Elmwood Park Mayoral Candidate Calls for Resignation of Four Council Members and New Elections in November

Elmwood Park mayoral candidate Magdalena Giandomenico says that charges brought against Mayor Frank Caramagna by the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office involving election fraud casts doubt on the legitimacy of the last three elections, and that whether council members Lorraine Pellegrine, Sandra Balistrieri, Denise Ingui and Doris Wechtler were elected fairly. She calls for the resignation of all four council members and a new election to be held in November.

In the aftermath of news that Elmwood Park Mayor Frank Caramagna resigned due to a criminal charge of interfering with the secrecy of the election process, mayoral candidate Magdalena Giandomenico released the following statement this morning:

“It’s a sad time for the Elmwood Park community.  Our town has faced many challenges since the passing of Mayor Richard A. Mola, including the December data hack at Boro Hall, the Marcal fire in January and now the criminal charges and resignation of Mayor Caramagna.

“What is equally as concerning as the changes brought forth by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office against Caramagna is that this investigation spanned over a period of three elections – not just one, including: the June 2017 Primary; the November 2017 General; and the November 2018 General.

“The legitimacy of each of those elections must now be called into question.  How many ballots were interfered with?  How many voters were intimidated as they completed their ballots?  With many unanswered questions, the results of both the General Elections in 2017 and 2018 – in which four members of the Council were elected – are now being called into question by the very voters who believed their voices were being heard and their votes properly cast.

“In light of the deep public concern being expressed by voters throughout our town, Council members Lorraine Pellegrine, Sandra Balistrieri, Denise Ingui and Doris Wechtler must accept that they were each elected under a cloud of suspicion, in their respective elections.

“Therefore today, I call for them to immediately resign from their positions and allow the voters of Elmwood Park to hold a fair and honest election in November of 2019, with proper Attorney General oversight, for all four seats, where all doubt can be removed about the legitimacy of the elections in which these Council members where chosen.”

Acting Mayor Daniel Golabek said former Councilwoman Giandomenico’s call for new elections “preposterous.”

“During the last three elections, voters boldly voiced their opinions of Ms. Giandomenico and her party by means of overwhelmingly opposing them at the polls,” said the acting mayor. “Taking mail in ballots completely out of the equation, the Elmwood Park residents made very clear, resounding choices based on the platform and stances of the candidates. There is no question here. In 2018, Wechtler defeated Giandomenico by 638 votes purely at the polls and in 2017, Vuoncino was defeated by Balistrieri by 160 votes purely at the polls.”

He denounced the candidate’s statement as political, opportunistic and illogical.

“Our voters, after being victims over the last several decades of the Elmwood Park GOP’s stagnant and mediocre governing, made several clear mandates demanding growth from their governing body, of which we obliged,” Golabek said. “We will continue to deliver progress to our residents because that is what they deserve and to do anything less would be a disservice to our entire community. This week will be tumultuous but once the dust settles, the residents will continue to see the fruit of our labor and our vibrant vision for progress become a reality. We will not waver from our commitment to moving Elmwood Park forward in a progressive direction. The priority now is smooth transition of government, not petty politics.”

 

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