The Examiner

Hawthorne Man Threatens to Sue DiFiore for Naming Him in Forgery Release

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A man who authorities claim had his petition carried with forged names by the challenger in the Mount Pleasant supervisor’s race is threatening to sue Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore for involving him in the issue.

Hawthorne resident Frank Morganthaler announced on Friday outside the Westchester County courthouse in White Plains that he would seek damages for pain and suffering brought to him and his family.

He said that an Oct. 23 press release from the district attorney’s office erroneously stated that supervisor candidate Anthony D’Aria of Valhalla had carried a petition for Morganthaler in his quest to become a write-in candidate in the Republican district leader race in the 28th district.

D’Aria was arrested on five counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument last Wednesday in connection with that petition. The district attorney issued a release stating that the document had five forged names of priests who had lived at the Legionaries of Christ property in Thornwood.

Morganthaler insisted that D’Aria was not carrying the opportunity to ballot petition for him specifically but rather to assist anyone in Mount Pleasant who had hoped to challenge in district leader races.

“The important point is, for them to put that in there without even contacting me, the D.A.’s office never contacted me, never once reached out to me if this was fact,” said Morganthaler who is the campaign manager for Mount Pleasant Town Board candidate John Casario.

D’Aria and Casario are contesting next Tuesday’s Mount Pleasant election against the Republican candidates on the independent We the People line.

Morganthaler also said that he wasn’t running in the 28th District, which is in Thornwood, but rather in his home 31st District in Hawthorne.

“It would appear that the D.A. just indiscriminately chose to include my name in this matter without any basis in facts,” he said. “I believe the D.A. had an ulterior motive. She wanted to smear my name.”

Lucien Chalfen, a spokesman for DiFiore, said Morganthaler’s claims are off the mark.

“Mr. Morganthaler wasn’t named in the criminal complaint so his claims are baseless,” Chalfen said.

Morganthaler said DiFiore was likely bowing to political pressure from the Mount Pleasant Republican Committee who he accused of trying to suppress political challenges. There were 26 people who had hoped to challenge in district leader races throughout Mount Pleasant in September but were thrown off the ballot.

The political retaliation has continued deep into the campaign for general election.

“The incumbents could not take that chance,” he said. “So in my estimation they invented the charges that were filed against (D’Aria), in this case just two weeks before the election in an effort to charge him and weaken his candidacy.”

Morganthaler pointed to Mount Pleasant Republican Committee Chairwoman Nancy Meehan as the likely culprit. Meehan is also the deputy Republican commissioner at the Westchester County Board of Elections.

Messages left for Meehan at the Westchester County Board of Elections on Friday were not returned.

Maybury dismissed any notion of political retaliation.

“All accusations of political retribution are blatantly false,” said Maybury. “This is a sad attempt to distort all facts of the issue and mislead the people of the Town of Mount Pleasant.”

John S. Finnegan of Pleasantville, one of the 26 individuals who were knocked off the ballot, said the entire episode leaves him suspicious. He said he was hoping to get some more representation for his area

“It makes me wonder what really is the truth and what makes these people so resistant to change and open government and that’s what this is really about,” Finnegan said.

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