Frank Sparaco spoke with the Rockland County Times last night regarding his arrest on felony filing a false instrument, felony possession of a forged instrument and misdemeanor misconduct charges.
According to Sparaco the felony charges relate to two persons nominated as committeemen whose work addresses were listed as their official voting addresses on petition sheets for GOP committeemen vacancies. The individuals were initially nominated for the committee listed as residents at the business addresses but Sparaco had them sign official certificates of declination soon after when he was alerted to their improper status. Sparaco said he believed the reason for 19 counts was that the petitions in question had that many pages of signatures.
Sparaco said he was not clear on the law regarding electoral addresses and noted he did not personally gather signatures for the petitions with wrong addresses. “These were not even petitions I carried. I simply handed them in. A homeless man [could have] submitted the petitions to the Board of Elections. Would that mean he was guilty of possessing and filing a false instrument,” Sparaco questioned, his point apparently being that the law does not require designating petitions to be submitted by anyone in particular.
Sparaco expressed shock and frustration that prosecutors would press charges and “ruin his life” over the case. He described the petition process to another media outlet as “archaic” and difficult to understand.
Sparaco has, in fact, complained about New York’s petition process since the beginning of his political career, claiming it protects incumbents and entrenched powers.
The misdemeanor charges against the two-term Valley Cottage legislator pertain to Spraco’s registering two cousins to vote who recently supposedly took up part time residence at his home. One cousin also ran for GOP Committee at Sparaco’s request.
Prosecutors allege the cousins do not live at the Sparaco home and it was all an arrangement to aid in Sparaco’s failed effort to win control of the Clarkstown GOP Committee. Sparaco said the cousins, who are laborers working on the Tappan Zee Bridge, do sleep frequently at his house and have always lived with family members. He said he had received a legal opinion that it was perfectly legal to enroll the cousins to vote in Clarkstown so long as they do not vote anywhere else.
New York election law offers dual residents the opportunity to vote at either address, but apparently the DA found something amiss in the Sparaco arrangement. The Rockland County Times issued a report on the matter in August and opined that it appeared Sparaco was following what was allowed within the law, even though it was unusual for him to nominate his own part-time resident cousin to a seat on the Committee.
The Rockland County Times will speak to the Rockland DA to hear their view on why the matter justified criminal charges as soon as possible.