Former councilman Alex Mendez allegedly had workers handle bundles of vote-by-mail ballots in the 3rd Ward election, according to a new court filing by councilman William McKoy’s attorney.
Mendez’s team allegedly hired a campaign worker, Yahaira “YaYa” Mendez, to “act as a messenger for the purpose of carrying bundles of ballots.”
“Mendez stated that she carried numerous stacks of ballots over the course of six hours, with each bundle the width of an outstretched hand and carrying two at a time,” states the court filing made on Monday.
A person must sign as a bearer to deliver or transport mail-in ballots. A person is allowed to serve as bearer for no more than three ballots.
Mendez worked for the campaign on May 4 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Mendez is not related to candidate Mendez. She allegedly “messengered” these ballots with another person, whose name she could not provide to a private investigator. Her name does not appear as a bearer on any ballots received by the Passaic County Board of Elections, according to court filings.
A previous McKoy court filing stated the campaign worker “confessed” to handling mail-in ballots for the Mendez campaign. She was allegedly hired by candidate Mendez’s lieutenant Omar Ledesma.
Ledesma denied Mendez was hired to handle stacks of ballots. He said he hired as many as eight people for the campaign to handle literature drops and hand out flyers.
“Only thing they did was put up posters and flyers,” said Ledesma. He said the woman is from Passaic City and she lacks credibility. He said she worked for the campaign for 2-3 days.
The campaign worker was paid an “indeterminate” amount of cash for her services, says the filing.
“Obviously, this raises a seemingly endless stream of questions, chief among them how and why Respondent’s campaign had multiple stacks of ballots to be carried at all: where did these ballots come from and where were they going? Ms. Mendez was simply too low on the totem pole to know, and we suspect nobody will ever fully know given the Fifth Amendment rights implicated in answering such questions,” reads the court filing. “Notwithstanding, what remains abundantly clear is that this was not just one rogue operative, but an organized and concerted effort to steal the election by fraudulently manufacturing ballots cast for Respondent.”
The councilman-elect’s attorney Gregg Paster filed a response to the latest accusations late Monday afternoon.
“Mendez campaign categorically denies all the criminal and civil charges that anything improper was done by or on behalf of the campaign,” Paster’s court filing states. “For all any of us know, Yahaira Mendez is an agent of the McKoy campaign.”
McKoy is seeking to invalidate the results of the 3rd Ward election. He is also seeking to stop councilman-elect Mendez, who has been charged with voter fraud and election fraud, from assuming office on July 1.
Mendez has denied the charges against him. He has publicly said he is looking forward to being sworn in.
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Updated June 30 at 9 a.m.