Delco GOP worker charged in nominating-petition forgeries

Summers
Summers
Posted: February 03, 2011

State prosecutors yesterday filed forgery charges against an Upper Darby GOP operative who is accused of falsifying signatures to help place U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan on the Republican primary ballot last spring.

The Attorney General's Office charged Paul V. Summers, 59, of Drexel Hill, with seven counts of forgery in connection with the nominating petitions he submitted for Meehan in March. Agents say that the petitions contained dozens of forged signatures.

Several Delaware County residents told investigators that they hadn't signed the forms, and some residents identified the names of relatives "who had died or since moved out of the area," according to the criminal complaint.

"I am pleased the matter has come to a conclusion and that justice will be done," Meehan said in a statement. "Paul Summers caused the integrity of the political process and my campaign needless harm. I came forward and asked that suspect petitions be investigated and I hope this result will deter others from ever considering any similar conduct in the future."

Summers, a loyal ally of Upper Darby GOP leader John F. McNichol - he once claimed that he'd "run through a brick wall" for the longtime party boss - also submitted at least one illegal nominating petition for Republican state House candidate Maureen Carey.

The Daily News confirmed those additional forgeries last year by contacting residents whose names appeared to have been written by one person. All said they hadn't signed the petition or met Summers, who listed himself as the circulator.

Summers, however, wasn't charged with those forgeries, and a spokesman for the Attorney General's Office did not return messages yesterday seeking an explanation.

Shirley Rubenstein, an Upper Darby resident whose name was forged on a Carey petition, along with her husband's, had wanted to see Summers prosecuted - but investigators never contacted her.

"I guess nobody did anything about it," Rubenstein said.

Summers' attorney, Joseph Fioravanti, declined to comment yesterday. Each count of forgery is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, but Summers will likely receive a much lesser sentence if convicted, including probation.

Rubenstein said she wouldn't necessarily mind if Summers doesn't do jail time.

"Why should we have to pay for his room and board?" she asked.

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