Reprinted from www.libertylobby.org, home of The SPOTLIGHT archive
Election Executive Convicted Of Bribery
By Fred Lingel
Mob ties, bribery, felony convictions and threats of coercion are visible in the public record of the election services company blamed for bearing at least partial responsibility for the voting chaos in Palm Beach County, Fla., according to investigative journalist and filmmaker Daniel Hopsicker.
While shooting a documentary on the presidential election, Hopsicker said he uncovered an organized crime link to Sequoia Pacific, one of a number of giant firms in the election services industry.
"What's more, Sequoia's machines and counters were in widespread use throughout South Florida, where they were described as persistently 'malfunctioning' during Florida's disastrous election," said Hopsicker.
"Sequoia Pacific was named as the company behind the scheme to successfully bribe the commissioner of elections of the state of Louisiana," Hopsicker said. "In court last week in Baton Rouge, the firm's Louisiana representative pled guilty to passing out as much as $10 million dollars in bribes over the course of almost an entire decade."
The connections first surfaced with the Nov. 27 conviction of Pasquale "Pat" Ricci, on the same day Louisiana Elec tions Commissioner Jerry Fowler admitted taking bribes from Ricci in a Baton Rouge courtroom.
Fowler pled guilty to nine felony counts, admitting to receiving bribes for almost the entire decade of the 1990s.
Hopsicker said he learned during an interview with Baton Rouge Assis tant District Attorney Sandra Ribes in the aftermath of Fowler's conviction that the 65-year-old Ricci was a senior executive with Sequoia Pacific.
ALL THE WAY UP
The scheme was hatched and run by Sequoia Pacific senior executive Phil Fos ter, Ricci said in court documents.
"Ricci's bribes and kickbacks were passed out on behalf of Sequoia Pacific," Ribes told Hopsicker.
Ricci was dubbed a "Baton Rouge businessman" in the local press. But Ricci hails from Marlton, N.J., where he is reportedly more comfortable with mobsters in organized crime families in New York and New Jersey than with computer scientists in white lab coats who serve as spokespersons for the burgeoning field of electronic voting.