Pereira Files Election Complaint Against City Council Incumbents, Paoletto: She’s ‘Toxic’

Paoletto, Smith
Anthony Paoletto and Nessah Smith targets of elections complaint by Maria Pereira.

Campaigning illegally inside the 75 foot line from entrance to polling locations and “forged” petition signatures are some of the elections complaints filed by District Leader Maria Pereira and candidates Karen Jackson and Somia Suliman following the September 12 Democratic primary for City Council in the Upper East Side 138th. They filed the assertions with the State Elections Enforcement Commission against incumbent City Council members Nessah Smith and Anthony Paoletto. In a split decision Jackson and Smith won the primary. Town Committee member Angel Figueroa was also named in the complaint. See Pereira’s complaint here.

The voluminous 35-page document alleges “compensated campaign worker Angel Figueroa repeatedly crossed the 75 ft line … by escorting voters directly to the JFK Campus voting entrance, handing voters literature and telling voters to vote “Row B.” Figueroa continued the practice after being warned by the election moderator, according to the filing. Figueroa denies this.

Pereira slate
Maria Pereira and Angel Figueroa during happier times following their town committee slate win last year.

The complaint also asserts that Smith and Paoletto “knowingly submitted petitions with forged signatures in order to qualify on to the ballot as petitioning candidates … Nessah Smith personally circulated a petition page with several forged signatures in which family members were repeatedly allowed to sign for their relatives in violation of state law.”

The 138th District has been something of a political soap opera in recent years.

Pereira supported Smith and Paoletto in their successful City Council campaign in 2015, running on mayoral candidate Joe Ganim’s line. In short time they had a falling-out. In 2016 Pereira led a slate that won all nine seats in the Democratic Town Committee district. Her winning slate included Figueroa whom she backed as DTC chair against Mario Testa, but they too had a falling-out. Pereira supported Jackson and Suliman in the recent September primary. Figueroa backed Smith and Paoletto.

Paoletto has emerged as one of the young faces involved in city politics. At just 21 years of age he is the campaign treasurer for Mayor Ganim’s exploratory run for statewide office. His father also served the district on the council.

Pereira, according to the complaint, conducted her own sleuthing regarding signatures in question which she highlighted as exhibits and interviewed electors who claimed they did not sign the petition sheets.

Challenge candidates are required to secure certified signatures from 5 percent of registered Democrats in the district to qualify for the ballot.

“These are toxic people,” said Paoletto in response to the complaint. “I have no worries. We did everything the right way according to the law. Maria Pereira is someone who has filed multiple complaints against multiple people.”

“It doesn’t surprise me, we’re all witness to Pereira’s irate actions every time she loses,” said Figeuroa. “Samia was her puppet. Pereira’s done this to me in the past with that bogus harassment complaint. Anyone who is an eminent threat to her she lashes out with allegations that have no validity. Her history is so long with the harassment. She’s just pissed off because Samia lost the election.”

The 138th council primary results were close that required a recount: Karen Jackson 218, Nessah Smith 215, Samia Suliman 203, Anthony Paoletto 202.



  1. On a side bar. I would like to wish all readers and those that contribute to this blog a very Happy New Year. Happy Rosh Hashana. This is the anniversary of “The Creation”. May all be inscribed and sealed in the book of life for a sweet and happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. May the force be with you! :-).

    As for this Post. I have absolutely nothing to say.

  2. Maria Pereira is a pain in the ass that won’t go away no matter how many Tuck’s pads are applied. One of the reasons the BOE is unable to function is Maria Pereira and her frivolous lawsuits. Whenever she doesn’t get her way she files another lawsuit. Now she’s employing a similar tactic to the electoral process. As if Bridgeport politics aren’t dysfunctional enough…

  3. At one point in time the 138th was the strongest district in the city. We started a long decline when we elected Curwin & Paoletta and had Martha Santiago as a district leader. Those 3 had their hands out all the time. The only people in the 138th the got jobs were their family members.These 3 were like the refrigerator magnets they had their lips on the ass of anyone in the mayors office.
    Now we have a new group up here that is totally clueless as to what the neighborhood needs. Its good in one respect I don’t have to vote in city elections anymore.

    1. Andy, without a doubt that at one point in time the 138th was the strongest district in the city. Andy what I’m going to say you already know. Ann was a very smart and a wise district leader along with her Dottie Gunman the 136th district leader. Ann reside down the street where I was station at Engine 15 when I was on the DTC and I would talk with her and she told me that she included others in her district meetings beside the 9 DTC members, she didn’t want the elected council members on the DTC because they already had a position inside of the Democratic Party, the same for those who were on different City commissions like you on the Park Commission, Supt. of the Police Joe Walsh and others because she wanted get members in her district to stay involve. Ann and Dottie were probably two of strongest Democratic leaders in the City during their time as district leaders.

  4. The State Elections Enforcement Commision is there for a reason. It is a place where anyone who feels that Election Laws were broken can file a complaint.The SEEC can do the appropriate investigation and announce the results of the complaint/investigation. Instead of condemning this in any way,it should be supported as a means of “keepin’em clean” regarding elections I believe that is a worthy cause. Already,absentee ballots have been inspected and if any discrepancies were found,the ballots were thrown out.So,”inspections” of the primaries have already been done. Btw,we have one primary where the results were tied and an absentee ballot was “found” creating a winner by one vote.Should there be or not be an SEEC investigation of that situation? It’s unfortunate that some people have made comments or a decision whether or not a complaint was filed with the SEEC based upon purely personal reasons.They should reconsider and support all means of keeping elections fair and accurate. Within this article,Anthony Paoletto,City Councilperson for the 138th district and a loser in this primary, used the term “toxic.” That is like the kettle calling the pot black. What is toxic is a city councilperson who for two years did nothing for his constituents and was a puppet for Testa,Ganim and Company and was a constant presence in Ganim PR events and pictures. What is toxic isthat he is named the “treasurer” of the Ganim for Governor campaign when he is obviously unqualified for that position. What is toxic is Anthony Paoletto’s father,Richard Paoletto who had been involved in Bridgeport patronage politics for years,just recently getting a job(let’s not kid ourselves,it was a patronage job) at the Bridgeport WPCA making $59,000/year for a job that he is not qualified for and made even more toxic by his past employment history involving sexual harassment. I’m not sure the WPCA has right equipment to remove that toxicity.

      1. It would be nice if they have an MBA in ANY TYPE of FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT. Jennifer Buchanan..i am just curious..what qualifications do you think Anthony Paoletto needs to have to be the Treasurer of Ganim’s campaign for Governor. The more I think about it<the best qualifications for Treasurer For Ganim/CT Governor2018/is to let your name be used for Election Law purposes and just be a front and a facade for the real powers behind the scenes. Does ANYONE really think that Anthony Paoletto has any real pull? It's laughable.

        1. Frank, there could be someone else behind the scene doing the actual work, most candidates would like to a name of someone who is familiar to the voters. There could a assistant treasurer.

  5. Frank, the only qualification needed is the ability to understand and follow the state campaign finance law. It’s online and pretty straight forward. I’ve done it more than once. I agree with Ron, having someone familiar with voters is very good. Which makes me wonder why I was asked ….

      1. Don’t know him. Cannot vouch. Not a fan of his father’s legacy of multiple work place sexual harassment complaints. It’s your perception that a campaign treasurer should have a MBA or some financial professional qualifications was what I was addressing.


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