Two notaries give up commissions in probe of vote fraud

Posted: June 24, 2011

Two Philadelphia notaries connected to allegations of fraud in last year's elections for Republican committeemen have permanently surrendered their notary commissions after a state investigation.

The state determined that Carmella Fitzpatrick, who works for the Republican City Committee, and Jeanine DiGiannantonio, who works for the Philadelphia Parking Authority, a haven for GOP patronage jobs, had notarized candidate nominating petitions without requiring the individuals to appear in person before them, as the law requires.

The candidacies turned out to be bogus. One of the candidates told The Inquirer he did not know his name was on the ballot.

A separate investigation by the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office is still going on, Deputy District Attorney Curtis Douglas said Thursday.

The petition controversy surfaced during an intense battle for control of the Republican City Committee, run by Michael Meehan. Committeemen elect ward leaders, who in turn elect the party's leader.

Vito Canuso Jr., who was elected chairman last year in a disputed vote subsequently voided by the state Republican organization, would not comment on Fitzpatrick's situation.

Meehan, the party's general counsel, did not return a call from The Inquirer.

DiGiannantonio makes $65,533 annually as an employee of the Parking Authority, working as executive assistant to Carl Ciglar, the authority's deputy executive director. Ciglar's boss, Vincent Fenerty, a Republican ward leader allied with Meehan, said Thursday that the PPA would have no comment on DiGiannantonio because her case had nothing to do with PPA business.

DiGiannantonio declined to comment.

Last year, Fitzpatrick, office manager for the Republican City Committee, told The Inquirer that she notarized petitions only for candidates who appeared before her.

On Thursday, Fitzpatrick said the problems identified in the state investigation occurred because she was trying to deal with thousands of documents at the time.

"I don't remember all these people, so that is my problem," she said.

Another notary involved in the investigation, Jennifer Jandrisitz, who works for Republican City Councilman Jack Kelly, was not part of the state action. She told The Inquirer last year that some of the candidates whose petitions she notarized had not appeared before her.

One of those candidates, Joan Chapman, could not be located by The Inquirer and appeared to be fictitious.

Jandrisitz did not return a call Thursday seeking comment.


Contact staff writer Miriam Hill at 215-854-5520 or hillmb@phillynews.com.

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