Philly DA investigating possible fraudulent flyers circulating in 3rd councilmanic district

Flyers are circulating that list West is Best Party candidate Jabari Jones as the Democratic Party nominee for West Philadelphia's 3rd councilmanic district -- omitting actual nominee, incumbent Jamie Gauthier

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The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office is investigating after flyers were found circulating in the city's 3rd councilmanic district that list an incorrect nominee for the Democratic Party.

“This is effectively a fraud, a lie," Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner told NBC10's Miguel Martinez-Valle about the flyer.

Democratic Party officials told NBC10 that they did not pay for the flyers that list challenger Jabari Jones, who is running as a representative of the so-called "West is Best" Party, as the nominee and omit the actual party nominee, incumbent Jamie Gauthier.

A flyer that incorrectly lists West is Best party candidate Jabari Jones as Democratic Party nominee for the 3rd councilmanic district. Incumbent Jamie Gauthier is the actual nominee. (NBC10)

The DA's office has told NBC10 that the flyer does not seem to be an official document -- even though the flyer itself claims to be "Paid for by the Democratic County Executive Committee of Philadelphia, Jonathan Saidel, Treasurer."

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“The report itself has this fake ballot passed out during official voting hours and after voting has begun," Krasner told NBC10.

In a response, shared Tuesday afternoon, Jones said that he had no knowledge of the flyers.

"I don't need to rely on cheap tricks to win," he said in a video sent to NBC10. "I'm pretty confident in our numbers. I'm confident in the message that we are putting out to voters and I'm confident in the work we've done over the last few months in order to be able to spread our message and get voters to support us."

He also told anyone who might be circulating the flyers to "please stop. It's only going to make our campaign look bad."

Asked about these flyers, Kai Mateo, campaign manager for incumbent Gauthier, called the flyers "blatantly false literature."

"From the petition period to Election Day, Councilmember Gauthier’s anti-union, Republican-backed opponents have done nothing except lie and cheat because they know they can't counter her record and her wide-ranging support among real Democrats in West and Southwest Philadelphia," the campaign manager said in a statement. "This blatantly false literature is just the latest example of their amateurish shenanigans. That’s why the Court immediately put out an order to stop it. Jamie remains focused on finishing the campaign strong – talking to voters in every part of the district and addressing their concerns about gun violence, affordable housing, and city services."

On his website, Jones describes himself as a "[p]resident of the business corridors in West Philly" and the only experience that the Committee of Seventy -- a local nonprofit dedicated to good government -- has listed for him is a bachelor's degree in business from Drexel University.

Jones had initially intended to run as a Democrat in the spring primary, but after losing the nomination to Gauthier, he ran as a member of the West is Best Party -- which doesn't seem to have any online presence or stated goals.

The District Attorney's Office is currently investigating to determine if a crime has been committed with these flyers.

"If there are charges that apply, my office will not hesitate to do so,“ Krasner said.

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