Harris County Justice of the Peace, George Risner a Democrat, is accusing his Republican opponent of using forged signatures to get her name placed on the Republican primary ballot.
Risner is asking that her name be removed. Sources say the District Attorney's Office and the Harris County attorney are now investigating.
Republican Leonila Olivares Salazar says she submitted about f400 signatures to satisfy state requirements to run for justice of the peace, Precinct 2, Place 2. She says she personally collected only about 50 of the signatures.
“I basically hired a company, a consulting company, and they in turn hired someone else to get all these signatures,” Salazar says.
Risner says he and his staff discovered many of the signatures were forged after he and his staff went door to door to confirm that the people named on the petitions actually signed them.
“Everyone I went to said it wasn't their signature, with the exception of the people that had moved and one said the gentleman had died back in June or July 2012,” Risner says.
Local 2 contacted one of the voters whose signature appears on the list, Samuel Clark of Pearland. He confirmed he had not signed the petition.
Risner says more than 350 of the signatures are bogus. Salazar had to provide at least 250 to get on the ballot.
Risner also says his staff tracked down three of the campaign workers hired by Salazar's consultant to collect the signatures, and obtained signed affidavits in which they admitted wrong-doing.
Local 2 tried to contact the workers whose names appear on the affidavits, but none were available. Risner said Salazar should now be taken off the ballot.
“The Republican party should have already removed her,” He says.
Salazar says she wasn't aware of the affidavits until Friday. She said after reviewing the signatures, she too believes some of the signatures could be forgeries, but not enough of them to disqualify her from running.
“I would say I’m very angry, but more than anything I'm very disappointed,” says Salazar.
Salazar says she's asked for a meeting with the district attorney's office next week. Neither the DA nor the Harris County Attorney's Office will confirm they are investigating Judge Risner's complaint.