Livingston County District Attorney Tom Moran has confirmed that the New York State Police will be conducting a criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the witnessing of the Conservative Party petitions filed by Geneseo Supervisor Wes Kennison last month. The petitions will allow Kennison, along with incumbent town board members David Dwyer and Hop Manapol, to appear together on the Conservative Party line in this fall’s election.
As reported previously (See Big Problems with Conservative petitions), some of signatures appear to be sworn to fraudulently by a Town of Geneseo employee. Moran said he received numerous telephone complaints about the matter after it was reported in last week’s Livingston County News. He also received a letter from Dick Gallivan detailing the facts behind one of the depositions that he took for the petition challenge filed with the Board of Elections.
Gallivan interviewed Michelle Mix of Melody Lane who swore that her signature was witnessed solely by Hop Manapol when he came to her house alone. When filed, that signature was sworn to as being witnessed by Town of Geneseo employee Jane Dulmage. Election law requires that all petitions be witnessed and sworn to by a member of the Conservative Party which Dulmage is. Manapol is a Democrat.
The petition challenge included allegations of at least two other irregular signatures. The Board of Elections dismissed the challenge last week on a technicality after Objector Mary Calabrese failed to serve the three candidates with timely notice of the challenge. Nevertheless, a criminal investigation is a totally separate matter.
Moran said that if the State Police find evidence of a crime, he will step aside and appoint an Independent Prosecutor from an adjacent county. This is required because of the involvement of Supervisor Kennison who serves on the county Board of Supervisors.
This investigation will surely cast a shadow over voting at the Democrat caucus on Wednesday night, where Kennison and Manapol are expected to be challenged for re-nomination. Click here for a caucus preview.