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 Legislator John G. Testa

John G. Testa, a life-long resident of Peekskill, began his first term on the Westchester County Legislature in January 2010. Prior to his successful run for the District 1 Legislative seat, he served 3 terms as Mayor of Peekskill from January 2002 until December 2007. Before becoming mayor he also served a four-year term as a Councilman. From his first days in office Testa worked tirelessly to set the City on the path of economic stability. Peekskill flourished under this plan, increasing the city fund balance to its highest in history. During John’s tenure in office, the NY State Comptroller’s Office named Peekskill one of the most fiscally sound municipalities in the State; independent auditors proclaimed Peekskill as being in its best fiscal condition in over 30 years; and Moody’s Investor Service agreed to upgrade its bond rating, resulting in further savings. The plan he put in place was so successful that it enabled the City of Peekskill to pass three budgets in a row with a 0% tax increase. These fiscal skills will prove valuable to Testa as he works to put the brakes on what has been wildly escalating county spending and unchecked government growth. He has pledged his efforts to work to consolidate services, eliminate wasteful spending and improve efficiency. In addition to the fiscal conservatism that served Peekskill so well, Testa worked to promote the city, attracting investment, jobs and an increased tax base. Over $100 million of private investment came to Peekskill in the forms of new residential construction, retail space, and the redevelopment of historic structures. As Mayor, Testa led a successful battle to stop the unfair and unsafe plan to send sewage to the Peekskill plant from outside the sewage/water district. John’s roots are deep within the soil of Northern Westchester. His father’s family has lived here for more than a century and his mother’s family is nearing that mark. He is proud that he was born in Peekskill and has lived and worked here all his life and, with his wife Nancy raised their two children here.
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