Gigi Li Withdraws Campaign for District Leader Amidst Election Fraud Controversy
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Gigi Li at Pier 42, May 2013
Gigi Li, sitting Chair of Community Board 3, has dropped out of the hyperlocal race for Assembly District Leader from Part C of the 65th Assembly District. She had been battling incumbent Jenifer Rajkumar, who will now remain in her position. The embarrassing withdrawal comes in the aftermath of her alleged forgery of petition signatures during the campaign. The Board of Elections held a hearing on the matter yesterday afternoon, and voted that her name be removed from the ballot. A resignation announcement came shortly thereafter.
“I am deeply grateful to the many Lower Manhattan residents who have so strongly supported my effort to serve the community as a district leader,” Li noted in an officially press release. “Unfortunately, I learned today that I did not garner the necessary signatures to qualify for the ballot. I want to be clear that the accusations of fraud are false and played no role in my withdrawal.” Yeah, right. PR cover-up 101.
Yes, there’s a reason why she didn’t have enough signatures. Let’s dive into the details.
Gigi Li collected roughly 1,200 signatures, but almost all these submissions were invalid. Her final count was 470 toward the 500 prerequisite to qualify for the race. However, thanks to shady practices on the street, she probably won’t be going after those thirty signatures. It’s a distancing tactic that would otherwise trigger further scrutiny over the aforementioned accusations of election fraud. So, she essentially ensnared herself in a vice.
As first reported here last week, “petitioners” Lora Tenenbaum and Georgette Fleischer leveled a lawsuit alleging that minors and registered youths were deployed to collect signatures unsupervised, and that many of these endorsements were validated by false witnesses ipso-facto.
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Standoff – Jenifer Rajkumar vs. Gigi Li
It goes to the top, though. Councilmember Margaret Chin’s Chief of Staff, Yume Kitasei, was implicated in the purported “false witness” scam. “Upon information and belief, based on photographs, and other information as well as an analysis of her sheets, [Kitasei] did not actually witness all of the signatories sign the  sheets that she signed as the subscribing witness,” the lawsuit states.
If Li’s reputation wasn’t already besmirched by myriad scandals within the Community Board, this debacle sure solidifies her legacy of corruption.
So, with more than five times the signatures of support, incumbent Jenifer Rajkumar easily retains her position as District Leader. In a statement:
It is my great honor and privilege to be re-elected as your District Leader. I will continue to serve our neighborhood with dedication, energy, and passion. I would like to thank my supporters from the Lower East Side, to Battery Park City, to SoHo, to Chinatown for the movement we built together. I would also like to thank Congressman Jerry Nadler, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and Manhattan County Leader Keith Wright for their incredible support.
My focus remains fighting for my constituents everyday to keep our neighborhoods affordable, create quality education for our children, and transform local government into a platform for innovation and inspiration. There is a lot of work to be done and I am ready to keep working for you.
This Gigi Li scandal clearly illustrates the cozy relationship between Chin and Li, and the lengths to which these pols would go to maintain their footholds. At the end of her public statement, Gigi Li noted how she will “remain passionately committed to improving our neighborhoods [as CB3 Chair]. That commitment will never end — and I will always use my abilities where they are most needed for the good of our community.” Total bullshit.
How can someone so mired in scandal remain in such a position after the events of the last month?
Below is the lawsuit brought forth against Gigi Li. Bowing out of the race allowed her to avoid trial.