Les and Cheryl Holmes accused of submitting bogus petitions
GRANBY — A Granby couple active in town politics have been charged with a series of crimes in what state police say was an “intent to defraud,” related to allegedly improper political petitions.
Granby Town Councilor Cheryl A. Holmes, 70, and former Granby Republican Committee Chairman Leslie K. Holmes, 75, were arraigned Friday on a multitude of charges related to electoral designating petitions filed last year. In New York, people seeking to contest all elected offices from town and village boards to judgeships and even the governor’s seat must collect signatures from voters in their intended constituency to earn a spot on the ballot.
Documents obtained by The Palladium-Times show irregularities and inconsistencies in petitions submitted by the Holmeses, including individuals signing multiple times and signatures from non-residents.
State police charged Leslie Holmes with seven counts of second-degree possession of a forged instrument, a class D felony, one count of first-degree filing a false instrument with intent to defraud, a class E felony, four counts of issuing a false written statement, a class A misdemeanor, four counts of petition misconduct, an unclassified misdemeanor, and one count of primary election violations, an unclassified misdemeanor.
Cheryl Holmes, a Republican elected to a one-year term in 2018 to fill a vacancy on the town board, is facing one count each of first-degree filing a false instrument with intent to defraud, issuing a false written statement, petition misconduct and primary election violations.
Law enforcement officials with knowledge of the case said an initial complaint of petitions including signatures from individuals outside the district and individuals signing more than once was initially brought to local law enforcement and turned over to the state Attorney General.
State police assisted in the Attorney General’s investigation and the case was presented to a grand jury earlier this month, which led to an indictment and ultimately the arrest of the Granby couple.
The couple were arraigned Friday and released on their own recognizance, according to state police records.
According to New York State Public Officers Law Article 3 Section 30, public offices shall be vacant upon the office holder’s conviction of a felony or a crime involving a violation of the oath of office. The Holmeses have been charged but not convicted and are innocent until proven guilty.
In November, Cheryl Holmes was re-elected to the town board for a four-year term, which would start Jan. 1, as one of two candidates running for two open seats on the board.
Granby Supervisor John Snow, who was re-elected in November with nearly 99 percent of the vote, said the matter is currently in the hands of the legal system at this point and town officials would let the justice system play its course.
Snow confirmed as of Monday the town had not received a resignation letter from Cheryl Holmes.
Local officials said the state Attorney General's office is prosecuting the case. The assistant attorney general handling the case declined to comment Monday citing agency policy.