SARATOGA SPRINGS — New York State Police have determined that forgery allegations against Tracey LaBelle, the losing Republican candidate in the November election for Saratoga Springs Public Safety Commissioner, are without merit.
A report on the New York State Police’s G Troop investigation, completed in March but just obtained and verified by The Daily Gazette, concluded that no forgery was committed and “all subjects in question have confirmed permission to have their names appear on said petition.”
The report was signed by Inv. Daniel Bornt and Sr Inv. Andrew Werner and included interviews with 19 people.
The investigation into the alleged forgery arose from a complaint by Pat Tuz, chairman of the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee, alleging that signatures on nomination petitions submitted by the “United Saratoga” party line did not appear to match signatures. voter registration.
LaBelle said she was happy to be absolved of wrongdoing.
“As I have said all along, I am completely innocent of the disgusting accusations made against me by Democratic Chair Pat Tuz,” LaBelle said in a statement. “She did it for political reasons in a failed attempt to intimidate and discredit me. She should be ashamed of herself for what she did to me and my family.
Tuz did not return several calls seeking comment on Friday.
Public Safety Commissioner Jim Montagnino, who defeated LaBelle in November, declined to comment on the forgery investigation against his former opponent.
All but one of the interviewees told state police that their signatures were not fraudulently included on the nomination petition. The only person who told police that he had not signed the petition or granted permission to include his name had his name included on a petition witnessed by Samantha Guerra.
Infringement allegations against Guerra were brought by auditor Dillon Moran, who defeated Guerra, a Republican, in the November election. Guerra reached a plea deal with the Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office “to satisfy all charges related to this investigation,” in an election law misdemeanor case, according to the state police report. .
City Republicans said they were satisfied with the outcome of the LaBelle inquiry.
“I’m happy to see Tracey vindicated. We have always seen these allegations for what they were, a malicious political stunt,” said Saratoga Springs Republican Committee Chairman Michael Brandi. “The Democratic Party here has set a dangerous precedent by criminalizing the petition process. I believe our democracy is best served when citizens are encouraged to engage in the political process in good faith without the threat of defamatory accusations and criminal allegations.
For what it’s worth, the state police union endorsed LaBelle. State Police spokeswoman Kerra Burns referred questions about the endorsement to the Police Benevolent Association of New York State Troopers, but no one answered the phone Friday afternoon before the long weekend- end of vacation.
Andrew Waite can be reached at [email protected] and at 518-417-9338. Follow him on Twitter @UpstateWaite.
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