A complaint alleges Pennsylvania election officials were tearing tapes ‘into pieces and placing … them into the trash stating they will have a campfire to burn the data.’
By Margot Cleveland
NOVEMBER 22 2021
Several residents of Delaware County Pennsylvania filed a sprawling lawsuit Thursday against the former Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, Delaware County, the Delaware County Board of Elections, and more than a dozen individual election officials. The lawsuit followed Wednesday’s night release of videotapes taken by a whistleblower capturing concerning behavior by several election officials in the Keystone state.
A source familiar with the lawsuit provided access to the tapes, noting the then-unnamed whistleblower had come forward with video evidence purporting to show Delaware County, Pennsylvania election officials destroying records from the November 2020 general election. The videos were also filed with the complaint and a bevy of exhibits the plaintiffs maintain support the allegations contained in their 91-page complaint.
The complaint, filed by Delaware County residents, Ruth Moton, Leah Hoopes, Gregory Stenstrom, as well as the Friends of Ruth Motion campaign, prevented both detailed alleged violations of state election law during the November 2020 election and claims of a conspiracy after the election to hide the numerous problems and illegalities that occurred during the last presidential election.
While the minutia of the election law recited in the complaint may escape the public’s notice, allegations that the defendants conspired to destroy or alter election data, materials, and equipment, “to prevent the discovery of the fraudulent results of the November 3, 2020 election, and the violation of various state and federal election laws,” when coupled with the videos, may finally awaken the sleeping masses to the cause of election integrity.
A May 21, 2021 request for 2020 election data and information submitted to Delaware County under Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law served as an impetus for the alleged conspiracy and cover-up, as the complaint told the story.
A week later after the Right to Know request, a conversation is captured between two individuals, identified by those with knowledge of the lawsuit, as James Allen, the Director of Election Operations for Delaware County, and Jim Savage, identified by Delaware County’s directory as the Chief Custodian/Voting Machine Warehouse Supervisor.
In that video provided to The Federalist, Allen is heard telling Savage, “Then get rid of the pads and the second scanners.”
“We can’t talk about it anymore,” Savage replies, with Allen questioning, “Why?” “It’s a felony,” Allen countered.
The complaint added more texture to this video, alleging that Savage then “encouraged a private conversation to continue the conversation of the removal of the pads and scanners due to other Delaware County employees and [contract employee] Regina Miller,” being present.
The following month the whistleblower filmed a conversation she had with another Delaware County official, James Ziegelhoffer, according to a source with knowledge of the lawsuit. Ziegelhoffer, also known as Ziggy, held the position of “Judge of Election” for the Western Precinct in the Media Borough.
This tape purports to capture Ziggy saying, “What we have here . . . is evidence. Right? Let them figure that out.”
The whistleblower interjects, “Yes, but what I don’t understand and this makes — honestly this makes me nervous. Is why tapes were being thrown away?”
Ziggy begins to deny the claim, “No, no tapes were,” when the Whistleblower cuts him off:
“No, you guys have been throwing away tapes … so what tapes are you throwing away? Like why?”
“They’re all unidentifiable,” he counters before the whistleblower interrupts again:
“But it’s been that way since the November elections, so why would you throw anything away. Because you have to save it for 22 months,” the unnamed source is heard saying in the video, a reference to federal retention mandates.
“Yes there are tapes that are being tossed,” Ziggy finally acknowledges, but adds, “but they are of no audit value.”
A third video appears filmed in the same large room and captures a man identified by individuals with knowledge of the lawsuit as a Delaware County lawyer, Tom Gallager. As Gallager tears the tapes from the voting machines and discards them, the whistleblower can be heard asking: “Tom, why do you have to rip it up? Makes you feel better?”
“At this point,” Gallager replies, “I don’t want anybody to pick it up, and thinking we threw stuff away.”
“We’re gonna have a little campfire going,” Ziggy adds.
Several allegations in the complaint mesh with this video as well, with the plaintiffs alleging Delaware County layer, Tom Gallagher, and Ziegelhofer “set up a long table full of November 3, 2020, election data, and selectively destroyed the machines/proof tapes along with other November 3, 2020 records by tearing it into pieces and placing [it] into the trash stating they will have a campfire to burn the data.”
“Regina Miller became nervous” the complaint continues, alleging that Miller “informed the pair that they were violating numerous state and federal laws.” According to the complaint, Ziegelhoffer justified his actions by claiming “there was no audit value” to the November 3, 2020, election data.
Miller, who was a contract employee with Monarch Staffing, also claimed that in July of 2021, Allen threatened to consider a complaint taken to anyone else but him, as a “second and final violation of chain of command.” The complaint further alleged that Savage “told Regina Miller that he would have someone killed if he was ever betrayed by someone at work and described a story that he heard regarding someone from the county that someone “ratted on.”
Attempts to speak with Allen proved unsuccessful, with an administrative assistant stating he was in a meeting, but agreeing to convey my media request to him. Allen did not return my call. A call to Savage went unanswered and the County also ignored requests for comments from the gentlemen along with Gallager and Ziegelhoffer.
After detailing the purported violations of election law and the alleged destruction of election records and the claimed conspiracy, the complaint presented five legal theories for recovery, with Count I for common law fraud, Count II for fraudulent misrepresentation, Count III for negligent misrepresentation, Count IV for a claim for common law quo warranto, which apparently is a Pennsylvania claim for fraud related to elections and Count V for Mandamus and Equitable Relief.
While, if true, the allegations seem to scream of violations of the law, none of the claims alleged seem a close fit to the facts proffered to the court in the complaint. Also troubling is grasping the remedy the plaintiffs seek.
Typically money damages are awarded for fraud, but how do you monetize the harm to a voter when he is disenfranchised by election officials who counted illegal or fraudulent votes? Similarly, what court order (or mandamus) or other injunction could make the plaintiffs whole again.
The litigation, however, may have served another purpose: To highlight what the plaintiffs believe were widespread violations of state and federal election law and to expose the alleged conspiracy to cover up those problems, and thereby prevent a repeat in future elections.
Still, the videos may not be enough for those so blinded by their distaste for Trump that they cannot see the real threat to our democracy: elections without integrity and an electorate unable to trust the official outcome.