by Mike DeForest,
Council member to be ‘ousted’ from seat after opponent challenged election results
– More than 19 months after Tarus Mack was certified the winner of an
Eatonville Town Council election, a judge has ordered Mack to be removed
from his position due to evidence uncovered by his opponent suggesting
votes were illegally cast or procured.
I was very
ecstatic,” Marlin Daniels said, who learned this week he had prevailed
in his lawsuit challenging the election results. “Immediately I said,
‘Let’s get to work.’ We have to fix things that have been going wrong in
this historic town and make things right, not for me, but for the
Days after a judge ruled Daniels was entitled to the Eatonville Town Council seat, Mack filed a motion asking for a new trial.
Neither Mack nor his attorney responded to phone calls and emails from News 6 seeking comment.
were both illegal votes as well as fraudulent votes cast in this
election. And for those familiar with local politics, that was not a
surprise,” said Daniels’s attorney, Christian W. Waugh. “Those votes
have now been removed from the tally. And because of that, my client,
Marlin Daniels, is now going to be a public servant for the Town of
In March 2020, Eatonville voters went to the polls to decide whether Mack should retain his seat on the town council.
After the voting results were tallied, it appeared Daniels had defeated the incumbent by a single vote.
following a recount by the Orange County Canvassing Board, court
records show two previously uncounted votes were discovered, giving Mack
a 269-to-268 vote victory.
filed a lawsuit in April 2020 contesting the election. Mack and the
Orange County Canvassing Board were named as defendants.
Circuit Court Judge Kevin Weiss held a non-jury trial earlier this
month, where several witnesses were called to testify.
One of them, William Sheketoff, said he had been living in a motel owned by former Eatonville mayor Anthony Grant.
who was behind on his rent payments and at risk for eviction, claims
Grant offered to drive him and another tenant to a polling location on
election day and coerced them to vote for Mack, according to an
gave both of us ‘sample ballots’ with Tarus Mack and [another
candidate] highlighted in yellow stating, ‘This is who I would like you
to vote for” and drove us to Town Hall,” said Sheketoff. “I realized
that he expected me to vote for Tarus Mack… or I would be evicted.”
a week after the election, Sheketoff said Grant locked him out of his
room at the motel but did not initiate a formal eviction.
to comment on the matter. When asked by a News 6 reporter if he denied
Sheketoff’s allegations that he interfered in the election, Grant hung
up the phone.