Peekskill and County Democrats Exposed in Petition Fraud




PEEKSKILL, NY – Legislator Catherine Borgia has been identified as an elected official who, in league with The Peekskill Democratic Party, formed a select ring of Democratic District Leaders in an attempt to circumvent the election process and defraud the voters of Legislative District 1. The Democratic Party leadership joined with the hyper-partisan Borgia and potential county legislative candidate Derek Hartley in an illegal scheme to submit Democratic Party Designating Petitions for Hartley that they knew contained over 100 unqualified entries.

“I am not surprised by the Peekskill Democratic Party’s dishonest attempt to once again cheat and deceive the public during this process. They do it every election so I have come to expect it, and sure enough they got caught again,” said Legislator Testa.

“I always welcome an open and honest election and debate of the issues, but clearly the Peekskill Democrats and those who assisted them in this underhanded ploy to defraud the public do not. I will not stand by and let such deceitful behavior go unchallenged,” Testa added. “This ‘Ends Justifies the Means’ mentality has got to stop,” said Testa.

The most incredulous discovery of the fraud investigation was the significant participation

Legislator Testa pointing out irregularity in the signature line of the witness statement on one of Hartley's petitions.

Legislator Testa pointing out irregularity in the signature line of the witness statement on one of Hartley’s petitions.

of Catherine Borgia, Majority Leader of the County Board of Legislators. In fact, she stands out as the ringleader with the most signatures submitted, a total of 70. Upon inspection it was determined that 33 -almost half- of the submitted entries were from out of the district entirely, or simply not of registered democratic voters. Hartley, on the other hand, submitted 57 entries with 28 being fraudulent, also nearly half of the total he submitted. With 562 total entries submitted and 500 required to qualify, that means the 61 bad entries combined between Borgia and Hartley alone were at the center of their attempt to defraud the process.

Also discovered during the investigation was that Borgia only obtained 4 signatures on one petition for her own District 9 Legislative race compared to submitting scores of entries for Testa’s potential opponent.

It’s clear that Catherine Borgia has breached the professional protocol preventing sitting legislators from engaging in other districts, clearly showing a lack of respect for her office, her fellow legislators and the people of Westchester.

“For a legislator and colleague to become actively involved in another sitting legislator’s district -especially their election- is beyond the pale,” stated legislator Testa. “I am extremely disappointed that Legislator Borgia would take such an active role in such shenanigans and to do so in such a deceitful manner quite frankly speaks to her ethics, or lack thereof,” added Testa.

Along with Democratic County Legislator Catherine Borgia and candidate Derek Hartley, the following individuals knowingly submitted designating petitions with fraudulent, unqualified entries:

●      Peekskill Democratic Party Treasurer Ruth Wells
●      Peekskill Democratic Party Chairwoman Marina Ciotti
●      Peekskill Democratic Councilman Darrin Rigger
●      Peekskill Democratic Party Secretary Linda Wildman
●      Peekskill Democratic Party District Leader Terence Rogers
●      Peekskill Democratic Party Mayoral Candidate Kenneth Martin
●      Peekskill Democratic Party District Leader Nina Levine
●      Peekskill Democratic Councilwoman Vivian McKenzie
●      Peekskill Democratic Councilwoman Kathy Talbot
●      Cortlandt Democratic Party District Leader Karen Pecora
●      Cortlandt Democratic Party District Leader Thomas Carey
●      Cortlandt Democratic Receiver of Taxes Mary Breining
●      Yorktown Democratic Party Treasurer Joseph Vittoria
●      Yorktown Democratic Town Board Member and candidate for Supervisor Vishnu                     Patel

As a result of the investigation a challenge was submitted to the Board of Elections for review. According to Board of Election procedures, a bi-partisan review regarding the overwhelming number of fraudulent entries on Hartley’s petitions was conducted. The evidence was overwhelming and irrefutable and once the fraudulent entries on Hartley’s petitions were removed, Harley was disqualified as a candidate for office.

Full video of Press Conference:

About John G. Testa

Former District 1 County Legislator, John G. Testa is served five terms at the Westchester County Board of Legislators, spending the last 3 terms as BOL Minority Leader. John G. Testa is a lifelong resident of Peekskill who first entered elected public service as a member of the Peekskill Common Council in 1998 and then served three terms as Mayor. He previously served on the Conservation and Parks Advisory Board and Zoning Board of Appeals. John became an elected official eager to improve the City in which his family has lived for more than a century and quickly earned a reputation as a strong, independent, nonpartisan voice for fiscal responsibility. John received a BS degree in Technology from SUNY Oswego, where his academic achievements gained him induction into Epsilon Pi Tau, the International Honorary Fraternity of Technology. He earned his MS degree in Technology from the City College of New York. He began his teaching career in 1980 at Peekskill High School, his alma mater, as an instructor in Technology and Social Studies, retiring in 2013 after 33 years teaching. John has been a leader in support for the Arts Community in Westchester. He presided over the construction of the Peekskill Art Lofts, the establishment of the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, and the complete restoration of the Paramount Center for the Arts, originally a 1930’s movie house and helped bring critical funding to many Westchester programs. Legislator Testa received the “Advancing the Arts in Westchester Award” by ArtsWestchester. John has a been a leader on environmental issues for two decades and has a long record of initiatives he has supported and spearheaded. His active involvement in developing and promoting environmentally friendly policies began as mayor and continued throughout his time as Westchester County Legislator. His efforts consistently earned John the endorsement of the NY League of Conservation Voters. John’s most recognizable accomplishment has been his promotion and preservation of local history and historic landmarks, bringing an unprecedented focus on the region’s rich history, and its legacy of historic Victorian architecture. His roots in historical preservation stem from his experience as a Revolutionary War re-enactor and member of The Brigade of the American Revolution for 50 years. John was instrumental in securing the preservation of the Lincoln Depot, now the Lincoln Depot Museum, where he now serves as President. The museum was recognized in 2015 as one of The Best Museums in Westchester. He also secured the preservation of historic Fort Hill as parkland, a 40-acre parcel that was originally a Revolutionary War encampment site. Under his leadership, the United States Dept. of the Interior declared Peekskill a “Preserve America Community.” John was able to establish a record number of National Register designations of local structures, including the first Downtown and Neighborhood Historic Districts and supported the preservation of the historic Miller House in North White Plains. In 2017 John was named a “Champion of History” by the Lincoln Society in Peekskill. John and his wife of 37 years, Nancy, live in Peekskill and have two adult children, John, Jr. (fiancé Courtney Kelly) and Katy (husband Mike Mearon). John and Nancy recently welcomed the arrival of their first grandchild, Lacey Mae, in 2019.
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