WPCNR WHITE PLAINS LAW JOURNAL. By John F. Bailey. August 8, 2017:
Some 5 hours of deliberation in the petition challenge hearing where Mayor Thomas Roach and the three nominated Democratic Party Common Council candidates are suing to have Milagros Lecouna’s petition signatures and those gathered for her Common Council running mates, Michael Kraver, Saad Siddiqui and Alan Goldman in the late afternoon today beforeJudge Lawrence Ecker at the Westchester County Courthouse without a resolution.
The Judge was advised by the Board of Elections Co-Chairman, Reginald Lafayette that the Board analysis of Vol 1 of the four volumes of approximately 2,700 signatures had not been completed by the start of this morning’s session.
Judge Ecker advised Guy Parisi, attorney for Ms. Lecuona and her slate and Tom Abinanti, attorney for the signature challenging plaintiffs, incumbent Mayor Thomas Roach, Incumbent Councilman James Kirkpatrick, incumbent Councilman John Martin and first-time runner, Jason Brasch that time was running out on the ability to decide the challenge in time for any swift appeal to the Appellate Court (such appeals are usually expidited).
Lafayette said the delay in evaluating signatures was because the Board of Elections did not realize a line by line validation of the signatures on the Lecuona group total signatures was required. He said that it was possible they could have vol 1 completed by Thursday morning. The Judge was to hear from Mr Lafayette and Doug Colety, the Repubican Co-Chair of the Board of Elections whether one complete volume analysis could be completed.
The hearing then heard witness testimony from two petition collectors who gathered signatures for Mayoral Challenger Milagros Lecouna. Thomas Abinanti proped one signature collector who collected signatures in the White Plains downtown, how several signatures got on the petitions who listed their towns as other than White Plains. The witness said that when petition signers sign the petition collector is looking at the signature process upside down and attributed this mistake to simply not noticing them. Abinanti also demonstrated that the petition collector signed all sheets sited as examples of multiple signatures as having been signed on July 10, though she testified she had collected signatures in White Plains four days.
A second witness, Joe Williams, (who volunteered to come in, Mr. Abinanti said) testified he was hired directly by Milagros Lecuona after he had been interviewed by Thomas Caruso and Tim James of the Democratic City Committee. Mr. Williams said he supervised the petition collector who had testified in the morning next and he explained during Abinanti questioning how his petition-collectors worked shopping centers and Mamaroneck Avenue, testifying that the collectors, including the previous witness, all were instructed to ask if the person being asked to sign was from White Plains and a member of the Democratic Party.
Judge Eckler said that depending on when the Board of Elections would have signature verification analysis ready, he would decide how to proceed. He is being asked to reject all four volumes of decisions due to a cover sheet discrepancy from the first cover sheets handed in, and to rule if the signatures can be accepted in aggregate form or as endorsements of the entire slate.
Attorney Abinanti speculated that about 250 signatures on one petition alone had errors or irregularities, but did not show specific signatures yet. That is awaiting official analysis by the Board of Elections.
Action resumes Thursday morning.