Gubernatorial candidate Haynes’ residency questioned

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By Andrew Graham, WyoFile.com

A complaint has been filed against gubernatorial candidate Dr. Taylor Haynes and is being investigated by Albany County District Attorney Peggy Trent.

Records suggest the complaint could involve the legitimacy of Haynes’ claim of Wyoming residency in his filing for his current campaign for governor.

Though Trent declined to discuss specifics, her disclosure of the investigation and complaint came following a WyoFile request for Haynes’ voter registration information from the Albany County Elections Clerk.

WyoFile’s inquiry followed receipt of documents from an anonymous source alleging Haynes resides in Colorado, not Wyoming.

Current property tax records in both states indicate the residence on Haynes’ borderland ranch is in Colorado, while the Wyoming portion of the property contains only agricultural tracts, not buildings. The residence Haynes lists on a campaign form is not for the ranch. According to the form, Haynes resides at a property in Laramie rented by a business Haynes owns. The mailing address he lists is a box at a Laramie UPS Store. 

In his filing to run for a major party nomination with the Wyoming Secretary of State, Haynes “[swore] and affirm[ed]” that he is a registered voter residing at 702 S. 3rd Street in Laramie.

The address is for a wood fronted building on one of Laramie’s principle commercial streets. The business is owned by Brendan Murphy, a Laramie real estate agent, according to property tax records.

A sign in front of the property is for Prodegi Corporate Benefit Services. The company’s business filing lists Haynes as its registered agent, again using the UPS Store box as an address. The company lists a Worland location as its principal address.

WyoFile was unable to reach Murphy for comment. Repeated calls to the listed number for the Laramie Prodegi office went unanswered.

Another realtor familiar with the property said he had last entered it a year ago. At that time it had no kitchen or shower and was not a residence. “I don’t see how it could be,” used as one, the realtor said.

Haynes broadcasts his ranching lifestyle in his campaign website bio, where he writes about how he grew up on a farm in Louisiana and worked to put himself through college in search of a different life.

“Much to his father’s delight,” the biography reads, “Taylor did end up with dusty boots when he returned to his agricultural roots and bought a cattle ranch in southeast Wyoming.”

He refers to himself as living on the ranch in the biography. “I started thinking I could live on a small ranch while still practicing medicine,” it quotes him as saying. “‘The next thing you know I am running cows and building fence,’ Haynes says.”  

In both Colorado and Wyoming, Haynes is the registered agent for an LLC, Thunderbasin Land & Livestock. In both states, the LLC is registered to his mailing address, the UPS store in Laramie. The LLC owns parcels of land that straddle the Wyoming-Colorado line south of Woods Landing. Haynes’ LLC purchased the land in 2013 for slightly less than $2.5 million.

The Colorado portions of the property fall within Larimer County. That county’s property tax assessor’s website lists a single family residence on agricultural land, an “additional residence” on agricultural land, a barn, a stable, a horse arena, a farm implement shop and an equipment building.

The Wyoming portions of the property consist of 388 acres of agricultural land, with a 2018 market value of $33,354. There are no structures listed and the assessor lists “$0” in improvements to the land.

A voicemail left with Haynes’ campaign this afternoon was not responded to. An email with specific questions was also unanswered by press time. WyoFile also tried to reach Haynes through his campaign treasurer but did not receive a response. 

The Secretary of State’s office checks the residence a candidate lists against his or her county voting registration information, according to the secretary’s elections division. WyoFile called the Albany County Clerk’s office on Tuesday to request Haynes voter registration information under the Wyoming Public Records Act.

Trent, the Albany County district attorney, returned the call. Upon learning that WyoFile was requesting Haynes’ information, Trent said there had been a complaint filed against the candidate and there was a “pending investigation.” She declined to provide further detail, saying there would be a release of information soon, possibly before the end of this week.

WyoFile is an independent nonprofit news organization focused on Wyoming people, places and policy.

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