election on June 12, said Weston law states that a political candidate must be a resident for at least a year. Anthoefer returned to Weston in October from Germany in his latest bid to seek legal recognition as the son of the late mayor Louis G. Craig.
The Secretary of State's office instructed officials in the city of 4,300 residents to accept candidacy papers from anyone who wanted to file for office, City Clerk Derrick Snyder said.
Anthoefer arrived at City Hall just before it closed at 4 p.m. Saturday. He was among at least six candidates.
"As far as I'm concerned, he's not a citizen of the country or our municipality," Tucci said Saturday. "To me, it's a moot point. I'm just confused on the Secretary of State's suggestion that we have to give a packet to everyone."
But Anthoefer said he did his homework and checked with the Secretary of State's office first.
"I will have fulfilled the (residency) requirements once I'm elected. June is far away," Anthoefer said.
Tucci said City Council could decide to meet on Anthoefer's candidacy.
"I in my official capacity don't want to make a mockery of our upcoming election. My job is to uphold the law," he said.
A call to the Secretary of State's office in Charleston went unanswered Saturday.
Weston's City Council, including Tucci, voted 3-0 in November to grant Anthoefer honorary citizenship. Tucci had said the vote was a "gesture of kindness" and recognized DNA test results that showed a match between Anthoefer and genetic material from Craig's body.
Anthoefer received permission from a West Virginia circuit judge to have Craig's body exhumed in 1996 for DNA tests, which were found to be a 99.93 percent match. The results were never disputed, but tests alone do not establish paternity.
A Family Court judge in October ruled Anthoefer waited too long to file a paternity claim in West Virginia. Legally, he was required to file his challenge before he reached the age of 21. Anthoefer did not seek legal recognition until 2001, when he was 50.
Anthoefer, who didn't find his birth mother until he was a young man, has said he planned to appeal the decision. Courts in Rastatt, Germany, have already recognized Craig as Anthoefer's father.
Anthoefer believes Craig, who has no known survivors, had an affair with Anthoefer's mother, Babette Anthoefer, in Rastatt, Germany, in 1950. Anthoefer traced Craig to West Virginia in 1971, but reached U.S. soil two weeks after Craig died.
"My father never had a family. Weston was his substitute for family," Anthoefer said. "Since I feel very close to my father, I more or less have the impression that he left it to me to do what he did many years ago when he was mayor."
Anthoefer ran for mayor of Weston in 1997 under the name Louis Craig Jr. But the former airplane pilot was deported just before the election for being in the country illegally.
Anthoefer said he felt it was time to do something to help Weston's economy.
"Over the years I've seen the town declining and I cannot possibly bear this. I want to stop this. I want to do whatever is possible to do that," he said. "I get the impression that people are leaving Weston. They don't find any jobs."


Updated : 2020-12-01 13:58 GMT+08:00