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Student Government Association rejects four candidate nominations

As University of Massachusetts students vote this week to elect their peers to the Student Government Association, four people will not find their names on the ballot this semester. The nomination forms of four students – Jon Menzin, Sarah Schultz, Andrew Dawson and Brad DeFlumeri – were ultimately rejected by the SGA election commission. Each can still reach office through a write-in campaign.

According to SGA guidelines, a candidate’s nomination can be rejected by the election commission for two reasons: If more than half of the signatures and student information has errors or omissions within, or if the nomination is suspected of being forged. While the nominations of Menzin, Schultz and Dawson were rejected due to errors and omissions, the only candidate to be rejected due to suspected forgery was DeFlumeri.

The SGA guidelines for reviewing signatures state that “50 percent of a candidate’s required nominations be ‘valid,’” which means that half the form has to be completely filled in. In the cases of Menzin, Schultz and Dawson, their nominations lacked essential information such as phone numbers and addresses, leading to the rejection of their forms.

“All nominations were placed on the table at once, and if two members of the elections commission agreed that the forms were complete, the completed ones went in one pile,” said SGA Chancellor of Elections Chris Faulkner. “We used People Finder on the UMass website to confirm students’ identities. If the student on the nomination could not be found online, we would call the listed number to get confirmation. It would have been logistically impossible to check every student on every candidate’s nomination, but we did everything according to our pre-determined evaluation standards.”

After both members of the SGA election commission reviewing DeFlumeri’s nomination to be a Sylvan senator agreed that the form appeared forged, a larger investigation was opened. According to the SGA election guidelines, “if multiple nominations appear to have the same handwriting, the elections commission reserves the right to investigate the nominations further to confirm or deny their validity.”

“We had to get in contact with a lot of people [on the nomination],” said Faulkner. “Our procedure was that, after calling the listed phone number, we would ask ‘Did you vote for this person?’ If they said ‘yes,’ we would check them off.”

To be nominated as an SGA senator, a candidate needs only 13 signatures. Some 26 of the 30 signatures received on DeFlumeri’s nomination were ultimately deemed suspicious by the election commission due to handwriting similarities, and when a record any of the students’ existence could not be found by calling their numbers or searching for them on People Finder, commission members contacted the Registrar’s office, which confirmed that many of the individuals on the form were not currently enrolled at UMass. The elections commission at the same time obtained floor plans for the Sylvan Residence Halls, which showed that two of the addresses on DeFlumeri’s nomination did not exist. Another signature listed the Brown Residence Hall cluster office as an address.

The Massachusetts Daily Collegian was able to obtain a copy of DeFlumeri’s nomination, and an independent analysis of the phone numbers listed with the signatures found 19 numbers that are out of service and do not exist, as well as five numbers that belong to people who were not the individual who signed the nomination (including one number belonging to a Toronto resident). A telephone hotline for Children’s Hospital also found its way on to the nomination form.

UMass student Nicole Sobel’s signature was one of the many on DeFlumeri’s nomination, but when the Collegian contacted the number listed next to the signature, it was out of service. After we reached her for comment, Sobel confirmed that she has never met DeFlumeri in person, and did not nominate him to the SGA. She also confirmed that she lives in an apartment off of campus and does not live in 206F McNamara as the nomination contends.

“I authorized somebody to collect signatures on my behalf,” said DeFlumeri in an interview. When asked about the identity of the individual who collected the signatures, DeFlumeri responded that he would “not disclose that information.”

“I did not check the names [before turning them in to the SGA],” continued DeFlumeri. “I take the blame for not going around myself, but I didn’t have the time.”

According to DeFlumeri, the rejection of his nomination signatures is due to ideological and personal differences between himself and the SGA. “I think the fact that I’ve criticized the SGA harshly in my newspaper The Minuteman has contributed to their response to my nomination,” said DeFlumeri. “If there was no person on the elections committee with an agenda, I would be surprised. I don’t understand why someone would even run for the SGA if they don’t have an agenda.”

Faulkner maintains, however, that the SGA elections commission is only doing its job by policing forgery in its nomination process.

“[DeFlumeri] has been trying to make the argument that we have selected him for special investigation due to his past history with our organization,” said Faulkner. “He has also tried to connect our denial of his nomination to his work at The Minuteman [newspaper]. This is not true in the least. We followed guidelines that have existed for a while now.”

Nick Bush can be reached at nbush@student.umass.edu.

Comments
9 Responses to “Student Government Association rejects four candidate nominations”
  1. Brad DeFlumeri says:

    *Is this the same Nicole Sobel that the paper fired after her plagiarism almost prompted the New York Times to sue you last spring? Now you cite her as an authority on my nomination form?

    Are you sure Sobel’s name was on the form that I passed in to Speaker Montero, because it certainly is not on the copy that Faulkner gave back to me. I urge the paper to either retract and remove this ridiculously misleading article.

  2. Ed Cutting says:

    “We had to get in contact with a lot of people [on the nomination],” said Faulkner. “Our procedure was that, after calling the listed phone number, we would ask ‘Did you vote for this person?’ If they said ‘yes,’ we would check them off.”

    Ummmm…. You do not have to vote for the people whose nomination papers you sign. I *ROUTINELY* sign the nominations of people that I have no intention of ever voting for. I am a “good government” person and the more people you have on the ballot, the better.

    When I ran for the state legislature, there were people signing my nomination form for the sole purpose of being able to vote against me, one telling me that explicitly. His signature still counted. (And in the real world, the non-partisan town clerk has to actually verify EACH name.)

    So if this an accurate quote, we have an even bigger problem here.
    You only can ask if they signed the petition, NOT WHOM THEY VOTED FOR! Besides, what ever happened to the privacy of the ballot?

    To be nominated as an SGA senator, a candidate needs only 13 signatures.

    And does anyone honestly believe that Brad couldn’t get 13 girls who live in the building to sign his nomination form? Decorum precludes me taking this further but he couldn’t charm 13 signatures from the 300 or so female students in the building???

    Something is not adding up here. I don’t quite know what, but *something* is not adding up here….

  3. I will gladly provide a hard copy of Mr. DeFlumeri’s candidacy paperwork for anyone who doubts the veracity of this story.

    I would put up an electronic version, but fear that third parties might take it upon themselves to call and harass the few names and numbers that are real.

  4. Brad DeFlumeri says:

    The “paperwork” that you have is not what I turned into the SGA office a week before you got your hands on it.

  5. I will offer to look at any other copy you may have.

    I’ll also ask that you please stop spamming our Web site with copied and pasted campaign materials.

  6. Derek Khanna says:

    I don’t understand, so you think that there is a massive conspiracy that created a fake set of nomination papers? But I thought you already admitted to it by saying that it was possible because other people got the signatures.

    Who would fake a nomination sheet for you? That’s a lot of work! And as to the Election’s Commission, they vote on a candidate-blind manner, so your claims don’t hold up. So I guess your threats to sue everyone involved haven’t come to fruition, pity.

  7. To clarify:

    “After both members of the SGA election commission reviewing DeFlumeri’s nomination to be a Sylvan senator agreed that the form appeared forged, a larger investigation was opened.”

    The nomination form was reviewed and we were concerned that it had been forged, so we took it upon ourselves to attempt to verify the identities of the individuals on the nomination so that DeFlumeri would be able to be on the ballot. Using peoplefinder (the best resource at the time) we were unable to confirm his nomination form. The following day I recieved a list of undergraduate students from the Registrar’s office. I again attempted to confirm his nomination form by searching on this more complete list. Upon searching, I wondered if he had written down the common room as some students’ residences instead of their own room. I opened up a floor plan to see what the other numbered/lettered rooms in the suites were. That is when I discovered that some of the rooms did not exist and some were rooms that could not be student rooms.

    “we would ask ‘Did you vote for this person?’”

    I do not recall saying “vote”. If I did, it was an accident. I have been very concious with the way that I speak and write about the elections. We did not ask if anyone voted for anyone because as Ed said that would compromise the integrity of someone’s vote. We did ask if the people on the ballot “nominated” this person. I apologize if I misspoke.

    “said DeFlumeri. “If there was no person on the elections committee with an agenda, I would be surprised. I don’t understand why someone would even run for the SGA if they don’t have an agenda.””

    I’d like to be clear and say that the members of the Elections Eommission are appointed to their position, not elected. Additionally, most of the Elections Commission has little to no prior experience with SGA politics, excluding myself. It is done this way intentionally so that SGA politics are not tied up in the election process. As far a my involvement with SGA politics, it is very limited. As former Governor of Southwest and former Presidential candidate, I had a strong desire to work for students on a higher level, but at no point did that involve interacting with the Minuteman newspaper or any of DeFlumeri’s other groups.

    Finally, as SP Sullivan has stated above, nomination forms are public record, but inorder to protect the privacy of the people on the nomination form it will not be posted electronically. If you would like to see a copy of any nomination form, please let me know at electionscommission@stuaf.umass.edu and I will gladly schedule a time for you to see it.

  8. JR says:

    This is hilarious. A friend of mine just motioned for me to come over and read this story. Brad keeps pulling this crap (as he did in the Republican Club). Good riddance. I once considered him a friend and thought he had leadership potential. But you need a certain amount of character to be a leader and he lacks it. Always seeing a conspiracy anywhere (remember how he told MDC that the Navy framed him? Or that the restraining orders against him were a plot?), he doesn’t take responsibility for his own failures.

  9. JR says:

    Derek Khanna said: I don’t understand, so you think that there is a massive conspiracy that created a fake set of nomination papers?

    Actually, Mr. Khanna, that is not what Brad is saying. He is saying three things: 1) His signature subcontractor scammed him by fabricating info, 2) The Powers That Be in the election commission took this info and then created a second questionable signature form and replaced the original, and 3) Regardless of what was turned in and/or replaced, this was all retribution by The Powers That Be.

    Of course, the media was in on it too.

    This is the same strategy used to convince Americans that we landed on the moon, that 9/11 was committed by “terrorists,” and that paper is made from trees. When, SP Sullivan, will the deceptions end? We (and by “we” I mean Brad) are onto you.

    9/29 TRUTH NOW!

    In all seriousness, doesn’t it ever strike Brad as a little weird that he’s always in the news — and not for anything positive? If the trouble that befall him are really all connected, then at least the following are involved: SGA, Derek Khanna, Ed Cutting, UMass College Republicans, UMass College Democrats, Massachusetts College Republicans, former (planted agent?) girlfriends, the District Attorney (a Republican), local judges, Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, the Navy, and the UMass police. Quite a motley crew of conspirators, is it not?

    It’s not his beliefs. It’s his behavior. All the news he has made over the years has featured him as the constant. Brad has a ton of potential. I hate to see him throw it away despite all his chances to wake up.

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