LACONIA — Dave Gammon yesterday petitioned the Belknap County Superior Court to order a recount of the primary election results in Ward 5, where three write-in votes for the City Council were cast, but not recorded.
"We had no alternative," Gammon said, adding that the he will pay close to to $300 to file the suit.
When the polls were closed on September 10, votes tallied and ballots sealed, incumbent city councilor Bob Hamel, who ran unopposed, was declared the winner with 39 of 47 ballots cast. No write-in votes for city councilor were reported. However, a computer print-out reports that three write-in ballots were cast in the race.
The City Charter makes no specific reference to write-in votes, but simply prescribes that the two candidates receiving the most votes for each office shall advance to the general election in November.
Gammon claims that he, his wife and another woman cast write-in ballots for his friend, former mayor Tom Tardif, which would account for the three write-in votes for city council that appear on the computer print-out. Election officials reported that Tardif received three of four write-in votes for ward clerk, but none for city council. If Gammon's claim is confirmed, the City Clerk would be bound to offer Tardif a place on the ballot for the general election, which he could either accept or decline.
On the strength of advice from the city attorney, Laura Spector-Morgan, City Clerk Mary Reynolds advised Gammon and Tardif that five registered voters could petition the New Hampshire Secretary of State to conduct a recount before the second Friday after the election, which fell yesterday. But, when Tardif met with Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan on Thursday, he was told that this process applied only to questions, not candidates, on the ballot and advised him to approach the Superior Court.
Yesterday Gammon submitted a petition with the signatures of 10 registered votes and asked the court to set aside the the reported results of the primary election in Ward 5 and direct the City Clerk to "schedule a recount or review of the three write-in ballots." Alternatively, he suggested the court review the ballots to identify who received the second highest number of votes in the primary election and therefore, qualified for the general election. He also asked the court to instruct the clerk not to print the ballots for the general election until "the irregularities in the conduct and reporting" of the primary election are resolved. Finally he asked the curt to award him "out of pocket expense for having to correct the results of the Ward 5 primary election results."
Meanwhile, Tardif has not decided whether or not to run in November in the event that a recount confirms that he polled the second highest number of votes for City Council.
Last Updated on Saturday, 21 September 2013 02:28
GILFORD — The owner of the former Kings Grant Inn has applied for a live entertainment license that if granted will allow so-called adult entertainment that includes near-naked dance performances.
Willard Drew and his news business partner Tom Lyons have formed the Lakes Region Cafe & Tavern and submitted their application on September 16. Town Administrator Scott Dunn said the application will be on the Selectboard agenda when it meets Wednesday night.
In October of 2011, state narcotics agents accompanied by two SWAT Teams, nearly the entire Gilford Police Department, and all three selectmen and other civilian town employees raided what was then called Mardi Gras North after an undercover investigation by members of the former New Hampshire Drug Task Force.
Task force members said they had purchased a variety of illegal drugs from the female entertainers over the course of their investigation. On the night of the raid, two of the five women targeted by police plus one woman who was entertaining that night were arrested at the bar.
Two other female entertainers along with two male patrons were arrested the same night by cooperating police in Franklin, Tilton, and Holderness.
All five women were convicted or pleaded guilty to some drug violations stemming from the DTF investigation and all served some time in either the Belknap County House of Corrections or the N.H. State Prison.
The raid and it's subsequent fallout led to Drew having his liquor license suspended by the N.H. Board of Liquor Commissioners at the request of selectmen. The commission held an inquiry into charges that included that he allowed his business to be used for unlawful activities. The liquor violation stemmed from activities witnessed by members of the DTF.
After a three-day hearing before the Liquor Commission in July of 2012, Drew — who is the holder of the liquor license Mardi Gras North was operating under — was exonerated of the most serious charge of allowing his business to be used for unlawful activities.
The commissioners found him responsible for over-serving a patron — for which he received the three-day suspension and a $150 fine; for having an employee consume alcohol while working — for which he was fined $100; and for giving away a free drink — for which he was fined $100.
During this time, selectmen revamped the town's live entertainment ordinance and included a provision that the holders of liquor licenses must be the operators of a nightclub in order to have live and/or adult entertainment. Owners are not allowed to lease the club to a different entity.
The ordinance also requires buildings where there is live entertainment to undergo a safety inspection by the town's fire chief and code enforcement officer.
The police chief will determine if uniformed officers will be required. All uniformed officers are paid for by the holder of the permit. The Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook is an example of a live entertainment permit holder being required to provide uniformed police officers at its events.
After he made substantial upgrades to the building and after closing for his three-day license suspension, Drew reapplied for a live entertainment license in late July of 2012 but selectmen voted 2-to-1 to given him his requested license but only if he excluded near-naked dancers.
He stayed open for a while but for the past year the club has been closed.
Last Updated on Saturday, 21 September 2013 02:20
BELMONT — Police arrested a man Wednesday night who was driving a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee that had been reported stolen from Manchester.
Jacob A. Jason, of 103 Blueberry Lane in Laconia is charged with one misdemeanor count of disobeying an officer, one felony count of driving after being deemed an habitual offender, and one felony count of receiving stolen property.
Jason appeared by video in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division yesterday morning and Judge Lawrence MacLeod ordered him held on $5,000 cash or corporate surety.
Affidavits said police were behind the Jeep while it was headed south on Rte. 106 when they noticed one of the brake lights was out.
Officers radioed the license plate number to dispatch and learned the Jeep had been reported stolen by a Manchester woman.
When the Jeep turned abruptly into a convenience store, officers pulled in behind it.
Police affidavits reported one officer read Jason his Miranda rights and asked him for some identification. When they asked him if he knew the Jeep was stolen, he initially said he didn't know anything about it. Jason also allegedly gave them a false name and birthday.
A second officer found an alternative identification card with Jason's picture on it in the Jeep.
During his booking, Jason told police that he did know the Jeep was stolen and that an unknown person put the car keys in his mailbox Wednesday night and told him the Jeep was "in the Lakes Region."
He allegedly told them he was returning the Jeep to its owner. Manchester Police confirmed the owner had reported it stolen.
Last Updated on Friday, 20 September 2013 02:46
Forced to Superior Court for remedy, it will cost Tardif hundreds of dollars to ask judge to order Ward 5 recount
LACONIA — Former mayor Tom Tardif discovered yesterday that he may have to pay a pretty penny to determine whether he received three write-in votes in the primary election for City Council in Ward 5, as his friend and former councilor Dave Gammon claims.
When the polls were closed on September 10, votes tallied and ballots sealed, incumbent city councilor Bob Hamel, who ran unopposed, was declared the winner with 39 of 47 ballots cast. In an apparent oversight by those working the polls, no write-in votes were reported. However, a computer print-out indicated that three write-in ballots were cast.
Gammon contends that he, his wife and another woman cast write-in votes for Tardif. Since the City Charter provides for the two candidates with the most voters to advance to the general election in general, if Gammon's claim is confirmed, Tardif would be entitled to a place on the ballot.
But, Gammon's claim can only be verified by opening and counting the ballots and that requires more than scissors and a calculator. A recount must be requested before the close of business on the first Friday after the election, a deadline that passed last week.
On the strength of advice from the city attorney, Laura Spector-Morgan, City Clerk Mary Reynolds advised Gammon and Tardif that five registered voters could petition the New Hampshire Secretary of State to conduct a recount before the second Friday after the election, which falls tomorrow. However, Tardif said that when he met with Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan yesterday he was informed that this process applied only to questions, not candidates, on the ballot and advised to approach the Superior Court.
Tardif said that the clerk of the Belknap County Superior Court told him he could file a petition asking the court to order a recount, but that would cost close to $300 in court fees. Moreover, Tardif said that when he filed suit against the Belknap County Convention earlier this year, Justice James D. O'Neill, III transferred his case to Grafton County Superior Court , apparently to avoid a conflict of interest.
"Can you imagine the costs incurred just because everyone is saying "'it's not me'?" Tardif exclaimed. "It's a Catch 22." He said that he has not decided whether or not he would run in the general election should a recount show that he polled enough write-in votes to qualify. Instead, he said that the greater issue is to ensure that votes that are cast are counted.
I can't imagine forklng out that kind of money to help the city correct an error," he continued. "But, if we don't file the cloud over the election will be there forever."
Last Updated on Friday, 20 September 2013 02:28
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