Mayoralty Recount Heads to Court

By Sue Ellen Woodcock

Mayor Dan Rizzo filed a complaint in Suffolk Superior Court last Friday, suing the city’s Election Commission, claiming that the recount petition submitted to the Election Commission is in compliance with the law. The suit states that the petition should be allowed and a recount should be ordered. A hearing has been scheduled for Thursday, December 17 in Suffolk Superior Court.

The complaint contends that the Election Commission – including Election Commissioner Diane Colella and Board of Election Commissioners John V. Cammarata, Robert Scrima and Elizabeth Dixon –  refused to take action on the recount petition and “in fact is unable to render a fair and impartial decision based on its actions and violation of the Open Meeting Law with regards to the recount petition. Rizzo’s attorney has filed an open meeting law complaint form with the office of the state attorney general. The suit suggests the City of Revere and Election Commission should take an Open Meeting Law training.

Mayor-elect Brian Arrigo has also been named as a person of interest. Revere Police Capt. James Guido, an Arrigo supporter, is also mentioned in the court documents regarding a conversation he had with Colella in her office just before the Nov. 23 meeting of the Election Commission.. An email from Paul Rizzo asks Colella why a “police captain has been in your office for the last 30 minutes.”

Judge Heidi E. Brieger will conduct the hearing for the declaratory judgment at 2 p.m. in Suffolk Superior Court. The city is being represented by the City Solicitor’s office.

The city election took place on Nov. 3 with the incumbent Mayor Rizzo garnering 5,091 votes and Arrigo receiving 5,209 vote – a difference of 118 votes.

The suit contends that the recount petition was lawfully submitted and on time. Rizzo, who is being represented by attorney Sharna Favuza, of DeMoura/Smith in Boston, alleges that “ballots were unlawfully cast and recorded, unqualified persons were allowed to vote and have their ballots registered.” The suit adds that he was out of the country and therefore could not give his original signature. He delegated his brother Paul Rizzo to sign the petitions under power of attorney that he signed electronically.

The alleged Open Meeting violation comes from how the meeting for Nov. 23 was posted. This is the day the commission met in council chambers to acknowledge the petitions and determine the appropriate course of action. The suit claims the notice was not properly date and time stamped. There is also a claim that the Election Commission deliberated privately about the petition. At the end of the Nov. 23 meeting no action was taken by the commission. Because of the this the petition was essentially denied.

At a tree lighting Sunday night Arrigo said that “hopefully we’ll get this done.” He added that the Secretary of State will be overseeing the case.

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