SARATOGA SPRINGS — Another allegation of a forged nomination petition from November’s city election has emerged — this time against the mayor.
A signature from Mayor Ron Kim’s successful bid for office was called into question this week by Michael Brandi, the new chairman of the Saratoga Springs Republican Committee.
Brandi hand-delivered a memo to the Saratoga Springs Police Department making the allegation against Kim, a Democrat in office less than two months.
It said Kim, on May 23, 2021, “executed a certification certifying under penalty of perjury that certain signatures on a petition” had been made by the purported signatories in his presence.
The complaint said a pair of signatures for two different people with the last name Cooley appeared to be very “similar and potentially were made by the same person.”
One of the previous complaints in Saratoga Springs resulted in a state police charge against Samantha Guerra, a Republican who ran unsuccessfully for commissioner of accounts. Her opponent, eventual winner Dillon Moran, made the allegation last year.
Another GOP candidate, Tracy LaBelle was also recently accused by Saratoga Springs Democratic Chairwoman Pat Tuz of submitting forged nomination petition signatures. Tuz filed the complaint with city police, which referred it to the state police in November.
LaBelle hasn’t been charged. State police spokesman Kerra Burns acknowledged receipt of the complaint, but offered no additional information.
Kim said he wasn’t aware of Brandi’s allegation until a reporter called him about it.
“I don’t have any personal knowledge of this police report and I don’t even understand it — but I will deal with that,” he said.
Public Safety Commissioner James Montagnino said he will make a decision by Monday on how to approach Brandi’s complaint.
Montagnino said Brandi’s submission presented an ethical dilemma, since Kim is the mayor and a fellow city council member.
“It might be something where it will have to be sent out to a different agency for them to choose whatever they choose to do, just to avoid any appearance of impropriety in us handling it in house, so to speak,” the commissioner said.
Asked why the complaint against Kim was coming as he enters his third month in office, Brandi cited the “precedent that’s been created by Tuz.”
“If they’re going through ours with a fine-tooth comb, let’s make sure they’re standing up to the same burden that they’re holding our candidates to,” Brandi said. “Lo and behold there’s one from Ron that is highly suspect, in my opinion.”
Brandi added in a statement: “The complaint against Mayor Kim’s conduct in obtaining signatures during his campaign last year is based on fact, and the facts speak for themselves. I trust the authorities to investigate the various complaints against Mayor Kim and to proceed in accordance with the law.”
Contact reporter Brian Lee at [email protected] or 518-419-9766.