From NY Daily News: EXCLUSIVE: Derek Jeter’s signature shows up on Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo’s petitions
Yankee great does not, in fact, live on Lafayette Ave. in Hunts Point. But he, a Giant defensive end and a top sportscaster allegedly signed her ballot forms.
BY DENIS SLATTERY / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Signatures from Maria del Carmen Arroyo’s petitions include many apparent forgeries, including “Derek Jeter Jr.”
Future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter, New York Giant defensive tackle Rocky Bernard and top sportscaster Joe Buck all live at a rundown, six-floor walkup at Lafayette Ave. in the South Bronx.
That is, if you believe petition signatures submitted by ethically challenged City Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo.
Arroyo’s team gathered 3,863 signatures — far more than the 450 she needs to make the ballot for her re-election bid — but her challenger is disputing 3,437 of the signatures.
And two pages in particular are Exhibit A and B in the challenge.
One page is filled with signatures that appear to be forgeries, including those of Jeter, Bernard, and Buck — though it is unclear if the Buck signature is meant to be the sportscaster or the fictional character at the center of iconic New York film, “Midnight Cowboy.”
Another page of signatures collected by a different campaign staffer features identical handwriting on every line.
Residents of the Hunts Point think the petitions are blatant forgeries.
“I’ve never seen Jeter here,” said resident Juanita Velasquez. “Only on my wall.”
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This is actually Jeter’s signature.
The 46-year-old independent voter was appalled that Arroyo would allow the apparently bogus names be submitted.
“It’s outrageous,” Velazquez said.
The volunteers that flagged the names work for Julio Pabon, the upstart candidate hoping to unseat Arroyo.
If all the flagged signatures are tossed, Arroyo will fail to make the ballot by about 25 ballots, a nearly unpredecented development since the number of required signatures was decreased in 2010.
Pabon and Arroyo are running to represent the 17th District, covering parts of Hunts Point, Morrisania, and Highbridge. Pabon said the allegedly faulty autographs show a contempt for the system.
“It’s almost like they are playing with a marked deck and that is not fair,” Pabon said. “If she had been doing her job, responding to the needs of the community, there would be no need to have Derek Jeter or Tom Jones on these forms.”
Betty Julien, the paid witness who collected Jeter’s script, says she never met the star, or entered the Lafayette Ave. building. But she defended the signature on the petition.
“We stand on the street and ask people if they can vote,” Julien said of the collection process. “We write down the address of the building they came out of and ask them to sign.”
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BRYAN SMITH FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Maria del Carmen Arroyo (right) is greeted by Council Member Diana Reyna.
Julien was paid $640 to collect signatures for Arroyo over four days last month, city records show.
“It must have been people joking around,” she said of the names.
Perhaps, but someone apparently added the suffix “Jr.” to the Derek Jeter “signature,” perhaps realizing the star’s name would draw attention. Jeter does not, in fact, have a son.
Arroyo denied blame, saying she never personally checks her petitions, leaving it up to campaign staffers. But even she was surprised that the Yankee captain is on her team.
“Come on, that doesn’t say Derek Jeter. Really? Really?” Arroyo asked when confronted about the names.
The eight-year incumbent is countering the claims by challenging the 2,500 signatures Pabon collected.
“It’s part of the process,” Arroyo said.
The Board of Elections will rule on the signatures as soon as next week.
The ballot controversy is just the latest ethical charge against Arroyo. Both she and her mom, Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo have long been accused of nefarious dealings in the past, including funneling money to family-run nonprofits. And Arroyo’s nephew was convicted of embezzling $115,000 from a nonprofit founded by the assemblywoman.