7 On Your Side: Dozens of campaign workers owed thousands by candidate for NY governor

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Tuesday, June 28, 2022
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Dozens of frustrated workers are owed paychecks after soliciting nearly 50,000 signatures to get Larry Sharpe on the ballot in the race for governor. 7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda has the story.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Dozens of campaign workers are voicing their frustrations as they wait for final paychecks after spending hours on street corners soliciting nearly 50,000 signatures for a petition to get a politician on the ballot for the New York gubernatorial election in November.

That's when this group of workers cast a vote for Nina Pineda and 7 On Your Side.

"This was earmarked to pay my June rent," campaign worker Kristen Martino said.

Martino and Vanessa Brown are two of dozens of petitioners waiting weeks for paychecks after working to get signatures for Larry Sharpe, a Libertarian candidate seeking to throw his hat in the ring for New York governor.

"We need our money," Brown said. "We had to get people to stop and to sign."

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Between jobs, Brown picked up the gig work after answering a Craigslist ad seeking petitioners. Martino, who lost her job during the COVID-19 pandemic, felt it was important to give voters more choices.

"It's hard when you do the work on don't get paid," Martino said.

Brown said she is owed $1,080, and Martino around $1,200.

Sharpe answered campaign workers complaints by posting a video on his website.

"I'm going to try to make you whole," he said. "I'm going to try to get you paid."

Rather than wait, Brown decided to call 7 On Your Side.

We asked the candidate to meet up with us, meet his petitioner, and explain the holdup.

"I feel terrible," he said. "The reality of it is, I didn't contract them, but I feel like I should do something. So when things went wrong, I stepped up."

He wrote Brown a check on the spot.

"Thank you for your patience," he said. "I apologize for the massive confusion in our campaign."

Sharp said approximately 50 workers were owed an average of about $1,000 each. Martino is still waiting for her payday to pay her rent.

"This is, to me, morally reprehensible," she said.

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Sharpe says he's paid approximately 10 to 15 petitioners so far.

Brown has been made whole, but she said she'll keep campaigning for others.

"You did a wonderful job," she said. "Thank God, thank God I have it now, finally, so that I can pay the bills that are overdue."

Sharpe promised to get every unpaid worker paid within 30 to 60 days.

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