PEEKSKILL, NY – The Westchester County Board of Elections (BOE) disqualified Republican candidates Robert Sullivan and Luis Segarra from the Democratic ballot line for multiple petition violations in the aftermath of complaints from residents that the candidates misrepresented themselves while gathering signatures. The BOE found that the petitions that were submitted had false and duplicate signatures, questionable witness statements, and a witness who was not even a registered voter.
Dozens of signatures were deemed duplicate, 60 were witnessed by a person who was not registered to vote, and the Board of Elections discounted 171 of 433 signatures.
Republican candidate Robert Sullivan, whose lawsuit against the City of Peekskill resulted in residents’ property taxes being raised by 5.9% has filed another lawsuit challenging the decision of the Board of Elections.
Republican/Conservative candidate Frank Catalina, along with Sullivan and Segarra, hatched a plan last spring to try and confuse voters by running on the Democratic ballot line. The candidates attempted to obtain signatures from registered voters under false pretenses, claiming they were running under the Democratic Party banner with Andre Rainey. The Republicans went so far as to take advantage of Democratic Mayoral candidate Andre Rainey’s grandmother by confusing her and telling her they were running with him in order to gain her signature for their petitions.
Upon hearing complaints from constituents, the Peekskill Democratic City Committee filed an official challenge with the Board of Elections against the petitions carried by Catalina, Sullivan, and Segarra for false signatures, duplicate signatures, unqualified witness statements, and most severely, fraudulent claims of running with the endorsed Democratic slate.
“If these candidates were willing to mislead and confuse my own grandmother, imagine what they would do to the rest of Peekskill,” said Mayoral Candidate Andre Rainey. “I understand not wanting people to know you’re running as a conservative Republican, but the depths that Mr. Catalina and his team will go to in order to win an election reminds me of what we’re seeing in Washington.”
“Campaigns are about values,” said Common Council candidate Vanessa Agudelo. “If you want to run as a conservative Republican and embrace everything that stands for, then you should do so proudly. Instead, we have local wolves asking for votes, while trying to wear sheep’s clothing.”
This is not the first time Frank Catalina has been involved in a petition controversy. When running for office while he lived in Orange County, Catalina was brought up on charges, including 21 misdemeanor counts and 1 felony count of perjury, over fraudulently obtained signatures on nominating petitions. He eventually settled the case under a plea arrangement with the District Attorney.
“Our friends in the Republican Party need to stop the shenanigans and run an honest and transparent campaign,” said Common Council candidate Colin Smith. “Residents have a real choice here, they can vote for candidates like myself who have shown they know how to balance budgets while staying within the tax cap, or they can vote for candidates like Mr. Sullivan, whose lawsuit against the City resulted in an almost 6% property tax hike for middle-class families.”
“It is important to remember, Republicans in Peekskill City Hall today are Republicans in Washington tomorrow, stripping away your healthcare, attacking LGBT rights, and breaking up families with deportations that destroy our community,” said Common Council candidate Ramon Fernandez. “It is no wonder they want to run as Democrats because they know the residents of Peekskill hold different values.”
The Peekskill Democratic Committee’s endorsed candidates for Mayor and Council scheduled a press conference, Monday at 1:00PM at9 Bank Street, to detail overturning a primary challenge from the enrolled Democrats on the Peekskill United’s slate of candidates for City Council. This was an attempt to remove choice for voters in November had it been successful. This press conference will detail how Peekskill United filed petitions that contained numerous errors. A press release said the Dems will detail why, how and what Peekskill United did in an attempt to remove choice in the general election. Mayoral candidate Andre Rainey will take questions.
“This was an attempt to remove choice for voters in November had it been successful. This press conference will detail how Peekskill United filed petitions that contained numerous errors. We will detail why, how and what Peekskill United did in an attempt to remove choice in the general election,” the Peekskill Dems said in press release.