Registrar of Voters suit: Alleged to have fudged petitions for herself and relatives

Courant story: Town Committee Candidates File Suit Against Hartford Registrar Of Voters <read>

A group of candidates for the 5th district [Hartford] Democratic Town Committee has filed a lawsuit against Hartford’s Democratic registrar of voters, who also happens to be a member of the opposing slate of candidates.

The suit alleges that Olga Iris Vazquez accepted and submitted petition signatures for her slate that were not properly completed by circulators. The suit also alleges that when Vazquez realized that some of the petitions were not properly completed, she had a deputy registrar remove them from the city and town clerk’s office to be completed — after the deadline for submission had passed. The suit also names Garey Coleman, deputy registrar, and John Bazzano, city and town clerk.

The suit says that because some of the signatures are improper, the Vazquez slate had 268 valid signatures, rather than the 323 necessary to have the slate placed on the March 2 primary ballot. The suit alleges that Vazquez violated state statutes by accepting incomplete petitions and seeks to have them declared invalid. The suit also seeks to have Vazquez’s slate, which includes her husband, Radames Vazquez, and her mother-in-law, Juanita Giles, declared unqualified to run in the March town committee primary because of its failure to file the necessary number of signatures by the 4 p.m. Jan. 27 deadline.

Juanita Giles is the wife of Abraham Giles, a longtime city political operative and former state representative, who recently was associated with the altering of a census employment brochure to promote Vazquez’ town committee slate. A complaint was filed with the State Elections Enforcement Commission about the altered brochure, and it also was sent to the state’s attorney’s office.

There is a name for this in Hartford: Business as Usual. From the article:

Last month, a challenge slate in the 4th district also filed a complaint alleging that Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez and Chief of Police Daryl K. Roberts used their authority to deny members of one slate access to housing complexes in the city to gather signatures, while circulators from another slate were given access. Perez and Roberts denied any involvement…

Vazquez paid a $500 fine in 2004 when the state Elections Enforcement Commission determined that her office had accepted invalid petition signatures.

Also in the Courant today is a column by Helen Ubinas demonstrating the sad example of how Hartford City Hall celebrates Black History Month with sad examples of what passes for leadership, More Than A Few Dubious Honorees In Hartford’s Black History Month Exhibit <read>

honored among real Hartford heroes is the longtime Democratic ward boss who for years made or broke political aspirations with a house full of mysterious registered voters and who’s long lined his pockets with questionable parking lot deals. Just recently, he was arrested alongside Mayor Eddie Perez, who was charged with attempted extortion from a private developer for the benefit of his political pal Giles….

So, let’s just take the short tour.

That’s Veronica Airey-Wilson, the Republican councilwoman who was arrested for allegedly fabricating evidence to show that she had paid for work done on her home by the same city contractor from whom Perez is accused of getting discounted home repairs.

Those two guys over there are Russell Williams, one-time head of the Greater Hartford branch of the NAACP, and former Urban League of Greater Hartford CEO James Willingham. Both men cashed in big after supporting the company that was awarded the city schools’ multimillion-dollar construction project.

Makes you think they should change the name of the exhibit from “Honoring our Own” to “Getting Yours,” doesn’t it?

And that honking portrait is of Prenzina Holloway, who four years ago was fined $10,000 by state election officials for absentee ballot fraud. She paid a fraction of that fine after crying poor, then turned around and bought a used $31,727 Hummer she didn’t pay taxes on, despite drawing a city paycheck in the — wait for it — registrars of voters office.

But then, those details are bound to be overlooked when your daughter is the city council’s Democratic majority leader who is also the program’s one-woman nominating committee.

That is, until a couple of years ago, when rJo Winch expanded the committee to include herself, her mother and her sister-in-law.

CTVotersCount readers may recall that Hartford has three Registrars of Voters: Democratic, Republican, and Working Families Party.  Apparently that is hardly enough when each registrar is responsible for their own party’s primary.

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