According to a press release from the New York State Police, Jim Glorioso, a candidate for Montgomery County Sheriff, was arrested yesterday and charged with first degree offering a false instrument for filing, a class E felony. The charges stem from an opportunity to ballot petition filed in September for the Conservative Party. The petition was initiated by Glorioso, a Democrat, and would have triggered a Conservative Party primary with a choice to write-in a name, or choose the party-endorsed candidate Jeff Smith, a Republican.
The petition was ruled invalid at a meeting on August 6 after objections to nine signatures were sustained by the Montgomery Board of Elections, resulting in an insufficient number of signatures.
According to the release, the Democratic and Republican Commissioners for the Montgomery County Board of elections contacted the New York State Bureau of Crime Investigation in regards to the petition. The police allege that Glorioso knew that one of the names on the petition was signed by a relative, not the actual voter, and knew that other signatures on the petition were not properly witnessed and notarized.
Smith said today that his campaign hired a private investigator to investigate the signatures on the petition, and that the results of the investigation were handed over to the board of elections for the August 6 meeting.
One of the 25 objections against the petition alleged that a father signed the name of his autistic son.
In a related case, Kirsten Lemire of Amsterdam was arrested on August 23 and charged with first degree making an apparently sworn false statement, a class E felony. The police allege that Lemire signed and notarized a page of the petition containing seven signatures, but did not properly witness the signatures being made.
The release states:
Investigation and interview of five of [the seven] signers revealed that Glorioso himself had presented the petition to the voters and obtained their signatures. However, those five denied any female talking with them and denied a female presence as they signed the petition. A female was observed in the vehicle Glorioso had arrived in, but that woman remained in the vehicle.
Both Glorioso and Lemire were issued appearance tickets for September 12 court dates in the Town of Mohawk.
Glorioso issued a statement today on his campaign Facebook page indicating that he will fight the charges.
It is a sad abuse of our law enforcement when a possible simple mistake is turned into a crime, all in an attempt for a headline to de-rail a positive campaign. This all stemmed from my opponent hiring a private eye to investigate the signature of the father who signed for his autistic son. This does not force me to suspend my campaign, which is the intended purpose.
The statement concluded:
I will fight this battle in the background because the facts of this will come out. I am sure that I will be found not guilty of this charge.
Reached for comment today, Glorioso added, “Mistakes are made in every campaign. It’s an extremely complicated process which is set up to scare people like me away. I’m confident I’ll be cleared of this charge.”
In a statement released today, Smith wrote:
Leading up to the [board of elections] hearing a private investigator was hired by our campaign to investigate the signatures provided, not to dig up dirt on my opponent, not to ruin anyone’s reputation. The PI was from Fulton County, not Montgomery County and not a part of the political process. We felt this was the professional approach, to hire an unbiased person. This PI has a much different account of what has taken place than the one that has been provided to our local media.
The New York State Police are a non-political entity who performed a criminal investigation. They determined that there was probable cause to make felony arrests. The court system will now determine guilt or innocence.
We are both attempting to be elected Sheriff of Montgomery County. As a 30 year Police Officer when alleged crime information is presented an investigation should be conducted. If these facts were to be ignored, shame on me.