Battleground Bayonne: Smith campaign accuses Davis worker of voter fraud in alleged nail salon incident

BAYONNE – The re-election campaign of Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith is accusing a campaign worker for runoff rival candidate, police Capt. Jimmy Davis, of having recently committed voter fraud. 

A copy of a signed and notarized witness statement provided to PolitickerNJ.com by the Smith campaign outlines the alleged incident. 

“On Monday, May 19, 2014 I was getting a pedicure at Aphrodite Nails, a newly opened nail salon at 444 Broadway on the corner of 21st St.,” the letter, written by reported witness Patricia Kraszyk, reads. 

“As I was sitting in the chair, a woman wearing a Davis for Mayor campaign shirt came into the salon and handed the owner a slip of paper.  She said, “here  you go, you are all set.”  The owner, whom I know as Sarah Moon replied, but I couldn’t hear what she said.  The campaign worker responded, “No, that’s all you need. You can vote.” and left the salon.

“Before I left, I spoke with Sarah and asked if she was registered.  She said yes, that the Davis people came in and handled everything for her. I then asked if she lived in Bayonne and she said no.  I told her that she couldn’t vote in the election unless she lived in Bayonne, but she said that the Davis worker told her it didn’t matter.  They said she could use the business address to register. I told her that was illegal and that they can’t do that.

“It’s important to note that there is no language barrier with Sarah Moon. I believe she is Korean, but speaks perfect English and Spanish. She was articulate in her explanation of the facts to me.”

A forwarded email written on June 2 by Donna DeSomma, a secretary at the Hudson County Superintendent of Elections Office, to William Northgrave, a Smith campaign attorney, confirms that the county elections office investigated the registration of Moon.  

“[Moon] informed our investigator that she did in fact register from her place of business but did so not knowing that it is illegal.  She also stated that she is a resident of Fort Lee,” the email reads. 

“Since the books have already been printed we have placed a sticker on her signature line advising that Ms. Moon must show proof of residence should she attempt to vote on June 10th.  We have also removed her from our files as “out of county”,” the email concludes. 

John Brzozowski, the acting Hudson County Superintendent of Elections, is CCd on the email. 

“One illegal voter has already been stricken from the voter list after an investigation by the Hudson County Superintendent of Elections,” said state Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell (D-31), Smith’s campaign manager. “Several other registrations submitted by the Davis campaign also appear to be fraudulent, making it clear that this is a deliberate and coordinated criminal action to defraud the people of Bayonne. These other registrations also involve commercial addresses where no person lives.”  

According to the Smith campaign, Hudson County election officials are continuing to investigate and other appropriate law enforcement agencies are being notified.

Smith is battling to beat back a surging Davis following the May 13 Bayonne municipal elections which left Smith barely ahead of Davis by a 49 percent to 47 percent margin and precipitated the June 10 runoff, just five days away. 

“I’m never surprised when an allegation is made by Smith’s campaign that just responds to a allegation instead of addressing the actual allegation,” Davis campaign manager Joe DeMarco told PolitickerNJ.com. “They just return a similar allegation back, whether it’s fabricated or what have you.”

The allegation DeMarco refers to is a recording, recently released publicly, which allegedly documents Leo Smith Jr., a Bayonne fireman, discussing how to obtain absentee ballots and then forge signatures on the ballots with another city firefighter. The Davis campaign claims that it is Smith Jr.’s voice on the recording. 

Leo Smith Jr. is the son of Leo Smith, Bayonne’s Board of Education business administrator, and is the nephew of Mayor Mark Smith. 

“We have live people, talking about live things,” DeMarco said. “You have somebody from somebody else who said this is what Ms. Moon told them. Counter to that, you have Leo Smith saying it himself. I think in the court of public opinion, theirs is bullsh*t and mine isn’t.” 

Battleground Bayonne: Smith campaign accuses Davis worker of voter fraud in alleged nail salon incident