Public records raise questions about Sunny Isles Beach mayoral candidate’s residence

By Syra Ortiz-Blanes of the Miami Herald, November 04, 2022

During her campaign to become the next mayor of Sunny Isles Beach, candidate Anita Funtek has emphasized her status as a longtime resident of the resort city in northeast Miami-Dade County. On her official candidate website, Hungarian-born Funtek chronicled her family’s international relocation to Sunny Isles Beach in August 2011. She described herself as someone who has lived there ever since, in areas of the city that have grown at different rates as developers swooped in to erect luxury beachfront skyscrapers.

“I lived in a condo on the east side of Collins Avenue, and now I live on the west side of Collins Avenue. I can relate to and understand the challenges of the city because I work here, my children go to school here, I buy my groceries here and I worship here,” she wrote.

But public records from Miami-Dade and Broward counties raise questions about Funtek’s eligibility for office in this election based on residency requirements and highlight the legal ambiguities over what determines a candidate’s residence.

Under the city’s municipal election law, “only electors of the city who have resided continuously … for at least one year preceding the date” of filing their documents with the Sunny Isles Beach city clerk can run for the top office in city hall.

A city office administrator documented on Aug. 17 that Funtek had sworn she had lived in Sunny Isles Beach for at least one year prior to that date. She provided a driver’s license replaced in 2019, a voter card issuedthis year, and 2020 and 2021 real estate property tax statements listing her address in the city at Winston Towers 500, among other documents, to the city clerk.

But in January, Funtek listed a home she owns on Hollywood’s Washington Street as her legal residence on a Broward County voter registration application. On April 12, she listed her address as Winston Towers 500, according to voter registration documents that she filed in Miami-Dade County.

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