Kristina Kulpa Gets Ready For Trial To Get Her Job Back
LABELLE, FL. -- Former Hendry County Property Appraiser Kristina A. Kulpa showed up at the Courthouse in LaBelle this morning for three motions presented to Circuit Judge Christine Greider in her case against Supervisor of Elections head Lucretia Strickland.
Kulpa lost last year's election for Hendry Property Appraiser to Phillip Pelletier, and wants the court to overturn the election, claiming various irregularities surrounded the voting at the Clewiston polling place last November.
Judge Christine Greider denied a motion by Hendry County Attorney Mark Lapp on behalf of the Hendry County Canvassing Board for a Summary Final Judgement to remove the Board from the case. Although there seems to be no claims of fault against the Board in the law suit, Greider pointed out that Florida Statutes say the Board is an indispensable party to suits regarding elections, and so must remain part of the process.
Kulpa's attorney George L. Zinkler, making an appearance by telephone from Boca Raton, was denied his motion to compel Hendry Elections Supervisor Lucretia Strickland to produce voter information including voter oaths of affirmation, voter assistance forms, and voter registration forms. The Judge said Kulpa can go to Strickland's office to view them in Strickland's presence.
Strickland is being represented by local attorney James O. Luckey, at Hendry taxpayer expense because she is an elected official working for the county. The legal bill so far total $77,609.77 and will rise much higher after bills come in from the numerous witness depositions heard this month and a two-day trial next month.
Kulpa today was granted permission by the court to access absentee ballot envelopes, see the signatures on them and examine the signatures on file with the Supervisor of Elections office, but was not given court permission to make copies of anything.
Kulpa's attorney wants to determine the authenticity of the signatures of some absentee ballot envelope, claiming Kulpa has reason to believe some of the absentee ballots may have not been signed by the voter, but by a third party.
Judge Greider admonished the attorneys: ''This case needs to be moved along, folks,'' pointing out these last minute motions being heard today. The case was filed by Kulpa after last year's elections and the depositions have just finished this week, in preparation for a September 21st and 22nd non-jury trial.