ShareThis Page

Fayette County prothonotary hopeful denies falsifying paperwork

| Tuesday, April 2, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A North Union woman who is running for Fayette County prothonotary told a judge that she made honest mistakes on her statement of financial interests but that she corrected the errors before another candidate pointed them out in a challenge.

“I never falsified anything,” said Pamela Hudson at the close of an hourlong hearing on Monday before President Judge John F. Wagner Jr.

“I honestly did make a mistake on the financial interests paper, and I did amend it,” Hudson said. “We are honest, good people. That was an accident.”

Hudson, who is a jury commissioner, is seeking the Democratic nomination for prothonotary. The position is vacant because Lance Winterhalter quit in the middle of his term.

Another candidate who is seeking the nomination, Robert “Ted” Pritchard of Fairchance, challenged Hudson's nominating petitions and those of two other competitors, Nina Capuzzi Frankhouser and Paul Shipley.

Pritchard wants the courts to invalidate the nominating petitions and order the candidates' names removed from the ballot, which would leave him as the only candidate. He listed various reasons to throw out the petitions, including illegible signatures, abbreviated addresses or incomplete statements of financial interests.

Hudson's case went before Wagner for a hearing, but Wagner did not immediately issue a ruling. Senior Judge Gerald Solomon has not issued any findings in Shipley's case.

Judge Steve Leskinen denied the request to invalidate Frankhouser's petitions, but Pritchard has appealed the denial to Commonwealth Court.

In a nine-page opinion and order issued Monday, Leskinen upheld all but one of Frankhouser's petitions because missing information could be added through amendments.

Leskinen did toss one petition that contained just 40 of the 627 signatures that Frankhouser gathered. Leskinen did not hold a hearing on 85 other signatures that Pritchard challenged because even if they were invalidated, Frankhouser would have more than the 250 needed to run, according to the judge's order.

Pritchard wanted the election bureau to review all 627 signatures to ensure they were valid, but Leskinen said he would not consider such a broad challenge.

“Case law requires the objector to do his own ‘homework,' and to provide specific written objections as to each individual signature,” Leskinen wrote. “In the absence of such a specific objection, the court is not to consider the challenge at all.”

The challenges against Frankhouser and Shipley nearly were not considered because Pritchard did not pay $172 in filing fees on them, but he paid those fees on Monday.

Following the hearing before Wagner, Pritchard said the challenges are not personal in nature.

“I'm just a candidate challenging the petition process on irregularities according to the law,” Pritchard said. “I just want what's right and best for the electorate.”

Hudson's campaign manager, Bill Jordan of Uniontown, was not convinced.

“What he said about Pam being deceitful is ridiculous,” Jordan said. “She has integrity. She's honest. What he's doing to her name is ridiculous.”

Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.