Newly elected State Rep Bettie Cook Scott faces eviction hearing

- The law for elected officials in Michigan is pretty simple; it says you must live in the district you represent.

But ML Elrick found that one newly-elected lawmaker has three different places she's called home it's a bizarre tale that includes a stop in court.

Next month, Bettie Cook Scott joins the Michigan House of Representatives as a lawmaker from Detroit. But today she was in court because her landlord wants her to find another new house.

Elrick: "Ms. Cook, can we talk to you for a minute. Is there anything you'd like to say about this? Ms. Fluker, anything you'd like to say?"

Where Bettie Cook Scott lives is a tricky question.  She says in paperwork she filed to get a break on her property taxes that she lives on Lexington, a picturesque town on the shores of Lake Huron. But in paperwork she filed to run for state representative, she says she lives on Gravier, a not-so picturesque co-op apartment in Detroit.

When I tried to ask her earlier this year which home is her real home, she wouldn't say. Curiously, a friend and a neighbor say she actually lives in a third home on Kensington Street, which is outside the district where she ran for office.

"Bettie Cook Scott is my next door neighbor, she lives on the corner of Kensington and Cornwall," said the neighbor.

"She has never lived there, I've been here for two years, she's never lived there," said another neighbor on Gravier.

Her neighbor on Gravier told me Cook didn't move in until I started asking questions about where she really lives.  Now that she really does live on Gravier, her landlord wants her out.

Judge Demitira Brue: "Northview Cooperative Inc. vs. Bettie Cook Scott."

The landlord says Cook was ordered to leave eight years ago. She disputes that. But she doesn't want FOX 2 cameras in the courtroom to see her defend herself.

Cook's attorney: "We do understand that she is considered a public figure at this point, but I do believe there is a legal delineation as to First Amendment right versus harassment."

In Michigan, state and local courts are open to the public.  Television cameras are typically allowed to record the proceedings and showing government at work hardly constitutes harassment.

Perhaps Cook is more concerned about the public seeing what comes out at court - things such as where Cook lived and when she says she lived there.

She has already copped to some potentially uncomfortable contradictions.

"She has testified under oath, in a deposition, that she has not lived there for eight years," said Mark Wasvary, the landlord's attorney. "She testified under oath that she moved back in April of 2016, right around the time she filed the paperwork to run for state representative. She also testified under oath at the deposition that her principal residence exemption was in Lexington, Michigan until September, 2016."

Before Cook finds out whether she'll be evicted, there will be a hearing in February to determine whether our cameras can be in the courtroom and whether you have a right to watch the proceedings.
 


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