DEVELOPING STORY: Controversy In Delran; Were Nominating Petitions Forged?

Were nominating petitions in Delran forged? Many are wondering.

Were nominating petitions in Delran forged? Many are wondering.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m a lucky guy or if people just like to give me other peoples dirt, like that time the Easter Bunny dropped off documents at my house.

Well, my lucky streak has continued because a source has provided me with documents and audio recordings that call into question whether or not a candidate’s signature was forged on a petition.

It appears the issue here is that former Delran Councilman Mike Schwartz was running for re-election in 2014. Unfortunately, at the time petitions were due to be placed on the primary election ballot Schwartz fell ill, ended up in the hospital and for a time slipped into a coma.

The rumors circulating in Delran are that Council President Gary Catrambone, who also happens to be Chairman of the Delran Democratic Party, went to the hospital to have Mike Schwartz sign petitions and was turned away by Schwartz’s family. The rumors in town are that Catrambone then forged Schwartz’s signature on the petition. Catrambone is also the Notary on the allegedly forged documents.

This is a developing story, so to be clear, I am not alleging anything, just laying out the information as I figure it out. Something that is clear is after listening to about an hour of audio is that folks are concerned a document may have been forged. In the following 2 minutes and 18 seconds of audio one guy can be heard telling the other that he was told that “Gary signed the paper” and that he was told not to follow it “because Mike could get in a lot of trouble.”

And in this clip of the audio files I have received a man can be heard saying someone else said, “I know what you did with Mike Schwartz’s petition.”

 Additionally, as you will see below, there are signatures of Mike Schwarts on the 2010 and 2014 “Oath of Allegiance” and “Certificate of Acceptance.” I am not a handwriting expert, but the signatures do appear to be different Also, based on the documents I have received, in 2010 Schwartz signed the signature sheet as a voter and in 2014, the year of the alleged forgery, he did not sign the signature sheet. After I confirm there are no missing sheets I will redact addresses and provide the signature sheets with a follow-up blog post.

2010 petition 1redacted.jpg
2010 petition 2redacted.jpg
2014 petition 1redacted.jpg
2014 petition 2redacted.jpg

Keep in mind, this is just a portion of the information that I received. There will be more to this story. So, stay tuned!