Two Face Felony Charges in Election Petition Fraud Investigation

Amos Goodman. Image via Facebook campaign page

Two members of East Hampton Town political committees are facing felony charges following an investigation by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office, which examined signatures on nominating petitions for candidates running for local offices during the 2018 elections.

Amos Goodman, 35, of East Hampton, who recently stepped down as chairman of the East Hampton Republican Committee after less than a year in that role, has been charged with 10 counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and 10 counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing. District Attorney Timothy D. Sini alleged Mr. Goodman filed nominating petitions containing at least 43 forged signatures — including the signature of one deceased person — in support of an Independence Party candidate and a Republican Party candidate for East Hampton Town Council as well as for Green Party judicial candidates.

The Republican Committee was working to support candidate Manny Vilar in the race for a one-year term on the East Hampton Town Board.

Patricia Mansir, 72, of East Hampton, a former East Hampton Town councilwoman and previous vice chair of the East Hampton Town Independence Party, has been charged with four counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and four counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing. Mr. Sini alleged Ms. Mansir submitted nominating petitions for an Independence Party candidate for East Hampton Town Council, including a signature of one person who is deceased.

According to a press release issued late Tuesday night, the district attorney’s Public Integrity Bureau launched an investigation after receiving complaints from representatives of the Suffolk County Green Party, the East Hampton Town Republican Party and the East Hampton Town Independence Party.

Gregory Dickerson, 55, of Mattituck, and William Mann 60, of Cutchogue, who work for the Suffolk County Board of Elections, are also facing similar charges as part of the district attorney’s investigation.

Mr. Mann is charged with two counts of official misconduct, a misdemeanor, for allegedly “falsely representing to voters that he was working in his official capacity as an employee of the Board of Elections to collect signatures on behalf of the Green Party,” the district attorney’s release said. He is also charged with second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and first-degree offering a false instrument. He is alleged to have submitted nominating petitions containing three forged signatures, including a signature of a deceased person, in support of Green Party judicial candidates.

Mr. Dickerson is charged with two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and two counts of first-degree offering a false instrument. Mr. Sini alleged he submitted two nominating petitions for Green Party judicial candidates containing two forged signatures.

Mr. Mann, Mr. Dickerson and Ms. Mansir were arraigned Tuesday and were released on their own recognizance. Mr. Goodman was arraigned Wednesday and was also released on his own recognizance. Each defendant faces a maximum prison sentence of two and one-third to seven years if convicted of his or her respective top count.

Ms. Mansir’s attorney, Carl Irace, said Thursday that she “denies the allegations and looks forward to being proven innocent, though she never should have been put in a position to have to defend her good name.”

Mr. Irace continued, “It’s unfortunate that my client’s good name, and her many years and deeds that served our community, were besmirched by these charges. It’s doubly unfortunate that her case is coming up with other matters that hers has no relation to.”

Mr. Goodman, who is being represented by Craig Fleischer, declined to comment Wednesday.

In August, the petition filed by the East Hampton Independence Party on behalf of David Gruber, who was running for East Hampton Town Council, was tossed out by a New York State Supreme Court judge. The judge had examined signatures on Mr. Gruber’s nominating petition in a challenge filed by Mr. Goodman on behalf of Mr. Vilar, who was ultimately unsuccessful in his bid for an East Hampton Town Council seat. Following the allegations of impropriety on the part of the Independence Party, its chair, Elaine Jones, obtained Mr. Goodman’s own petitions for Mr. Vilar and said she had concerns about the validity of some of the signatures Mr. Goodman had collected.

In a statement, Mr. Sini called the current allegations a “brazen scheme to get preferred candidates on the November 2018 ballot by any means necessary.”

“Through their alleged actions, the defendants corrupted the democratic process and violated the public’s trust,” Mr. Sini said. “…This kind of conduct is unacceptable; if you abuse your position of public trust and attempt to disrupt the integrity of the election process, you will be brought to justice.”