Eli Nicolosi responds to questionable signature claims
ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - 23 News was the first to tell you about a filed police report and state’s attorney investigation concerning the alleged forged signatures of residents at a Rockford nursing home by state senate candidate Eli Nicolosi.
Nicolosi responds in a big way Thursday releasing new evidence he believes clears his name. He says, “I know I haven’t done anything wrong during this whole campaign but I’ve been continually accused of things over and over again.”
The latest accusations of wrongdoing center around the police report submitted by Cedarhurst Assisted Living Center and some of its residents claiming their signatures were forged by members of the Nicolosi campaign. “Why wait a week before the election when you’re supposed to do it a month after,” Nicolosi adds.
He says if there were forged signatures, they would have been picked up by the state’s board of elections mentioning there was no evidence of any kind of forgery or false play.
But the public information officer for the State Board of Elections tells 23 News they never looked into forgery in this case. Ed Dietrich says, “We didn’t do anything. There were no objections filed to Nicolosi’s candidacy for us.”
Dietrich says candidates have one week after petitions are due on March 14 to file objections. “They have to find enough signatures to object to get that candidate below, in this case, the required 650 signatures,” says Dietrich.
With nearly 1400 signatures submitted by the Nicolosi campaign, that means the only way the state board would look into objection claims is if 751 signatures were called into question.
Nicolosi’s opponent Dave Syverson says the situation surrounding the signatures in question has nothing to do with the State Board of Elections.” Syverson says, “Five people requested copies of Eli Nicolosi’s petitions but nobody filed an objection after reviewing those. The state board deals with bad signatures. That’s totally different from forgery. Forgery is a criminal offense that’s dealt with by the State’s Attorney.”
Nicolosi says when the campaign heard about the criminal complaint. They decided to do some investigation on their own. He adds, “We pulled different candidates that were in the area so that we could find matching names.”
His campaign did come up with at least three names in State Representative Joe Sosnowski’s petition for candidacy that were among the signatures in dispute from the Syverson and Nicolosi petitions. “My signatures appear to match Sosnowski’s as well. As you know, his signatures don’t,” Nicolosi says.
Syverson says the new information doesn’t prove Nicolosi’s innocence when it comes to the fraud accusations against his campaign. He comments, “It wasn’t me filing this. It was a criminal charge that was brought by a facility against him. So to try and make it look like it’s political, it’s not. This is trying to protect seniors and protecting their IDs.”
When asked if Joe Sosnowski should face an investigation over his signatures which look different than Syverson’s, the 35th District incumbent says everyone who doesn’t follow the rules should be responsible.” Because we need to send a message that elections should be clean and all candidates should be following the rules.”
Meanwhile, Nicolosi defends himself saying the criminal complaint is just a political ploy by the Syverson campaign. Nicolosi says, “That’s what happens when you take an establishment on politics. They don’t want to go anywhere anytime soon and that’s why we need term limits. We need a change in this community to make the state better.”
We made several attempts throughout Thursday to reach Joe Sosnowski and Winnebago County State’s Attorney J. Hanley but were unsuccessful in both cases.
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