“On the basis of the evidence adduced at the hearing, the Coun finds by clear and convincing evidence that the entire Designating Petition is permeated with fraud.”
While the cities of Yonkers and Mount Vernon are the most watched elections in the 2023 Democratic Primary, the Town of Greenburgh recently had a little drama of its own.
On Friday, April 28, Acting Supreme Court Justice Damaris E. Torren ruled the petitions of Judith A. Beville (incumbent Town Clerk), and Town Council candidates, Manuel Areces, and Bishop Wilbert Preston were invalidated, knocking them off the ballot for the upcoming Democratic Primary.
“The ruling today from Judge Torrent disqualified the candidacies of Greenburgh Town Clerk Judith Beville and Town Council candidates Manuel Areces, and Bishop Wilbert Preston. This will prevent them from appearing on the ballot in this year’s Democratic Primary election.”
Judge Torrent wrote, “…the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the entire Designating Petition is permeated with fraud.”
“We thank the Greenburgh Democratic Town Committee in their diligence in bringing justice and transparency to government. It is important to hold our elected officials and candidates to the highest standards in order to provide the people of Greenburgh with high quality, transparent and responsive government,” Nero, Jackson and Haber said in a joint statement.
On Wednesday, April 19, a case was filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York by Greenburgh Democrats endorsed candidates, Town Clerk Candidate Lisa Maria Nero and Town Council Candidates Gina Jackson and Joy Haber in an attempt to disqualify the petitions of their competitors and deny them a spot on the ballot in the upcoming June Primary Election. They allege numerous instances of fraud and disqualifying behavior.
In his decision, Judge Torrent wrote;
On the basis of the evidence adduced at the hearing, the Court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the entire Designating Petition is permeated with fraud.
In the alterative, the Court finds by clear and convincing evidence that Respondent-Candidate Manuel E. Areces participated in fraud in the procurement of signatures by falsely attesting to having witnessed the signatures on Sheet 85, including a signature which the Court finds is not genuine. The Court thus declares invalid the candidacy of Mr. Areces and all 787 signatures witnessed by him. The Court further finds by clear and convincing evidence that Respondent-Candidate Bishop Wilbert Preston participated in fraud in the procurement of signatures, though without any nefarious motive, by falsely attesting to having witnessed the signatures on Sheet 72. The Court thus declares invalid the candidacy of Bishop Preston and all 141 signatures witnessed by him. The Court further finds by clear and convincing evidence that Respondent-Candidate Judith A. Beville is chargeable with knowledge of fraud in the procurement of signatures, and thus declares invalid the candidacies of all three Respondent-Candidates.
59775 2023 Lisa Maria Nero Et Al v Judith a Beville Et Al DECISION ORDER on 15 by Black Westchester Magazine on Scribd
We reached out to Town Clerk Judith Beville who told us that they had enough unchallenged signatures to get on the ballot, but a deal was made.
“The entire situation is layered with important messages and implications. First, it should be apparent that the endorsed Democratic candidates in Greenburgh are individuals who, clearly, do not and will not challenge nor threaten the “established order” of politics in unincorporated Greenburgh. The only way to decrease the probability that individuals who are not intimidated by or afraid to challenge this growing “order” might defeat the “endorsed” was to attempt to remove the “competition.” The endorsed candidates, apparently, did not have the courage to encounter the competition. They challenged our signatures. We made some mistakes, and the judge dismissed our entire petition claiming it “permeated with fraud.” It was clearly obvious that a witness that Lisa Nero brought forward was a “setup.” However, the judge made a deal with the “petitioner’s” attorney that she would rule according to “the deal” to avoid continuing the “line-by-review” of our signatures. We had enough unchallenged signatures to get on the ballot. However, since she made this agreement, her decision was on pure speculation and, in some instances, backed up by statutes that allowed for flexibility in judgment. On MSNBC, Sat., 4/29, one of the topics was “Ethical Rot in the Supreme Court.” Well, in the judgment of “Nero vs. Beville,” it appears that the fruit hasn’t fallen far from the tree at the state level, either,” Beville shared with Black Westchester.
The three candidates, Beville, Areces and Preston are entitled to appeal the decision, but as of Friday their names will not appear on the ballot.