Three Voters File Complaints Against Feltman Campaign
By DANIEL E. GOREN, Courant Staff Writer
August 23, 2007
Three Hartford voters filed complaints with state election officials Wednesday, accusing state Rep. Art Feltman's mayoral campaign of forging their signatures on petitions to have Feltman's name placed on the ballot for the Democratic primary.
Although Feltman denies any wrongdoing, the petitions appear to contain dozens of signatures that were "written in the same handwriting," according to the complaints.
One of the questionable signatures was that of Luis Caban - co-chairman of the campaign of Mayor Eddie A. Perez. The petition contains a signature for Caban and his wife, Maria Caban, including accurate dates of birth and address.
But Caban, who filed one of the complaints, said Wednesday he would never have supported Feltman in any way.
"I feel very insulted," Caban said. "I did not sign it. It is not my signature, and neither is it my wife's signature. Apparently, somebody forged my name."
The Perez campaign delivered a letter to Feltman Wednesday calling for "full disclosure and answers" to how this happened and what role Feltman played in it personally.
Kenny Curran, Perez's campaign manager, said Feltman should take "full responsibility for his campaign and conduct an audit of all the petitions."
"He should find out just how many names were forged, why they were forged and reach out to voters to apologize," Curran said.
Feltman said he would not "conduct any witch hunts" at the behest of Perez, but would review the matter, based on the facts.
"We are going to judiciously and cautiously review the mayor's complaint, and we are going to at some point endeavor to ascertain the facts and assign responsibility as the facts indicate," Feltman said.
After hearing a rumor that Caban was going to file a complaint, Feltman said he reviewed the Caban petition. He had not seen the other petitions in question.
"I looked at that petition that Mr. Caban signed and that his wife signed, and both his signature and his wife's signature do not appear similar to the circulator, nor to anybody else on the petition," Feltman said.
To qualify for placement on the primary ballot for the Sept. 11 election, all non-endorsed candidates had to gather 5 percent of Hartford's registered Democrats, which translates to 1,392 signatures. Perez, the endorsed Democrat for mayor, automatically appears on the ballot.
Officials from the State Elections Enforcement Commission said they were reviewing the complaints to determine whether they need to take any action before the primary. They said the circulator - in this case, Christopher A. Ryan - is legally responsible if there is a problem. Depending on the results of an investigation, the circulator could face civil penalties and possible criminal prosecution.
Ryan said Wednesday that the accusations being made in the complaints were false.
"I didn't forge no signatures," he said. "I didn't forge nobody's handwriting."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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