Hand Recount Scheduled In The Bronx’s 86AD Assembly Race

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Bronx 86AD update: After opening 153 absentee, affidavit, military, and special [cast by BOE employees and poll workers] ballots, challenger Hector Ramirez overcame a 29 vote deficit to take a six vote lead over Assemblyman Victor Pichardo. Ramirez won those ballots, 94-59.

A full manual recount is tentatively scheduled for Monday, 9/22 at 10am. Under City Board of Election rules, "a manual canvass of returns" is triggered when an election margin is less than 10 or less than one-half of one percent.

The City BOE must certify a winner by October 3rd because military and overseas ballots must be printed and distributed to those voters.

Since Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson has begun an election fraud investigation of the absentee ballots delivered by the Ramirez campaign, the city BOE and the DA’s office have reached an agreement whereby original absentee ballot applications, original absentee ballot envelopes and copies of ballots will be turned over at the appropriate time. When asked some election lawyers have expressed concern as to whether turning over copies of ballots to a prosecutor violates voter confidentiality.

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Long-time Bronx Democratic Party election lawyer, Stanley Kalmon Schlein and Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz represented Assemblyman Pichardo. Sarah K. Steiner, Esq., represented challenger Hector Ramirez.

As the ballot envelopes were being opened, Schlein objected to 43 specific absentee ballots citing that signatures didn’t match voter signatures on file with the BOE, that the absentee ballot applications were fraudulently obtained and that Section 8-500 of State election law was violated. Board counsel Stephen Richman overruled Mr. Schlein’s objections. The ballots were opened and eventually scanned. But photocopies of those ballots were made and replaced in the opened envelopes. Police investigators from the Bronx DA’s office observed the proceedings.

After ballots from all 60 election districts were opened and scanned, Mr. Ramirez took a six vote lead after winning the canvass, 94-59.

In a few instances, ballots were spoiled (ie, did not count) because affidavit voters were given the wrong ballot (mistakenly given ballots for the 77AD by poll workers) or voters placed their names or "extraneous marks" on the back of ballots or a ballot was blank. One affidavit envelope did not contain a ballot.

A manual recanvass of the 79AD male district leader race will also occur immediately following the conclusion of the Pichardo-Ramirez 86AD recanvass. Attorney Steiner represents Bronx Community Board 3 vice-chairman Rev. Bruce Rivera who trails John Tucker by nine votes.

All parties have been told that the full manual recount is scheduled to commence Monday, 9/22 at 10am.

Stay tuned.

Michael Benjamin is a columnist and blogger as well as a former state legislator who represented the 79 AD, 2003-2010.

Follow him at http://CorruptionCrusher.com/; Twitter:@SquarePegDem; and www.Facebook.com/SquarePegDem; www.YouTube.com/SquarePegDem; on Skype:SquarePegDem

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Bronx DA Still Has 86AD In His Sights

This post has been edited.

Another case of election fraud in the 86AD.

This morning, the Bronx BOE begins the official recanvass of the vote from the September 9 Primary Election. Before the 86AD recanvass may be delayed Bronx DA Robert Johnson subpoenaed all absentee ballots and absentee ballot applications related to that primary. Presently, Assemblyman Victor Pichardo holds a 29 vote lead over challenger Hector Ramirez (who narrowly lost to Pichardo in 2013).

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Investigators from the office of the Bronx DA were present at today’s recanvass. City BOE counsel Stephen Richman announced reaching an agreement with the Bronx DA whereby all materials will be turned over after the completed recanvass. Those materials include original absentee ballot applications, original empty absentee ballot envelopes and original absentee ballots.

During the recanvass and In response to objections raised by attorney Stanley K. Schlein to certain absentee ballots, Mr. Richman said that the BOE does not rule on dissimilar signatures and has no reason to believe that the absentee ballots/applications were properly filed. As agreed, all opened envelopes and ballots will be preserved for the court.

A hearing before Supreme Court Justice Carter is scheduled for tomorrow.

Sources say Pichardo’s camp referred a criminal complaint to DA Johnson alleging that the 30 or absentee ballots delivered by the Ramirez campaign to the Bronx BOE on Primary Day were not authorized by those voters and signatures don’t match BOE records on file. A Ramirez campaign spokesman said that Pichardo’s badge-wielding "investigators" appeared at the homes of the elderly absentee voters. The spokesman believes the voters were intimidated.

Readers will recall that the last time DA Johnson investigated an election fraud allegation, disgraced ex-Assemblyman Nelson Castro became an informant in a five year state/federal corruption investigation that netted ex-Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, Sigfredo Gonzalez and four Russian co-conspirators. No one knows where this case may eventually lead. As one wag wryly remarked, "what’s in the water in the Bronx?"

Stay tuned.

[Note: An earlier version of this post erroneously stated that Ramirez lost narrowly to Pichardo in 2012. That special election to replaced Nelson Castro was held last year in 2013.]

Michael Benjamin is a columnist and blogger as well as a former state legislator who represented the 79 AD, 2003-2010.

Follow him at http://CorruptionCrusher.com/;Twitter:@SquarePegDem;andwww.Facebook.com/SquarePegDem;www.YouTube.com/SquarePegDem; on Skype:SquarePegDem

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Watch “Mr. & Mrs. SquarePegDem & Susie Wong-Benjamin” on YouTube

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Mr. & Mrs. Michael (SquarePegDem) and Susie Wong-Benjamin: http://youtu.be/-zaOAPHBPmA

Check for more wedding photos and memories here.

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Assemblyman informant gets probation after lying to investigators – NY Daily News

A Bronx Assemblyman who turned wire-wearing federal informant was sentenced to two years of probation on Thursday for lying to investigators.

Now-former pol Nelson Castro, 42, had faced up to two years in prison for his not-so-bright fibs to the feds, but Judge Paul Engelmayer cut him a break because his “historic” cooperation had led to six arrests and convictions.

Castro turned informant after he was indicted by the Bronx District Attorney’s office for lying about election shenanigans back in 2008, and is believed to be the first sitting New York state politician to snare a colleague while wearing a wire undercover.

[CORRECTION: Castro never recorded Stevenson on tape. He recorded Sigfredo Gonzalez offering/giving him a bribe on tape. When confronted by the FBI, Sigfredo agreed to cooperate in the federal investigation which led to the six convictions.]
http://m.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ex-assemblyman-informant-probation-lying-article-1.1936929?cid=bitly

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Michael Blake’s 24 Hour Contribution Report | NYS Board of Elections

NYS BOE 24-Hour Contribution Report

FRIENDS OF MICHAEL BLAKE 07-SEP-14 MERRYL TISCH
926 5TH AVENUE
NY, NY 10021
$2,000.00
FRIENDS OF MICHAEL BLAKE 08-SEP-14 KASIM REED FOR MAYOR
PO BOX 312027
ATLANTA, GA 31131
$2,100.00
FRIENDS OF MICHAEL BLAKE 09-SEP-14 ANDRE GUDGER
1307 CRAWFORDS CT
ODENTON, MD 21113
$4,100.00
FRIENDS OF MICHAEL BLAKE 05-SEP-14 JOHN PATRY
145 CENTRAL PARK W, APT 17C
NEW YORK, NY 10023
$1,500.00
  • Merryl Tisch is the Chancellor of the NYS Board of Regents, a supporter of the Common Core curriculum and charter schools, and an ally of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver;
  • Kasim Reed is Mayor of Atlanta, GA;
  • Andre Gudger is the Director of Small Business Programs at the US Department of Defense; and
  • John Petry is a hedge fund manager and a board member of Democrats for Education Reform (DFER).

Mr. Blake has proven to be a formidable fundraising force with a national fundraising base. He will be the Bronx Democrats’ new "golden boy."

Michael Benjamin is a columnist and blogger as well as a former state legislator who represented the 79 AD, 2003-2010.

Follow him at http://CorruptionCrusher.com/;Twitter:@SquarePegDem;andwww.Facebook.com/SquarePegDem;www.YouTube.com/SquarePegDem; on Skype:SquarePegDem

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24-Hour Contribution Report for State Sen. John Sampson | NYS Board of Elections

Brooklyn State Senator John Sampson

Brooklyn State Senator John Sampson

Five people contributed $16,000 at the 11th hour to aid embattled Brooklyn State Senator John Sampson in his now-successful Democratic Primary win. Although innocent until proved guilty, I’m left wondering who contributes to the re-election effort of a lawmaker indicted by the federal government for embezzlement, lying to federal investigators and violating legal ethics. And whose former top political aide, Melvin Lowe, was recently convicted on federal embezzlement and kickback charges involving Democratic Senate Campaign Committee funds (during Sampson’s stint as Senate Majority Leader).

  • Subin Associates LLP is a personal injury law firm
  • Fisher and Fisher is a law firm led by Andrew Fisher whose brother Ken is a lobbyist and former Council Member and sister Alice is a judge;
  • Quality Health Care Management Corporation is described as in the clinical laboratory field;
  • Shayna Simpson-Hall is a human resources specialist and resident of North Carolina; and
  • Madeline Felice is a principal owner of the Sai Baba Food Corporation in Jackson Heights, Queens, NY.

24 Hour Contribution Report:

COMMITTEE TO RE-ELECT JOHN SAMPSON 08-SEP-14 FISHER AND FISHER
P.O. BOX 61060
STATEN ISLAND, NY 10306
$2,000.00
COMMITTEE TO RE-ELECT JOHN SAMPSON 04-SEP-14 SUBIN ASSOCIATES LLP
150 BROADWAY
NEW YORK, NY 10038
$5,000.00
COMMITTEE TO RE-ELECT JOHN SAMPSON 03-SEP-14 QUALITY HEALTH CARE MANAGEMENT CORP. INC.
2818 OCEAN AVENUE
BROOKLYN, NY 11235
$2,500.00
COMMITTEE TO RE-ELECT JOHN SAMPSON 03-SEP-14 SHAYNA SIMPSON-HALL
3005 GRANDVIEW HEIGHTS LN.
RALEIGH, NC 27614
$1,500.00
COMMITTEE TO RE-ELECT JOHN SAMPSON 03-SEP-14 MADELINE FELICE
2690 NATIONAL DRIVE
BROOKLYN, NY 11234
$4,100.00

Dirty MoneyAccording to his disclosure reports (as of August 4), after starting with an $11,000 deficit, Sampson raised over $83,500 and spent $65,800. In late August, Sampson loaned his campaign $15,000. Sampson also received $10, 500 donation from George Fortunato, an alleged former mobster, who Sampson calls a family friend.

The senator’s federal trial is set to begin next year, and if found guilty, Sampson would be forced to resign.

Michael Benjamin is a columnist and blogger as well as a former state legislator who represented the 79 AD, 2003-2010.

Follow him at http://CorruptionCrusher.com/;Twitter:@SquarePegDem;andwww.Facebook.com/SquarePegDem;www.YouTube.com/SquarePegDem; on Skype:SquarePegDem

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Assemblyman informant gets probation after lying to investigators – NY Daily News

A Bronx Assemblyman who turned wire-wearing federal informant was sentenced to two years of probation on Thursday for lying to investigators.

Now-former pol Nelson Castro, 42, had faced up to two years in prison for his not-so-bright fibs to the feds, but Judge Paul Engelmayer cut him a break because his “historic” cooperation had led to six arrests and convictions.

Castro turned informant after he was indicted by the Bronx District Attorney’s office for lying about election shenanigans back in 2008, and is believed to be the first sitting New York state politician to snare a colleague while wearing a wire undercover.

[CORRECTION: Castro never recorded Stevenson on tape. He recorded Sigfredo Gonzalez offering/giving him a bribe on tape. When confronted by the FBI, Sigfredo agreed to cooperate in the federal investigation which led to the six convictions.]

http://m.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ex-assemblyman-informant-probation-lying-article-1.1936929?cid=bitly

Michael Benjamin is a columnist and blogger as well as a former state legislator who represented the 79 AD, 2003-2010.

Follow him at http://CorruptionCrusher.com/;Twitter:@SquarePegDem;andwww.Facebook.com/SquarePegDem;www.YouTube.com/SquarePegDem; on Skype:SquarePegDem

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Melvin Lowe Convicted On All Counts | Crain’s NY

Chris Bragg (Crain’s NY) reported Wednesday afternoon that Democratic operative Melvin Lowe convicted on all counts. I had complained in a previous post about the lack of media interest in the Lowe trial. It’s interesting that Mr. Lowe was convicted the day after his unindicted co-conspirator, embattled Brooklyn Sen. John Sampson won his Democratic primary against two opponents. I must wonder if this conviction leaves egg on the faces of Brooklyn party officials who reportedly staked their leadership on re-electing Mr. Sampson.

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Embattled Bklyn state Senator John Sampson won a Democratic primary on Tuesday.

Crain’s NY reported:

“Melvin Lowe, a Democratic operative accused of defrauding the state Senate Democrats’ campaign arm of $100,000 and other charges, was convicted by a White Plains jury on all nine counts he faced Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the Southern District U.S. Attorney’s office confirmed.

“Mr. Lowe was found guilty of steering the $100,000 to a New Jersey political consulting firm, Cornerstone Management Partners, which then kicked back much of the money to political consulting firms controlled by Mr. Lowe. Even before the crime, Mr. Lowe had been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee in 2010, which struggled for years to get out of debt caused by that election cycle’s profligate spending. Democrats lost a briefly held majority in the Senate that year and are still fighting to regain it.Twenty-thousand dollars also went to political consultant Michael Nieves, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing. Nor has political operative Elnatan Rudolph, a former Brooklynite who owned Cornerstone Management Partners and who received $5,000.

“In addition, Mr. Lowe was convicted for tax violations for his failure to report more than $2 million in consulting income, causing his bank to make a false statement to his mortgage lender, and for defrauding a Yonkers resident of $66,000. The most serious count against him carries up to 30 years in prison, said the spokeswoman for Southern District U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.Brooklyn state Sen. John Sampson, who easily won his Democratic primary Tuesday, was also wrapped up in the transactions involving Mr. Lowe. Mr. Nieves told an IRS agent that Mr. Sampson had said the $20,000 paid to Mr. Nieves was for work previously done, even though Mr. Nieves was owed no money by the Senate Democrats’ campaign arm. Mr. Sampson, the former Senate majority leader, faces an upcoming trial on unrelated embezzlement charges.”

http://t.co/SOLySv9FU8/s/Vc-b

Another paper, the Albany Times-Union wrote “that the jury heard evidence that Lowe and Sampson had a close relationship of trust that included Lowe giving Sampson an envelope of cash.”

“Lowe, prosecutors said, received more than $2.1 million in consulting income from 2007 to 2012. He reported less than $25,000 in income in each of his returns for 2007 through 2009, which he did not file until late 2010. Lowe did not file returns for 2010 through 2012. He never made any payments toward his taxes for the years 2000 through 2012.”

Read more at Sen. Sampson’s political consultant found guilty of fraud.

Michael Benjamin is a columnist and blogger as well as a former state legislator who represented the 79 AD, 2003-2010.

Follow him at http://CorruptionCrusher.com/;Twitter:@SquarePegDem;andwww.Facebook.com/SquarePegDem;www.YouTube.com/SquarePegDem; on Skype:SquarePegDem

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Just Don’t Call These Consultants Lobbyists | Crain’s New York

Chris Bragg writing in today’s Crain’s New York pulls the curtain back on the Consultant/Lobbyist Industrial complex (or what I call the new "Iron Triangle" involving consultants/lobbyists, elected officials and government agencies.

NYers are beginning to question the new political-industrial complex coming to dominate the intersection of politics, government and private enterprise.

Click here to read the entire article written by Chris Bragg.

Related posts: Beware tentcles of BerlinRosen

Michael Benjamin is a columnist and blogger as well as a former state legislator who represented the 79 AD, 2003-2010.

Follow him at http://CorruptionCrusher.com/;Twitter:@SquarePegDem;andwww.Facebook.com/SquarePegDem;www.YouTube.com/SquarePegDem; on Skype:SquarePegDem

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Report: Andrew Cuomo Did Unsavory Thing Everyone Already Suspected He Did

Originally posted on The Dish:

by Alex Pareene

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Gives Annual State Of State Address

It’s not a perfect measure of partisan leaning, but according to the 2012 election results, New York is more Democratic than California and Minnesota, two states where Democrats control the entirety of the state governments, and where things have not yet completely collapsed in a morass of welfare handouts and tax hikes. So it’s a bit strange that the Republican Party controls the New York state Senate, the body where, traditionally, liberal legislative priorities have gone to die. It’s stranger when you learn that New York voters did actually give Democrats the majority in the Senate in 2012, at which point a coalition of state Senate Democrats known as the Independent Democratic coalition broke off from the party and formally allied with the GOP. Thus, the longtime state Senate Republican majority – the majority that had successfully thwarted nearly every liberal policy push made by…

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