WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The first Hispanic woman to be elected to the Palm Beach County School Board recently purchased a house in Delray Beach, outside of the district she has been chosen to represent.
Alexandria Ayala, 27, was sworn into office Tuesday afternoon for the District 2 seat.
But Palm Beach County property records show that, in June, she purchased a $515,000 home, which is located in District 4, using the name Alexandria Ayala Montalvo.
Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections records show that Ayala qualified for the District 2 election using a Palm Springs address.
To serve on the board, she must reside in the same district that she represents.
Ayala told the South Florida SunSentinel that she doesn't live at the Delray Beach home. Rather, she purchased the home to help her boyfriend, Rob Long, who needed a co-signer, Ayala told the newspaper.
Long was recently re-elected to the Palm Beach Soil & Water Conservation District and is listed as the co-owner of the Delray Beach property.
Ayala told the newspaper that she lives with her mother in Palm Springs, which she claims is her primary address.
However, her mortgage document specifies that she must use the property as her "principal residence" for at least a year after the purchase.
"What she did is, to make sure nobody figured out what she was doing, she used her mother's maiden name of Montalvo on the mortgage documents and on the deed so that no one would figure out it was her buying this home in Delray Beach," Richard Giorgio, who helped run the campaign of the candidate who lost to Ayala, told WPTV.
The Florida Division of Elections said no formal complaint has been filed.
Ayala is replacing outgoing school board member Chuck Shaw, who spent 50 years with the School District of Palm Beach County. Shaw chose not to run for re-election.
"Today, I am grateful to join the rest of my colleagues in the mission of providing a quality, equitable and safe education for our students, while supporting the teachers and staff who keep our schools running," Ayala said following her swearing in Tuesday.
Ayala, a former legislative aide in Palm Beach County, is a member of the Palm Beach County Young Democrats and League of Women Voters of Palm Beach County, among other organizations.
After being sworn in, Ayala released the following statement to WPTV:
I am no longer an owner of the property. The paperwork was submitted to my title company and they will process it with the property appraiser's office to ensure my name is removed as a property owner. I am an investor in the property, but have no ownership. I am living in Palm Springs and plan on purchasing a new home in District 2 soon.
School board members Frank Barbieri and Barbara McQuinn were also sworn in for new terms Tuesday after winning re-election earlier this month.