The fourth Suffolk political insider accused of forging signatures on nominating petitions submitted to the county's Board of Elections, some with names of dead people, appeared in court Wednesday to face multiple charges connected to the allegations.
Amos Goodman, 35, of East Hampton, the former chairman of the East Hampton Republican Party, was 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.
Goodman pleaded not guilty to the charges at his arraignment in First District Court in Central Islip and was released on his own recognizance. He was ordered to return to court Feb. 6. His attorney Craig Fischer said Goodman will fight the charges but declined further comment after the arraignment. Goodman resigned from his post as party chairman last week.
He is the fourth person charged this week by the office of Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini in connection with petition fraud related to the November elections. Two Suffolk County Board of Elections employees, William Mann, 60, of Cutchogue, and Gregory Dickerson, 55, of Mattituck, as well as Independence Party chairwoman Patricia Mansir, 72, of East Hampton, pleaded not guilty at their arraignments Tuesday to multiple charges of submitting nominating petitions with bogus signatures.
Goodman and the other defendants, prosecutors said, wanted candidates they supported listed under more than one party line on the ballot to boost their chances in the Nov. 6 elections. Sini said his office began investigating petition fraud after receiving complaints from the Suffolk County Green Party, the East Hampton Town Independence Party and East Hampton Republicans.
Green Party representatives said New York State electoral law, which allows two or more political parties to support the same candidate in what is known as "fusion voting," gives people running for office incentives to cheat to be listed under multiple party lines.
“We are happy Tim Sini’s office investigated the complaints we made earlier this year,” said Pauline Salotti, chairwoman of the Suffolk County Green Party. “New York State needs to end fusion voting.”
Roger Snyder, the secretary of the Suffolk County Green Party, asked: "What trust can you have in the Board of Elections if their own people are doing this kind of thing? You have to wonder that if they think they can get away with this, what else are they doing?”
An affidavit prepared by Robert Maloney, an investigator in Sini’s office, said Goodman submitted eight petition pages nominating Manuel Vilar as the Republican candidate for East Hampton in July that contained 41 forged signatures — including one from a dead person. Maloney's affidavit said Dickerson, Mann and Mansir also submitted signatures from dead people.
Goodman also submitted petitions for other races that also included forged signatures, the affidavit said.
Kyle Ballou, the secretary of the East Hampton Town Republican Committee, said he could not comment on the charges filed against Goodman.
“It is the official policy of the EHTRC to adhere to all laws, rules and regulations,” Ballou said in a statement. “The EHTRC does not condone any conduct that would not be expressly permitted.”
Authorities have said the candidates whose nominating petitions included forged signatures were not aware of the alleged scheme and none won their general election races.
Mann and Dickerson were not available for comment Wednesday. Carl Irace, the East Hampton attorney for Mansir, a former East Hampton Town trustee, said the charges against his client are without merit.
“It’s unfortunate that my client’s good name, and her many years and deeds that served our community, were besmirched by these charges," Irace said Wednesday. "It’s doubly unfortunate that her case is coming up with other matters that hers has no relation to.”