DARIEN, IL — Earlier this month, Darien City Council candidate John Laratta wrote in a Patch candidate questionnaire that he had “retired to Florida.”

Candidates for municipal office must live in the cities they seek to represent. Laratta’s statement prompted Patch to give a closer look at whether he lives in Darien or Florida.

Laratta, a disabled Vietnam veteran, and his wife have a residence in an eight-story condominium complex in Redington Beach, a Tampa suburb, according to Pinellas Country records. The complex is along the Gulf of Mexico.

Laratta’s Florida property tax bill amounts to about $3,200 for a condo that the county assesses at $194,000.

Laratta does not take Florida’s homestead exemption for his property tax bill. If he did, that would indicate Redington Beach was his primary residence. He and his wife acquired the condo five years ago, according to county records.

The Larattas also own a condo in Darien in the 8000 block of Barrymore Drive, where they use a homestead tax exemption.

Earlier this month, Patch ran a story about how Laratta had stated he retired to Florida. In the comments to the story, Laratta said he had not been to Florida in almost two years.

“I would love to be in sunny Florida enjoying a non-eventful life,” Laratta said. “If you had a chance to live in sunny Florida right now, would you? This should show the commitment I have to the political changes that need to be done in the Darien City Government and the Police Involvement, that have to be addressed NOW!”

Laratta has been critical of the local police department, alleging he was the victim of police brutality in a December 2019 incident outside his home. In a police interview, his wife, Terry, told an officer she and her husband typically stayed in Florida from January to May.

Laratta is running against Ward 5 Alderwoman Mary Sullivan in the April 6 election.

Laratta did not return a message Sunday about whether he is in Florida now.

On Monday, the temperature was expected to rise to 77 degrees in Redington Beach, 40 degrees warmer than Darien’s high.

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