<<Home Niagara Falls Reporter Archive>>

Are Latest Election Fraud Charges In Same League as Tamburlin Case?

By Frank Parlato

Erie County DA Frank Sedita chose not to prosecute Mary Jo Tamburlin
Mary Jo Tamburlin was accused by Johnny Destino and Jason Zona of using her notary license to falsely date signatures. She was not charged.

The absentee voters' case or, if you prefer, controversy, involving Johnny Destino and Jason Zona has been compared to that of Mary Jo Tamburlin, a notary public and clerk of the Republican-controlled county legislature, a woman active in the grass roots elements of many GOP campaigns.

In July, Tamburlin was accused of fraudulently notarizing signatures of three Working Families Party members in order to qualify them to help Giulio Colangelo, an Independence Party member endorsed by the GOP who is running against Jason Zona, wage a write-in campaign against Zona.

It was Zona and Destino who discovered the alleged fraud and Destino got the three party members - two of who live, ironically, at the Royal Park Apartments - the scene of the Destino/Zona case - to sign affidavits that Tamburlin notarized their signatures with false dates.

The Niagara County Board of Elections disallowed the petition.

Destino and Zona pressed for criminal prosecution of Tamburlin. It was investigated by the Niagara County Sheriff's Department. There was evidence that the dates were false, and no question that false dates were essential to getting the original petition approved. A notary is required to swear both to the identity of the signatory and the precise date. A notary public who deliberately misdates a signature is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Because Tamburlin helped Niagara County District Attorney Michael J. Violante's past election campaigns, Violante, a Republican, handed the case over to Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III, a Democrat.

GOP leader George Maziarz said that Tamburlin made an honest mistake about the date when she notarized the signatures.

Last week, Sedita announced he would not file charges against Tamburlin. Sedita said he found no evidence of criminal intent.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

SEP 10, 2013