The new head of the city Department of Investigation testIfied Friday that his staff has encountered “outright hostility” at the highest levels of the Board of Elections while trying to get the embattled agency to clean up its act. The Board has not been “anywhere near as cooperative” as necessary in responding to a 2013 DOI investigation that detailed nepotism, incompetence, inefficiency — and even possible crimes, DOI Commissioner Mark Peters (pictured center) told a joint hearing of the City Council Government Operations and Oversight and Investigations Committees.
Peters said DOI has referred several issues for possible civil prosecution, and said criminal charges are still possible. In describing “illegal” activity at the Board, Peters told the lawmakers, “I use the word deliberately. This is an ongoing investigation, so there are aspects of it I am not prepared to discuss.”
The scathing Dec. 30 DOI report, including 40 recommendations to improve the elections agency, said family favoritism, waste and ineptitude hobble the Board. “The level of nepotism and the level of politics in hiring [at the BOE] is greater [than] anything reported in recent memory,” he said.
The DOI inquest grabbed headlines in large part because of the 63 DOI agents posing as voters disqualified because of death, felony convictions or a move out of the city were allowed by pollworkers to cast ballots.