WOLCOTT, CT (WFSB) -- November’s election is behind us, but in Wolcott, a lawsuit has been filed challenging who won a seat for town council.
Paul D’Angelo was sworn in, but his challenger is suing.
John Murphy says he’s the winner.
“I got a letter stating I won. Town clerk said I won and then a week later I was told I lost,” Murphy said.
The Democrat was told D’Angelo was the winner and that he had been sworn in.
Murphy has filed a lawsuit against the town clerk and other town officials, including D’Angelo.
Murphy claims D’Angelo was a registered Republican and he also collected signatures as a Republican, and even though he switched parties before the election, Murphy says it doesn’t count.
“We are claiming that the seating of Paul D’Angelo was an improper and an unlawful act by election officials here,” said Lennie Caine, Murphy’s attorney.
The lawsuit is based on state statutes, which say if a candidate changes parties, it takes 90 days to take effect, and in this case, Dangelo switched to a “petitioning unaffiliated” candidate, but didn’t meet the 90-day requirement.
However, the town’s attorney says the statute doesn’t apply because of the way Wolcott elects its town councilors.
“It doesn’t apply because we elect council members by district in Wolcott. There are three districts,” D’Angelo said.
It sounds technical, and it is. D’Angelo says the town charter supersedes state statutes.
There’s also another issue and that’s “minority representation.” The town’s charter requires the minority party to have a certain number of seats on the council, which in this case can’t be a Republican.
“I am a conservative. I am a petitioning candidate, and I can see their point I can see how the charter needs to be corrected,” D’Angelo said.
In the future, changes may happen, but for now, the town says D’Angelo, who did get more votes, is the winner.
In his legal opinion, the town’s attorney says “the seating of Paul D’Angelo is consistent with, and not violative of, the minority representation requirements.”
The matter is now being decided in the courts.