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Candidate for Staten Island DA says opponent collected fraud campaign signatures

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STATEN ISLAND– Joan Illuzzi is running as a Republican for Staten Island District Attorney. Mike McMahon is running as a Democrat and Independent for the same office. Both submitted approximately 4,000 signed petitions to have their names listed on the ballot, but Illuzzi’s campaign has questioned the accuracy of several of the signatures submitted by McMahon’s camp.

“You have in black and white, forged signatures,” said Nick Iacono, Illuzzi’s campaign manager.

Quentin Smith is one of the people whose name was forged, he’s a former Assistant District Attorney on Staten Island who moved to Ohio in 2012 and is not eligible to vote in New York. Smith told PIX 11 News by phone from Cleveland, “I certainly did not sign the petition for Michael McMahon.”

James Frazier also told PIX 11 he did not sign a petition for McMahon, despite signatures submitted for both he and his wife.

One woman who allegedly signed a petition was Gladys Smith, but Smith died in 2011.

McMahon’s campaign manager Ashleigh Owens released a statement to PIX 11 Tuesday that read in part, “Mike and our campaign unfortunately appear to have been victimized by a small group of individuals from Red Horse Strategies.”

Red Horse Strategies is a firm of political consultants. They were hired to collect petition signatures, Red Horse tells PIX 11 three employees have been fired over the forgeries.

Matt Rey, a partner at Red Horse Strategies stressed, “The reality is, Ms. Illuzi-Osborn is attempting to make a mountain out of a molehill in a desperate attempt to distract voters from the real issues of this campaign."

Staten Island Acting District Attorney Daniel Master requested a special prosecutor look further into the allegations.

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