SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Suffolk City Council candidate Art Bredemeyer has been disqualified from appearing on the November ballot after a staffer allegedly forged dozens of signatures on submitted petitions.
The Suffolk Electoral Board’s vote was 3-0 on Monday to remove him from the ballot.
Bredemeyer was running for the “Suffolk Borough” seat, which will now be uncontested this fall.
At last Tuesday’s Suffolk Electoral Board meeting, WAVY’s Andy Fox discovered that at least 78 of 225 signatures are believed to have been forged.
Bredemeyer’s campaign worker, Dana Cooper, is accused of forging the signatures, and had sworn under oath the names were accurate. The punishment if she’s found guilty is a felony with maximum fine of up to $2,500 and/or imprisonment of up to 10 years. She’s also accused of not living at the address she claimed when she submitted the petitions.
She had listed her address as Linda Drive in Newport News, but a Virginia State Police special agent said a search of public records shows she hasn’t been associated with that address since May 2021, and her current address is listed as being in Hampton.
Bredemeyer has denied involvement and had said he didn’t “want to be on the ballot illegitimately” in the wake of the allegations.
“I am embarrassed for myself and these people because we were taken advantage of by this person [who sent out and collected and submitted petitions] and I’m sorry,” Bredemeyer said.
Bredemeyer has the right to appeal, but at the moment John Rector is now the sole candidate for the seat.
Rector told WAVY on Monday: “It is a sad day in Suffolk politics. Voters deserve to have a choice. I look forward to representing the citizens of the Suffolk Borough.”
In a later statement sent to 10 On Your Side, Bredemeyer said he was unaware of the meeting Monday morning.
Read Bredemeyer’s statement below:
Unbeknownst to me, the Suffolk Electoral Board posted an unusual public notice on their website this past Saturday for an immediate meeting regarding my candidacy to be held this morning, Monday, August 22, 2022. I was in no way informed of this meeting prior to the press alerting me after the meeting took place. I am disappointed at the Board’s decision to remove me from the ballot. Also, I am concerned about the legality of the board’s decision making process.Art Bredemeyer
Let me reiterate, this matter concerning the freelancer who collected alleged unauthorized signatures is still under investigation which I fully support. Currently, I am reviewing my options and I have no further comment at this time.
Check WAVY.com for the latest updates.