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Monday, October 26, 2020

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Political committees ask for investigation into alleged fraud by LaBuda campaign

Sep 24, 2020

By Isabel Braverman - staff writer

By: Isabel Braverman | Democrat
Steven Vegliante, Chairman of the Sullivan County Democratic Committee, announces a request for an investigation into the third party line petition from the Frank LaBuda campaign. LaBuda is running for Sullivan County District Attorney.
MONTICELLO — Members of local and state political parties joined together to request a public integrity investigation into former Sullivan County Court Judge and candidate for District Attorney Frank LaBuda.
LaBuda, who characterized these allegations as “bullying tactics” by political leaders, is running on the Republican line for District Attorney against Democratic candidate Acting District Attorney Meagan Galligan this November.
“In the race for Sullivan County District Attorney, actions have been taken that fundamentally undermine the public's ability to trust the electoral process,” said Steven Vegliante, Chairman of the Sullivan County Democratic Committee and attorney.
Vegliante made the announcement at a press conference held on the steps of the Lawrence H. Cooke Sullivan County Courthouse in Monticello on Tuesday afternoon.
Also attending were Gary Maas, Sullivan County Republican Party Committee Chairman; Ed Magilton, Sullivan County Conservative Party Committee Chairman; and Len Bernardo, New York State Independence Party Committee member.

“While our core beliefs may be very different, we all can agree that fraud has no place in our electoral system in Sullivan County,” Vegliante said.
According to the Sullivan County Board of Elections, LaBuda submitted a petition for nomination to the “For the People” party line. Of the 1,477 signatures collected, the Board of Elections invalidated 882 of them and referred 78 for judicial review.
Vegliante alleges that some of the signatures were forged and contain other inaccuracies like misspelling of names or incorrect addresses.
Sworn affidavits show that the signatures of local attorney Michael Mednick and his wife Shari Mednick were forged, as well as a few other people.
In a statement, LaBuda said, “Some volunteers, however, may not have followed the technical requirements for a petition. I chose not to waste my time, money and effort in a lawsuit to contest the Board of Elections' decision to disallow some signatures.”
Vegliante named some of the people who gathered signatures for LaBuda, including Gordon Jenkins, former Mayor of the Village of Monticello who was removed from office; John LiGreci, former Village of Monticello Manager who was convicted on multiple counts of misconduct; and Jacob Crawley, who Vegliante said is currently under felony indictment.
Vegliante says the evidence represents fraud and is asking for criminal prosecution and for LaBuda to withdraw from the race.
LaBuda sees it differently; in a statement he called it “a dismal attempt by political party bosses to sway the district attorney election.”
He added that he welcomes an investigation by the State Board of Elections, as well as the U.S. Attorney's Office of Voter Fraud for the Southern District of New York.
“In the June 23rd GOP primary, the people resoundingly supported me as their choice to become the next Sullivan County District Attorney,” LaBuda's statement continued. “This shocked and horrified the political bosses and their cronies who thought they could control the election for their anointed candidates. My lifelong independence from all political bosses is what the people of this county deserve and need from their District Attorney.”

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