A Queens man named Jesus Palomino recently swore in an affidavit that his mother could not have signed a petition form for two dozen candidates, including State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky, on June 14th. The reason? The woman, Ana Rita Palomino, had been dead since February 5th, 2011.
The affidavit was produced by Stavisky’s opponent John Messer’s campaign and is posted below.
Queens Democratic party-backed candidates frequently petition in tandem and list each other on shared petitions. Stavisky is included with at least two dozen other candidates on this petition, according to her campaign, who said they were not familiar with the witness, Ashoka Bhattacharjee, who signed the petition form that includes the dead woman’s signature.
Messer campaign staff scrolled through the nominating petitions and knocked on signatories’ doors to verify the names. The campaign provided the affidavit to City and State, in which Palomino’s son Jesus wrote:
“I the undersigned do hereby swear and say that Ana Rita Palomino was my mother and she formally resided at 159-09 Goethals Ave in Jamaica, NY. The petition signature shown to me that desigantes Toby Stavisky for the office of State Senator and submitted to the Board of Election can not be that of my mother. My mother passed away in February 5th of 2011.”
A source close to the Messer campaign said the campaign intends to produce at least 51 sworn affidavits from people who claim their petition signatures are not valid, including ”two people who are being treated for Alzheimer’s at facilities out of state,” the source said.
UPDATE: Pat McKenna, a spokesman for Stavisky’s campaign, emailed a statement:
“No one knows the facts here, but if anyone did anything illegal they should be arrested and prosecuted just like John Messer’s co-worker and John Messer’s political ally, who were prosecuted for identity theft and rape, respectively.”
An online obituary exists for a person named “Ana Palomino” from Jamaica, Queens, citing the date of her death as Feb. 5th, 2011.
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