Councilor questioned by private investigator over residency
ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - City Councilor Tiffany Langer has served the Southeast District of Aberdeen since 2020, but she recently encountered scrutiny over her residency and her eligibility to serve.
Councilwoman Langer’s husband Scott Langer was the head coach of the Aberdeen Wings junior hockey team before he moved to Fargo last year to coach the Fargo Force.
”Scott and I have always had a relationship where we like to support each other, and we want each other to live each other’s dreams. And so I said, why don’t I continue what I’m doing in Aberdeen and you can do what you’re doing in Fargo. It’s only two-and-a-half hours,” said Councilwoman Langer.
Langer continues to reside in Aberdeen while commuting to Fargo to see her husband with her children.
On May 9th, Langer’s former babysitter in Fargo was questioned by a private investigator.
”She said, ‘I just spent the last 30 minutes on the phone with a private investigator, and they asked me so many questions about your children,’” said Langer.
Those questions were about where Langer’s children stayed a majority of the time and who they stayed with. The investigator also asked if Langer spent a majority of her time in Fargo or Aberdeen.
The requirement to serve on the city council is to be a registered voter who resides within the district they serve.
The investigator said the questioning was for a city council matter. Langer says she has only ever been approached by one other councilor about her residency.
“Otherwise, I haven’t been approached by anybody else asking me those questions. You would think that a logical thing that a person would do is approach me first, and then if I was unapproachable or refused to answer questions, then maybe hire a private investigator,” said Langer.
Mayor Travis Schaunaman says he doesn’t know who hired the investigator, but he does have doubts about Langer’s residency.
”I think it’s pretty obvious that her primary residence isn’t here. We, as a council, have kind of taken a step back and taken her word for it, but somebody has been digging around in this trying to sort it out for us,” said Mayor Schaunaman.
Langer says she’s spending more time in Aberdeen now than ever.
”I actually think it’s kind of funny, because I’ve spent more time in Aberdeen since Scott lived in Fargo than I ever did, because I didn’t have the flexibility to travel as much for my job as I had before,” said Langer.
What Langer is most upset about is her children being brought into the matter.
”I understand I’m a public figure, and you can ask me any question that you want, especially in regards to something that relates to the city council. Leave my kids out of it,” said Langer.
In a city council meeting on May 2nd, Langer questioned information that was put in a campaign letter by Andy Schaunaman, who is the brother of Mayor Travis Schaunaman and one of the candidates for a Northeast District city council seat this year.
In the campaign letter, it was written that “Aberdeen was one vote away from hiring a liberal city manager.”
The vote in 2020 to hire City Manager Joe Gaa was unanimous. Langer said she was called by constituents regarding the matter and said she couldn’t find any other record of a different vote, unless it had happened in an executive session.
Mayor Schaunaman said he did not release any information to his brother about an executive session.
Langer says she has since reached out to Mayor Schaunaman in an effort to make amends over the matter.
”I have reached out to Mayor Schaunaman. I haven’t heard back from him yet. The conversation is open, the olive branch has been sent. I don’t want to fight,” said Langer.
Mayor Schaunman says his reputation was hurt by the insinuation.
”I’ve always enjoyed working with Tiffany. I was really hurt when she made those unfounded allegations in the City Council meeting, and we have yet to figure out the details there, but I think she was distracting from the issue that she doesn’t reside here,” said Mayor Schaunaman.
Langer says she is ready to put her encounter with the private investigator behind her and move forward working with the city council to serve its constituents.
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