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Daytona Beach City Commissioner Derrick Henry and his campaign manager were arrested Wednesday on charges of absentee ballot fraud and voting violations.
Henry, 41, handily won re-election to the non-partisan Zone 5 city commission seat on Aug. 24, but he could soon be suspended from office following an investigation in which he and his campaign manager, Genesis Robinson, 21, admitted to fraudulently ordering dozens of absentee ballots.
On Wednesday, both men were booked at the Volusia County Branch Jail with bail set at $6,000 each. They are charged with third-degree felonies, each punishable by up to by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Henry, who was first elected to office in 2008, could soon be suspended from the seven-member Daytona Beach City Commission. Gov. Crist has the authority to do so. On Wednesday afternoon, the governor’s office was reviewing the arrest reports.
City spokeswoman Susan Cerbone said a suspension would trigger a special election to temporarily fill the seat, which represents a historically black neighborhood north of U.S. 92 and west of the railroad tracks. Such an election could be held in December at the earliest. City commissioners receive an annual salary of $16,599, she said.
Neither Henry nor Robinson could be reached for comment.
Henry, who is an assistant principal at Mainland High School in Daytona Beach, was placed on administrative leave with pay, said a spokeswoman with the Volusia schools district. He has worked at Mainland High School since 1992 and was promoted to assistant principal in 2006, school records show.
Robinson identifies himself in city election records as a full-time college student.
According to the official tally for the Aug. 24 election, Henry received 799 votes, easily defeating opponents Walter Fordham who received 218 votes, and Mario Henderson, who received 212 votes.
Weeks before the election, Volusia County Elections Supervisor Ann McFall became suspicious of a large group of absentee ballot requests, sent online and using a single email address, though the ballots were requested for unrelated people at different residences.
“I thought it was a candidate who didn’t understand the law,” said McFall, who tried to email the requester back. When she didn’t receive a reply, she notified investigators.
McFall said the ballots were mailed and less than 20 were returned.
The joint investigation by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office and the State Attorney’s Office found the men had requested 92 absentee ballots fraudulently for the Aug. 24 primary. By law, residents are only allowed to request absentee ballots for themselves, immediate family members or for someone for whom they’re acting as legal guardian.
While executing a search warrant at Henry’s home on Sept. 23, investigators found four of the ballots were found under a computer keyboard, deputies said.
Investigators interviewed the people whose names were used on the ballot requests.
One resident said she received an absentee ballot in the mail even though she hadn’t requested one, sheriff’s spokesman Gary Davidson said. She said a few days later one of Henry’s campaign workers showed up at her house and asked if she had received her ballot and had filled it out. The resident said she got the ballot while the campaign worker waited. Then she filled it out, sealed and signed the ballot and turned it over to the campaign worker, Davidson said.
The foreclosure crisis intensified across a majority of large U.S. metropolitan areas this summer, with Chicago and Seattle seeing a sharp increase in foreclosure warnings.
California, Nevada, Florida and Arizona remain the nation’s foreclosure hotbeds, accounting for 19 of the top 20 metropolitan areas with the highest foreclosure rates between July and September.
According to scientists at the University of California San Diego and Harvard University, “ideology is affected not just by social factors, but also by a dopamine receptor gene called DRD4.” That and how many friends you had during high school.
The study was led by UCSD’s James Fowler and focused on 2,000 subjects from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.
Gunmen killed 15 people at a car wash Wednesday in a Mexican Pacific coast state where drug-gang violence has risen this year. It was the third massacre in Mexico in less than a week.
The gunmen in three vehicles drove up to the car wash in the city of Tepic and opened fire without provocation, said Fernando Carvajal, public safety secretary of Nayarit state, where the city is located.
A federal appeals court has upheld the decision of a Texas school district to punish a cheerleader for refusing to cheer for a player who pleaded guilty to attacking her.
While a grand jury decided against indicting Rakheem Bolton on allegations of rape leveled by the victim, the basketball player later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of Class A assault.
Likud activists who oppose the settlement freeze have set up a protest movement against the peace process and the continued construction moratorium in the West Bank. The group is modeled after the conservative Tea Party movement in the United States.
The Israeli group will hold a rally Sunday at the Zionist Organization of America House in Tel Aviv, under the banner “Saying No to Obama,”
Nissan is recalling 2.14 million vehicles worldwide including the popular March and Mycra subcompacts for an ignition problem that may stall the engine – its third-largest recall ever.
No accidents have been reported that are suspected of being caused by the defect, according to Yokohama-based Nissan Motor Co. The recall affects cars in the the United States, Europe and Japan.
This week, conservative film maker James O’Keefe released a new hidden camera expose on the New Jersey Education Association (the teacher’s union) called “Teacher’s Unions Gone Wild.”
After it was released, the NJEA questioned its validity and context, and even accused O’Keefe of fabrication. Thursday, O’Keefe responded to that criticism by releasing new graphic video.