Les and Cheryl Holmes plead guilty in election fraud case

Granby Town Councilor Cheryl Holmes, seen above at a recent town meeting, will resign her seat as part of a plea deal with prosecutors. Holmes and husband Leslie were accused of violations of New York election law.

GRANBY — It seemed like business as usual at the Granby Town Board’s work session Wednesday evening, despite one of the councilors pleading guilty to election-related crimes earlier in the week.

Board member Cheryl Holmes, 71, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of misconduct in relation to election petitions, an unclassified misdemeanor, in relation to improper electoral designating petitions filed in 2018. As a part of her plea, Holmes agreed to resign from the Granby Town Board on or before March 2 and to vacate her position on the Granby Republican Committee.

Not content to go quietly, Holmes was at the town board meeting Wednesday and voted on several resolutions. The issue wasn’t addressed in the board’s public session and Holmes refused to answer questions after the meeting regarding her status as an elected official.

Upon Holmes’ resignation, the Granby Town Board will be down to three members: Supervisor John Snow Jr., and board members Linda Parkhurst and Sandy Farrands.

The board accepted member Brett Counterman’s resignation in January. Counterman was re-elected in November, but after a death in the family, made the decision to sell his home in the town of Granby.

Snow said four people interviewed for the town board positions last week and anticipates the board appointing someone at the meeting set for March 11, but said the board has not yet discussed the issue. All three current members would need to be in agreement to appoint someone.

“Having only three members is obviously a problem; if one of us cannot make a meeting we cannot hold the meeting,” Snow told The Palladium-Times.

Snow said he will seek an opinion from local counsel on what would happen if anything were to occur to cause the vacancy of one of the three remaining board seats, since three are needed for a quorum.

“The town government is still functioning and I am concentrating on the projects that I started such as seeing the water project through, developing a plan for our buildings, fixing our zoning law, adding a sewer district, and starting new water districts,” Snow said.

Holmes was elected to a one-year term to fill a vacancy on the Granby Town Council in 2018, and was re-elected last November.

Court records reviewed by The Palladium-Times show Cheryl Holmes’ 2018 petitions contained forged signatures, including some forgeries of deceased individuals’ signatures.

The documents appeared to show irregularities and inconsistencies, including individuals signing multiple times and signatures from non-residents. Leslie Holmes, Cheryl’s husband and former Granby Republican Committee chairman, served as a witness for the majority of the signatures.

On top of her resignation, Cheryl Holmes is also expected to receive one year of probation, pay a $500 fine, perform 100 hours of community service and cease involvement in all political activities during the term of her probation with the exception of registering with a political party and voting.

Leslie Holmes received a similar deal for pleading guilty to one count of second-degree offering a false instrument for filing, a class A misdemeanor.

The couple was initially indicted on 18 counts of election related crimes. Their sentencing is expected April 23 in Onondaga County Court.

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