Thursday, June 24, 2010

Two Ald. Berny Stone Political Workers Guilty Of Ballot Tampering

June 24, 2010 - Chicago - Two former 50th Ward campaign workers were found guilty of "multiple Class A misdemeanor counts of attempted mutilation of voting materials and attempted absentee ballot violations" today. The charges came from violations committed during the the hotly contested 2007 aldermanic race between Stone, Greg Brewer, Naisy Dolar and Salman Aftab in West Ridge/East Rogers Park.

"A Cook County judge handed down guilty verdicts in the bench trial of two political workers for Ald. Berny Stone on charges that they had allegedly tampered with absentee ballots stemming from the 2007 aldermanic race in the 50th Ward," reports Lake Effect News (LEN) this afternoon.

On November 9, 2009 Chicago Breaking News reported that "Prosecutors said Anish Eapen, a precinct captain for Ald. Bernard Stone, 50th, and the ward's Streets and Sanitation superintendent, flashed his work badge and made it clear to voters that they could benefit if they chose his candidate."

According to LEN, "Anish Eapen, the former ward Streets and Sanitation superintendent, and Armando Ramos, a paid campaign worker for Stone’s political campaign committee, were both found guilty of multiple Class A misdemeanor counts of attempted mutilation of voting materials and attempted absentee ballot violations, " and "Both men were facing more serious felony charges that they had engineered absentee ballots of mostly immigrant voters in the 50th Ward favoring Stone. Stone was not charged with any wrongdoing. Eapen and Ramos face up to one year of jail time, two years of probation, fines or a combination of all three." More at Lake Effect News...

An earlier report by LEN said that Salman Aftab (photo) triggered the 50th Ward vote fraud investigation that led to today's verdicts against Eapen and Ramos. Aftab waged a very bitter campaign against Stone, which included personal attacks. Aftab lost in the February 27 general election, but on March 27, 2007 he gleefully announced his support for Alderman Stone in the pending April 17 run-off against Naisy Dolar. Aftab, who took only 5.2% of the ward's vote in February, said, "My community insisted that I endorse Ald. Stone and I'm doing what my community says," Aftab said. By "my community," Aftab was referring to the large Indian and Pakistani community of West Ridge. (Source: Chicago Tribune/Clout Street)

Stone won the April 2007 aldermanic run-off election with 52.93% 5,965 votes (52.93%). Challenger Naisy Dolar received 5,304 votes (47.07%). Source: AlderTrack

Aftab triggering that vote fraud investigation against two of Stone's political workers. Although it's a good thing that fraud was brought to the attention of the authorities.

Aftab was an early supporter of Barack Obama and of Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL9). He was an acquaintance of Salman Ibrahim, former head of Sunrise Equities, the Chicago sharia finance company that defrauded many dozens of investors in 2008. (There is no reason to believe that Aftab was connected in any way to the Sunrise Equities scandal.) Sunrise Equities gave Obama office space for his 2004 U.S. Senate campaign. There was a private ribbon cutting ceremony for that office space, and you can see Aftab in the photos of that event. Alderman Berny Stone was also present at the ceremony. You can see the photos here and here.

Naisy calls Berny out for his "Friends in low places" Dolar campaign video
Jan Schakowsky endorses Naisy Dolar on 4.4.07 Dolar campaign video
Obama Connected To Sunrise Equities Scandal, Part One" CNB
Obama's Connections to Sunrise Equities, Part Two CNB