[StBernard] Lee Zurik Investigation: Some in St. Bernard Parish Linked to Illegal Voting

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Tue Nov 15 08:43:45 EST 2011

Lee Zurik Investigation: Some in St. Bernard Parish Linked to Illegal Voting
Some in St. Bernard Parish Linked to Illegal Voting

(FOX 8 News)
Reported by: Lee Zurik, Anchor/Chief Investigative Reporter Email:
lzurik at fox8tv.net

Print Story Published: 11/14 9:35 pm Share Updated: 11/14 11:25 pm

Our knock on the door of this St. Tammany Parish house goes unanswered.

Records show it's a house owned by Richard and Kim Baumy. They bought it in

Richard Baumy fights crime in St. Bernard Parish as the third in command at
the sheriff's office. But the crimefighter may be breaking the law himself.

Records show Baumy and his wife voted in last month's election in St.
Bernard Parish even though they live across the lake. The St. Tammany
Parish residents registered to vote in St. Bernard and cast a ballot.

The Baumy's even have a homestead exemption on their St. Tammany Parish

FOX 8 Legal Analyst Joe Raspanti says the Baumy's and a long list of others
in St. Bernard may be breaking the law.

"If you get a homestead exemption on a piece of property, that is where you
vote. You shall vote there," said Raspanti.

Chad Clark finished third and missed out of the run-off in the sheriff's
race in last month's election.

Chad Clark's brother Brian also works for the sheriff and also lives on the
Northshore. Brian Clark owns a home and claims a homestead exemption in
Lacombe. He's registered and voted in St. Bernard last month.

"That is absolutely blatant on the surface," says Secretary of State Tom

A stack of documents has 20 other sheriff's department employees who live
and have homestead exemptions outside of St. Bernard but voted in the parish
last month. Many had a spouse who cast a ballot too.

According to the Secretary of State, that's against the law. Almost two
dozen people who wear a badge and enforce the law have broken the law

Schedler says people in St. Bernard Parish who have homestead exemptions in
other parishes but voted in St. Bernard would absolutely be against the law.

But there's more. FOX 8 requested all of the early voting records for last
month's election; all 720 pages totaling more than 4,100 votes.

We did some computer analysis and found many questionable addressed.Five
people are registered to vote at an address on East Urquhart Street in
Chalmette. They include St. Bernard Clerk of Court Lena Torres and her
daughter, Chief Deputy clerk Lena Nunez. Torres and Nunez live in the home.

But here's what caught our attention, also registered out of that address is
a Thomas and Jacqueline McConnell.

FOX 8 paid a visit to Torres' house.

We asked for the McConnell's but were told they were not there, but they do

The McConnell's live in Pearl River. They purchased that house in 2007, have
a homestead exemption, but vote in St. Bernard.

We asked if they are registered to vote out of that house. The person who
answered the door said they can't answer that, but did admit to working with
the McConnell's at the clerk's office.

Records show Jacqueline McConnell is a deputy clerk under Lena Nunez and
Lena Torres.

Schedler says they are violating the law.

We also found something else peculiar. Hundreds voting in St. Bernard have
mailing addresses outside of the parish in New Orleans, Metairie,
Ponchatoula, and Prairieville.

I am sure that Katrina will be part of the argument. You may have some of
those. But they should be registered in St. Tammany Parish.

The Secretary of State says no one polices the voting rolls to look at
homestead exemptions or even where someone lives.

He says it's an honor system.

But the law allows for some people to live in one parish, but vote in

Lance Licciardi is an attorney and helps run Randy Nunez's campaign for
clerk of court. Nunez is his law partner. Licciardi lives in River Ridge
but is registered to vote at a house on Jacob Drive in Chalmette, a house he
sold in 2007.

Licciardi told us by phone he now maintains a residence on East St. Bernard
Highway in Chalmette at a relative's house although the registrar of voters
doesn't have that information. Licciardi says he spends two to three nights
a year there to make sure he can declare it a residence.

Licciardi does not have a homestead exemption on his River Ridge house, but
even though he spends 362 days of the year there, he may not be violating
the law.

But Schedler says the local authority should be overseeing the rolls more
closely; six years after Katrina asking questions as to why people have
mailing addresses outside of the parish.

We called St. Bernard Registrar of Voters Velma Bourg She said she doesn't
do TV interviews.

"Obviously somebody has not done their job here," says Schedler

We've just taken a cursory look at the voting record from last month looking
at some of the 4,200 who cast a ballot early. We haven't even started
inspecting the 8,000 who voted on election day.

The Secretary of State says he doesn't oversee St. Bernard's voting rolls,
but would be the investigative authority for any election complaints or

"Absolutely we will look into it with our fraud unit," he says.

The results from last month's election show how just a few votes can have
serious impact on a race.

An example is the Justice of the Peace race where John McElroy edged Billy
Showalter for a spot in the run-off by five votes. Or in the race for
assessor. Reed Henderson got a spot in the run-off over Jimmy Licciardi by
43 votes.

Early voting for the run-off closed Saturday.

But still, sheriff's department employees who live in another parish, an
employee with the clerk of court, and many other former St. Bernard
residents voted, deciding on races in a parish they don't even live in.

Schedler says they should not be voting in this month's election in St.
Bernard Parish.

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