This week, Dan Donovan's campaign filed its voter petitions at the Board of Elections. He filed signatures for four ballot lines: the Republican, Conservative, Independence and the Reform party.
But one of the pages was not filed by the campaign at all.
It may say Dan Donovan on the top, and it clearly is for the Reform Party, which endorsed the congressman.
But take a closer look. At the bottom, you'll see a name of a Michael Grimm campaign operative, Joe Shikhman. You'll see it was filed moments before midnight Thursday. And this sheet of paper potentially invalidates Donovan's petitions for the Reform Party.
"Why would a Michael Grimm campaign worker be filing a Reform Party petition for Dan Donovan?" said Frank Morano of the Staten Island Reform Party. "They do this in the hopes that it triggers some bizarre arcane technicality to have Donovan thrown off the ballot. It's a deliberate attempt at fraud and it's outrageous."
The Reform Party just filed eight pages of petitions for Donovan with the Board of Elections, considered one volume under the board's guidelines.
The petition filed by the Grimm campaign shortly before the midnight deadline would be defined by the board's rules as a second volume.
The board requires a multi-volume filing to have a cover sheet, which the Donovan campaign didn't file originally.
For those very bureaucratic reasons, Donovan's petitions to get on the ballot could be thrown out, and he could lose the Reform Party line.
"I am going to be asking the Manhattan DA, the Staten island DA, and the US attorney's office in the eastern district to investigate this. This is not funny. This is not trivial. This is fraud. A guy who is a convicted felon is trying to steal an election."
Donovan campaign officials told us they were shocked and disgusted by the Grimm campaign's so-called dirty tricks. They suggested the action could be illegal.
The Grimm campaign sent a statement, which reads, "Dan Donovan’s absurd allegations of illegality once again reflect the incompetence and failings of his own campaign. Since Donovan was frantically seeking paid help to get his signatures, we thought we’d help him out for free. You’d think he would be more grateful."