New York State Education Commissioner Expected to Make Decision Soon on Voter Fraud Complaint in Recent New Rochelle School Board Election

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Talk of the Sound has obtained a copy of a complaint filed with the New York State Commissioner of Education requesting that Ricardo Monzon and Dr. Salvador A. Fernandez be disqualified as candidates for the New Rochelle Board of Education in the election held on May 20, 2014, that their candidacies are void, that votes for Ricardo Monzon and Dr. Salvador A. Fernandez be disregarded and the remaining two highest voter-getters be seated on the Board.

The complaint was filed by Vincent J. Malfetano, a former school board candidate.

Malfetano's complaint states "the first (Fernandez) and third (Monzon) highest vote-getters in the election for two seats on the board from among the top four vote-getters appears to have personally engaged in and benefited from persistent fraud which permeates the petitions filed by them; and that election irregularities actually affected the outcome of the election."

In New York State school elections and budget referendums are run by the local school district, an obvious conflict of interest, that will change next year when County Board of Elections take over school elections along with village elections.

100 valid signatures are required on petitions to be placed on the ballot for a school board election in New Rochelle.

In a May 14 email, School District Clerk Lisdalia Saraiva told Malfetano that Jeffrey Hastie submitted petitions with a total of 202 signatures, Dr. Salvador A. Fernandez submitted petitions with a total of 220 signatures, and Ricardo Monzon submitted petitions with a total of 190 signatures.

In his complaint, Malfetano says that he obtained copies of the petition documents under a Freedom of Information Law request, reviewed those documents with Saraiva and observed that Saraiva ruled that Hastie had well over the required 100 signatures (about 160), that the Clerk had disqualified or was unable to verify a large number of the signatures filed for Monzon and Fernandez so that Monzon was reduced to 122 valid and verified signatures and Fernandez just 110 valid and verified signatures based on the Clerk's review.

Noting that such a large number of signatures had been disqualified for Monzon and Fernandez, Malfetano decided to do his own review.

Malfetano approached me about how to go about obtaining the records he needed. I assisted him in obtaining copies of voter registration records from the Westchester County Board of Elections, known as "buff cards", for each signature that had not been disqualified and was able to disqualify additional signatures and found that both candidates and their spouses appears to have perjured themselves in witness statements on the petition documents.

The week before the election, Malfetano filed petition challenges against Monzon and Fernandez.

The District responded only to the Monzon complaint prior to the election. In the District's response, the Clerk added back 20 previously disqualified signatures without an explanation of how they were un-disqualified.

As a result, Malfetano, again with my assistance, obtained buff cards from the Westchester County Board of Elections for all signatures previously disqualified by the Clerk and filed supplemental challenges for Monzon and Fernandez in election day.

The District did not respond to the Fernandez challenge or the Monzon and Fernandez supplemental challenges until a week after the election.

Of the 410 signatures submitted by Monzon and Fernandez, a majority should have been disqualified based on forged signatures, incorrect addresses within New Rochelle, addresses outside of New Rochelle and more. For 66 signatures, there was no record at all for the name affixed to the petition.

After the denial of his complaints to the District, Malfetano filed a §310 Appeal to the Commissioner, a section of New York State Education Law which provides that "persons considering themselves aggrieved by an action taken at a school district meeting or by school authorities may appeal to the Commissioner of Education for a review of such action".

The §310 Appeal filed by Malfetano cites over 100 allegations of voter fraud including forged signatures and material false statements in witness statements attached to petition documents.

On numerous occasions, according to the Appeal, the candidates or their spouses appear to have signed Statements of Witness on documents containing forged signatures.

It is not merely that there are some technical errors in the petitions, not just that fraud permeates the petitions but that the candidates and their spouses were directly involved in the fraud and perjured themselves in the process and that the fraud was not incidental but actually impacted the outcome of the election.

Here is a sample of just some of the various types of fraud and perjury contained in the Monzon and Fernandez petitions:

1. Page 24 of the Ricardo Monzon Petition

RicardoMonzonPetitionPage24

This petition sheet was presented to the people who signed it by Fran Nordquist and not Mary Monzon as is indicated in the Statement of Witness.

Nordquist is the person who signed on Line 1 of Page 24. The name “Monzon” is spelled “Monzone” not an error that Mary Monzon, the wife of Ricardo Monzon, would be likely to make. The candidate’s name is altered by “RM” which suggests Ricardo Monzon was also involved in fraud with regards to this page.

There are numerous similar examples.

2. Pages 1-4 of the Dr. Salvador A. Fernandez Petition

SF SarahFernandezWitnessSignatureNoMatch

The signatures on the Statement of Witness on Pages 1-4 purporting to be that of Sarah Fernandez, wife of candidate Dr. Salvador A. Fernandez, match neither the buff card nor the signature on Page 5 of the Dr. Salvador A. Fernandez Petition witnessed by Dr. Fernandez.

The “Sarah Fernandez” signature on page 5 does match the buff card.

It appears possible that the “Sarah Fernandez” signatures on Pages 1-4 may be in the handwriting of her husband, Sal Fernandez, the candidate.

3. Page 12 of the Dr. Salvador A. Fernandez Petition

JohnRendeSigs

John Rende appears to have forged numerous signatures not just on this page but possibly elsewhere in the Dr. Salvador A. Fernandez Petition.

The date, printed name, and address for the signatures on Lines 5-10 on Page 12 appear to have been all written by the same person and that person appears to be the witness for that page, John Rende, a neighbor of candidate Dr. Salvador A. Fernandez.
None of those 6 signatures match the buff cards but all 6 appear to match each other. It appears that John Rende forged these 6 signatures.

4. One person above/below on petition signed for another person

• In Ricardo Monzon Petition Page 3 Line 7-8 witnessed by Christopher Conte it appears that Sue DiBuono signed for Phil DiBuono.

RM 3 8 ChristopherConte PhilDiBuono WifeSigned

• In Ricardo Monzon Petition Page 8 Line 8 witnessed by Ricardo Monzon it appears that Ann Nardozzi signed for Anthony Nardozzi.

RM 8 8 RicardoMonzon AnnAnthonyNardozzi WifeSigned

• In Dr. Salvador A. Fernandez Petition Page 3 Line 9-10 witnessed by Sarah Fernandez it appears that Mary Monteleone signed for Robert Monteleone.

SF 3 9 10 SarahFernandez MaryRobertMonteleone WifeSigned

• Dr. Salvador A. Fernandez Petition Page 21 Line 9 witnessed by Sheik Hanif it appears that Sergio DiFillippi signed for Kimberly Neal.

SF 21 9 SheikHanif KimberlyNeal SergioSignedForHer

5. Zero match between Signature on Buff Card and Signature on Petition

• In Ricardo Monzon Petition Page 6 Line 7 witnessed by Ricardo Monzon it appears there is zero match for Joan Dalbon between the signature on the petition and the signature on the buff card.

RM 6 7 RicardoMonzon JoanDalbon ZeroMatch

• In Ricardo Monzon Petition Page 14 Line 3 witnessed by Ricardo Monzon it appears there is zero match for Nina Marino between the signature on the petition and the signature on the buff card.

RM 14 3 RicardoMonzon NinaMarino ZeroMatch

• In Dr. Salvador A. Fernandez Petition Page 2 Line 7 witnessed by Sarah Fernandez it appears there is zero match for Terry Lee between the signature on the petition and the signature on the buff card.

SF 2 7 SarahFernandez TerryLee ZeroMatch

• In Dr. Salvador A. Fernandez Petition Page 3 Line 6 witnessed by Sarah Fernandez it appears there is zero match for Maria Alphonse between the signature on the petition and the signature on the buff card.

SF 3 6 SarahFernandez Maria Alphonse ZeroMatch

• In Dr. Salvador A. Fernandez Petition Page 6 Line 1 witnessed by John M Conroy it appears there is zero match for Brandon Conroy between the signature on the petition and the signature on the buff card.

SF 6 1 JohnMConroy BrandonConroy ZeroMatch

• In Dr. Salvador A. Fernandez Petition Page 13 Line 1 witnessed by John Rende it appears there is zero match for Dana DiBuono between the signature on the petition and the signature on the buff card.

SF 13 1 JohnRende DanaDiBuono ZeroMatch

• In Dr. Salvador A. Fernandez Petition Page 16 Line 8 witnessed by Dr. Salvador A. Fernandez it appears there is zero match for Thomas Carino between the signature on the petition and the signature on the buff card.

SF 16 8 SalFernandez ThomasCarino ZeroMatch

• In Dr. Salvador A. Fernandez Petition Page 18 Line 3 witnessed by Carmellina DiMarco it appears there is zero match for Timothy Bavosa between the signature on the petition and the signature on the buff card.

SF 18 3 CarmellinaDiMarco TimothyBavosa ZeroMatch

6. Zero match but with limited or problematic signature sample

• In Ricardo Monzon Petition Page 15 Line 7 witnessed by Ricardo Monzon it appears there is zero match for Dely Barajas between the signature on the petition and the signature on the buff card but sample is limited or problematic.

RM 15 7 RicardoMonzon DelyBarajas PoorSample

• In Ricardo Monzon Petition Page 22 Line 2 witnessed by Deidre Polow it appears there is zero match for Agatha Chalfin between the signature on the petition and the signature on the buff card but sample is limited or problematic.

RM 22 2 DeidrePolow AgathaChalfin PoorSample

• In Dr. Salvador A. Fernandez Petition Page 1 Line 5 witnessed by Sarah Fernandez it appears there is zero match for Patricia Bongo between the signature on the petition and the signature on the buff card but sample is limited or problematic.

SF 1 5 SarahFernandez PatriciaBongo PoorSample

• In Dr. Salvador A. Fernandez Petition Page 11 Line 5 witnessed by Jennifer McCabe it appears there is zero match for Beth McCabe between the signature on the petition and the signature on the buff card but sample is limited or problematic.

SF 11 5 JenniferMcCabe BethMcCabe PoorSample

The Counsel's Office of the New York State Education Commissioner has been reviewing the complaint since the first week of June and is expected to make a determination shortly.

Fernandez, the highest vote-getter in the election, is scheduled to begin his term as school board member on July 1, 2014.

Malfetano's complaint, which runs over 700 pages including an appendix of all buff cards obtained under FOIL, makes clear that the candidates and their spouses participated directly in the fraud, including signing Statements of Witness in which they made false claims regarding the signatures affixed to various pages of the petition so that they did not have enough legitimate signatures to qualify to be on the ballot and should have otherwise been disqualified for fraud and perjury and their machine votes and absentee ballots votes void.

The order of vote-getters in the election was (1) Dr. Salvador A. Fernandez, (2) Jeffrey Hastie, (3) Ricardo Monzon, (4) Robert Cox. If the Commissioner were to disqualify Fernandez but not Monzon then then two winning candidates would be Jeffrey Hastie and Ricardo Monzon. If the Commissioner were to disqualify Fernandez and Monzon then then two winning candidates would be Jeffrey Hastie and Robert Cox.

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