By: Tom Duggan – 12-16-15
Laborer’s Union President Mike Gagliardi says that supporters of the failed recall petition against Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera will be in court to file a law suit against the city if 1,500 signatures that were disqualified are not counted as valid. Gagliardi also says recall supporters will be asking for a restraining order to stop Rivera and his supporters from harassing those who signed the recall petition against him.
The recall petition to throw Mayor Rivera out of office failed last week when organizers were short 655 signatures to call for a special election asking voters to remove Rivera as mayor.
Gagliardi says that more than 1,500 signatures were deemed invalid on the petitions because those voters listed their current addresses (as instructed on the petition forms) instead of the addresses on the voting list as required by state law.
“The recall failed because of the way Rivera’s administration deigned the petitions and mislead voters about what address to list,” Gagliardi continued.
“Dan Rivera and City Attorney Charlie Boddy devised a recall petition that tells voters to list the address where they resided at the time they sing the petition. City Clerk Billy Maloney was asked if people needed to sign where they are currently living, (if they have moved) or their new address. Maloney told voters to sign where they live now. Both the form and Maloney’s instructions we now learn, were a direct violation of MGL Chapter 53, (950cmr55) which states that signers are to list the address on the voting list.”
Gagliardi says recall organizers filed their first objection to the 1,500 names with City Clerk Maloney on Wednesday.
“It’s very clear that the people who signed the petition followed the city’s directives and the instruction on the recall form itself and those signatures should be counted. The Rivera administration intrinsically set up the recall to fail. It’s interesting that Atty. Boddy authorized that recall form in his official capacity and we are going to argue that he did it to intentionally deceive voters and have their voted nullified by board of registrars.”
Gagliardi says that Boddy should be fired and criticized Rivera for not firing Boddy and Maloney when he took office two years ago.
“Even if he didn’t have the votes on the council, he should have showed leadership and sent their names down to be removed,” Gagliardi said
RIVERA TEAM RESPONDS
Atty. Sal Tabit, who represents Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera in the recall matter, said that those who oppose Dan Rivera’s election two years ago are just trying to drag out the process.
“They have a right to pursue this or any avenue they think is appropriate. We feel very confident, legally and otherwise, that at the conclusion of this process, no matter how long drawn out it is, that Dan Rivera will continue to be the mayor of Lawrence until the next mayoral election in 2017.”
Asked if the city was legally on the hook for instructing recall supporters to sign their current address, only to have those signatures disqualified because of those addresses, Tabit said that each of those 1,500 people (who they claim were misled) would have to be produced.
“I’m just not sure they are going to be able to do that,” Tabit replied.
“If they are making that claim, I’d have to say that means they have to prove it. This is a legal process. They will have to get all 1,500 people into court, as well as to the Board of Registrars, and have them say that they were misled when they signed it. They also have to prove each of those 1,500 people were living at those addresses. Are they prepared to present the evidence they are claiming in the press?”
FORGERIES ON THE RECALL?
Sources close to Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera have confirmed for The Valley Patriot, that dozens of people whose names appear on the recall petition have contacted the mayor’s office to say they have not signed it.
Lawrence resident Maria Fiato, (who works for The Valley Patriot) says she is one of those who did not sign the petition, but her name was signed… by someone. (SEE PHOTO)
“I didn’t sign it. First of all, they signed my name Marie, not Maria,” Fiato said.
“Secondly, they used an address from over a year ago. I don’t live there anymore. Someone obviously forged my name. If you look at the petition itself, it looks like the same person wrote a whole bunch of names on that sheet. It just makes you realize how desperate and sleazy the person behind all of this is.”
RIVERA TAKING FORGERIES SERIOUSLY
Atty. Tabit would not say how many people have come forward but said that down the road other agencies may be called in to investigate. “that’s not where we are right now, though. Right now we are focusing on defeating the recall. At the appropriate time, if this continues to move forward for some reason, we will explore those options.”
“I can say that a number of people have come forward who claim their names are on the petitions and never signed them. There are phone calls that are analogous to all the social media posts we’ve all seen, where people are claiming they did not sign the petition. And if it comes to that, if the recall for some reason is deemed valid, we will proceed to challenge those signatures of anyone who comes forward.”
Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera has set up a hot line for voters who believe their names were forged on the recall petition. (978-219-9333)
He told The Valley Patriot back on December 11th, that he was fully investigating allegations of forgeries on the recall.
“While the Board of Registrars was given a report that 4,990 signatures were verified, we are certain that a majority of these will not stand up to close scrutiny. Once we have the petitions in hand, we will begin to review them for forgery and fraud. We have had many people come to our office with experiences where the people involved with the petitions lied and cajoled them into signing the recall. We will be looking into this matter to insure that no one’s rights were violated. I encourage the City Clerk to expedite the already week old requests for those documents.”
A RESTRAINING ORDER?
“They are threatening voters to remove their names from the recall petition through fear and intimidation and we want that to stop.”
Gagliardi says he would not release the names of those he says were “intimidated” or “harassed” by Rivera or his supporters. He did say that those individuals will be coming forward and signing the complaint in court. He says Rivera supporters are calling people whose names appear on the recall “5-10 times, saying they need to take their names off list.”
Gagliardi also says that he and recall organizers are also challenging the recall petitions because the lines are not enumerated correctly.
“Look at the recall forms, each one has the number 10 missing. That means each sheet is one signature short. The Rivera administration purposely created a faulty petition document so that they could challenge the sheets later claiming each sheet is one signature short. That would give Rivera one more legal challenge later on, if this petition is successful. It was his administration that designed and disseminated the recall forms. The city has to be held accountable for all of this.”
CALLING ALL AGENCIES
Union president Mike Gagliardi said that this recall is far from over, and is going to be calling any and all government agencies he can, to investigate Rivera.
“We are asking The Secretary of State and the Justice Department to come in and investigate how a city, on official documents, can be in violation of the law, and deceive voters to manipulate an election process for their own political gain. Dan Rivera has been running a tyranny in the City of Lawrence with no regard for rules, regulations, or the rights of citizens to petition their government.”
“Danny and the whole city should be embarrassed that they sent out deceptive petitions, told people to use their new address and then discounted their signatures because they used their new address.”
Lawrence City Clerk William Maloney says that a hearing will be held on all objections to the recall process, “some time in January”.