Race for Herkimer County District Attorney heats up...and it's only August!
HERKIMER, N.Y. (WKTV) - Republican Jeff Carpenter was appointed acting Herkimer County District Attorney earlier this year when former D.A. John Crandall became a judge. Now Carpenter is running to be voted into the role.
He is facing Democrat Mary Iocovozzi, an attorney from Herkimer, in November's general election.
On Monday both sides brought cases against each other into Supreme Court, claiming illegal petitions were garnered on each side.
Carpenter says all of Iocovozzi's petitions should have been thrown out, thus removing her from the ballot.
He says someone changed each petition after area residents signed them.
That change, an addition to the top, where Iocovozzi's personal address is, "and I think it is very concerning for me to have a candidate running for district attorney who would change documents before they are signed and notarized."
Iocovozzi admitted in court on Monday that she did add her own P.O. Box when submitting each petition to the Herkimer County board of elections.
Her attorney, Carol Malz, of Oneonta says there was no malice behind the addition of her own Post Office Box number to the top of each petition.
Malz says Iocovozzi had a conversation with election officials, "She talked to the commissioner, commissioner said, why don't you put your P.O. Box on there was well, that's what we have on file for mailing, so Mary handwrote in the P.O. Box."
Meanwhile one of Iocovozzi's petitioners brought a case against Carpenter for allegedly illegally garnering petitions to get on the Conservative and Independence lines.
But both sides dropped their cases against each other on Monday, so the more than two dozen people in court who were ready to testify, never had to.
24 of those people were subpoenaed by Carpenter.
All 24 were petitioners who helped Iocovozzi by going door to door to get signatures to get her on the ballot.
Barbara Boucher of Herkimer is one of those Iocovozzi petitioners, who says she was harassed when someone served her her subpoena, "I have been served several subpoenas in the past and I have never had that experience in my life, I felt intimidated."
Boucher and others claim the man hired by Carpenter's attorney to deliver the subpoenas harassed them.
Patricia Christensen of Herkimer is another petitioner subpoenaed.
Chistensen says she wasn't home when the process server came to her home, but her 18 year old son was, "My son thought he was a Sheriff. He insisted that my son give him my place of employment, my cell phone number where I was, what time I would be home and my son was petrified."
The man hired by Carpenter's attorney is Walter Beverly, owner of Mohawk Valley Process Services.
We did get a statement from Walter Beverly Monday afternoon regarding the petitioners claims of harassment.
He said, "They're outright liars. There was no harassment, no threats, no nothing. I have to remain neutral to both sides, and I did."
Regarding Beverly, Carpenter said, "I hope the process server did not engage in any unethical or illegal behavior. I doubt he did and I haven't heard that."
Iocovozzi says this method of serving a subpoena is uncalled for and believes Carpenter is responsible for the actions of someone his attorney hires, "He's responsible for the way this man has served these people, and it's just not good. Generally speaking, process servers just hand it to people and leave, and that's how it should have been done, not harassing people, particularly the older folks."
Iocovozzi believes this is a form of political bullying by Carpenter, "I am absolutely appalled that politics in Herkimer County has risen to a new low."
To that, Carpenter says "I can assure you that there was no political bullying going on. I commenced an action in Supreme Court ,as did she against me, or her designate, that's the process."
Carpenter added, "I am happy that the voters of Herkimer County will be able to choose the next District Attorney of Herkimer County. I'm confident in my abilities as both a prosecutor and as a candidate, and she did admit on today's date that she added that information. I ask the voters to consider that when they deliberate on who they want to be the next district attorney, someone who will change documents after they are signed and witnessed?"
Iocovozzi says she too is looking forward to running her campaign over these the next three months.