12/03/2010 04:21 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Chicago Mayor Race: Another Notary Says Petition Signatures Forged

A second notary public has claimed that his signature was forged on nominating petitions in the Chicago mayor's race, questioning the validity of nearly 2,000 petition sheets.

Alex Caplan, the owner of a currency exchange in Park Ridge, claims that he never saw the 1,913 sheets with his name on them, let alone notarized any of them.

And again, state senator James Meeks is caught up in the forgery scandal: 316 of his petition sheets had Caplan's name on them, according to a story in today's Sun-Times. This follows revelations earlier in the week that the signature of Maricela Rodriguez, another notary public, had apparently been forged on hundreds of other sheets, including those of Meeks and businessman Rob Halpin.

Carol Moseley Braun and Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins also filed petitions bearing Caplan's name.

Caplan's real signature on government documents looks nothing like the signatures on petition sheets the Sun-Times reviewed.

... "A person who represented himself to us as Alex Caplan came to our office at Patricia's request and notarized the signatures," said Mike Truppa, Watkins' spokesman. "We didn't ask for his driver's license to confirm he was Alex Caplan."

He wasn't. The man who notarized the petitions was black. Caplan is white.

"I haven't been anywhere to notarize anything," Caplan said.

The one common link between Caplan and Rodriguez: the sheets on which their names appear were circulated by Arthur J. Hardy, a homeless man once convicted of a sex offense.

Meeks is apparently calling for an investigation into the matter. Forging the signature of a notary public is a felony; the petitions would also be rendered null and void if they were not signed by circulators in the presence of a notary.