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Sep 12, 2012 9:38 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Tuckahoe Finds Voting Irregularities, Re-Piping Project Put Off

Sep 12, 2012 10:01 AM

A dozen people may have committed voter fraud during Tuckahoe’s first budget vote and election on May 15, according to former School Board member Susan Riccardi. The vote resulted in a failed budget and a seat change on the board.

Ms. Riccardi, who was a poll worker for the district this year, said that three people who voted in the Tuckahoe School District also voted in a neighboring school district the same day and eight or nine people who voted do not even live in Tuckahoe.

“Our elections have been so close as far as the budget goes,” Ms. Riccardi said this week. “They have no business playing with our taxes and our education.”

When school district officials received the information from Ms. Riccardi, they immediately contacted the Suffolk County Board of Elections, the Southampton Town Police, and finally New York State Department of Education Commissioner Dr. John King, Jr. School Superintendent Chris Dyer said that he was waiting to hear back from the commissioner on what needs to be done.

“We are doing our due diligence in pursuing these irregularities,” he said. “It’s up to the municipal authorities to decide whether it is a fraud. It’s not for us to say.”

Ms. Riccardi, who served on the school board from 2007 to 
2010, said that the voter irregularities could have cost former school board member Sharon Grindle her position on the board.

“It could have changed the seating,” she said. “There were years when a few votes mattered more than anything.”

During this spring’s election, Ms. Grindle lost her seat to current board member Harald Steudte by eight votes and the budget failed by 47 votes.

Concerned when she recognized people voting at the first budget vote and election in May who she said do not live in the district, Ms. Riccardi said she filed Freedom of Information Law requests for voter rolls 
from the Tuckahoe, Southampton and Hampton Bays school districts.

She and a friend, who she’d identify only as Jill, reviewed the lists of who was eligible to vote in the districts and who actually voted and found that some of them used P.O. boxes for their addresses and illegible signatures.

She said she reported the irregularities to the Tuckahoe School District and the second vote on June 19, which passed by 34 votes, went without any irregularities.

“Both tables were very diligent in how the second vote went,” she said, noting that poll workers cross-checked everyone who came in to vote that day with the voter rolls.

At the Tuckahoe Common School District, registration is not required and voters are asked to present their name and address, as well as an ID.

Mr. Riccardi said that voting irregularities could have been taking place all along.

“For all we know its been happening for years and nobody’s ever questioned anyone before,” she said.

Re-piping Put Off

A re-piping project that the board put before voters this year may not happen as soon as district officials had hoped.

In June, voters approved a proposition to spend $435,000 from a capital reserve fund established in 2007 for a re-piping project that was recommended by Johnson Controls Inc. and Savin Engineers to replace corroded steam pipes. After getting the green light from taxpayers to spend the money, district officials began planning the project. According to the district’s business official, Keri Loughlin, the board wanted a second opinion about the cost and scope of the project since the newest board member, Harald Steudte, had not been involved in the process.

The district contracted Chaleff & Rogers Architects, a firm that has worked with the school in the past, to do a study of the building. The study suggests installing a new HVAC system instead of just the steam pipes, which would save the school money in the long term.

At this point, there is no hard date on when the school will replace the pipes, but officials have said they are working to find a solution.

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Instead of using old school metal pipe to redo the school steam piping they should also look into redoing the steam pipe using commercial grade pex with approved adapters. This will save some big money as well in labor and material. It is approved for use in commercial and steam piping. But I do not know what the existing boiler specs are. They should look into it.
By Common Scense (24), Southampton on Sep 12, 12 3:19 PM
Photo ID to vote, how hard is that??!!
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Sep 12, 12 5:41 PM
You don't even have to be registered to vote in school board elections and, of course, you chime in with your usual teabaggery.
By progressnow (556), sag harbor on Sep 12, 12 10:00 PM
1 member liked this comment
Sadly, this will be a non-story as the Board of Elections and the New York State Department of Education will, as they have in the past, do nothing.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Sep 12, 12 6:17 PM
The person making the claims, Sue Riccardi, is an ex board member with a chip on her shoulder the size of Long Island. Her time on the board was the most disastrous the school has ever known.
By progressnow (556), sag harbor on Sep 12, 12 9:59 PM
1 member liked this comment

Instead of addressing this credible charge with some factual information, as usual, you come up with a personal attack unrelated to the potential fraud. This charge was based on documented FOILED municipal information State Dept of Education.

By Obbservant (449), southampton on Sep 13, 12 1:41 PM
1 member liked this comment
Another lunatic Riccardi supporter peed off because Grindle lost the election. Using capital letters does not make your post more credible, observant! PTO posse to the rescue!
By witch hazel (224), tatooine on Sep 13, 12 3:20 PM

So support your rescue with facts, instead of a clueless Tuckahoe mom brainless wacko idiocy.
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Sep 13, 12 4:19 PM
YOu hit that nail on the head. A formal complaint was made to the Board of Elections regarding the biased bullying (by a know it all voting worker)in the voting arena. Now the NY state commissioner will get a copy of the complaint and other specifics relating to the second vote. It is believed that there was voter fraud committed and promoted by the very same who are making claims about fraud in the first vote. Hopefully, that Pediatrician who was allowed to vote after she said she was a "YES" ...more
By furpel (6), southampton on Sep 13, 12 5:23 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By hamptons2009 (12), westhampton on Sep 13, 12 10:07 PM
Lets make one thing very clear here! some people have an agenda! Other people like Sue don't have a chip on their shoulder but actually "OWN" a home in the district! "PAY TAXES" and are concerned about where their tax dollars are going. If someone voted in more than one school disctrict - there is a problem. If someone who REALLY cares about the district lost their position on the board because of voter Fraud Shame on ALL of Them. All these people and YOU NOW WHO YOU ARE!! who have nothing better ...more
By mychildmatters (70), SOUTHAMPTON on Sep 13, 12 9:03 AM