County Appraiser Kristina Kulpa Claims Hundreds Of Illegal Votes Cast
LABELLE, FL. -- Hendry County Property Appraiser Kristina A. Kulpa has filed suit with the Circuit Court, demanding a new election. Kulpa lost the election to Phillip Pelletier in the November 4 general election by 5 votes, and again on a recount by five votes. The election results were certified by Supervisor of Elections Lucretia Strickland on November 14, after the recount.
Kulpa, through her Boca Raton, Florida law firm Hodgson Russ L.L.P. filed a lawsuit at 9:11 a.m. Monday morning, the last day under state law to file. Kulpa, a Republican, claims "improper assistance to dozens of voters at the Clewiston Supervisor of Elections early voting station which illegally influenced the voters' choice for candidates."
She also claims that convicted felons may have voted in the election, and that poll workers failed to require "dozens of voters" to sign an affidavit or cast provisional votes when their information did not match info on the election office master file. Kulpa claims that "potentially hundreds of illegal votes were cast."
Kulpa filed the lawsuit against The Hendry County Canvassing Board, Lucretia Strickland, and Phillip Pelletier. Hendry county Judge Jim Sloan is the chairman of the three member Canvassing Board. She has demanded a trial by jury and a court order that the "election be set aside" and a new election be held, and demands court costs be awarded to her.
The law firm Hodgson Russ L.L.P. ,a large firm with over 200 attorneys in eight offices from Toronto, Canada to Palm Beach County ran into some difficulty this year and agreed to pay $50,000 to the New York Attorney General's Office in response to a statewide investigation over it's improper employment arrangements with school districts and various Boards of Cooperative Educational Services.
An investigation found Hodgson Russ classified it's lawyers for the schools as employees, instead of independent contractors, so that they could be eligible for state pension funds. Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said "This is chronic widespread corruption and fraud," and "It's death by a thousand cuts and in the end taxpayers bleed millions of dollars." The firm without admitting any wrongdoing ceased the practice and paid the settlement amount.