ELECTION FAKE – “We have not yet heard exactly what the accused has been accused of”: Frauenfeld city council does not doubt Limoncelli’s innocence



“We have not yet heard exactly what the accused is accused of”: Frauenfeld city council does not doubt Limoncelli’s innocence

According to the public prosecution’s published indictment, the city believes in the innocence of the former city clerk. In addition, the city council apologizes again for the incident and brings further details to light.

A ballot box for the city of Frauenfeld.

Bild: Donato Caspari
(22. April 2015)

After the announcement of the prosecution’s charge of qualified electoral fraud against the Frauenfeld former city clerk Ralph Limoncelli, the city of Frauenfeld first took notice. Whether Limoncelli acted as he is accused of by the Thurgau public prosecutor will have to be examined by a court. The city government itself assumes Limoncelli’s innocence: “The city council has so far had no evidence that this has happened.”

Limoncelli informed the city council in a timely manner about the upcoming interrogations – initially as an informant, then from June as the accused – and always asserted his innocence. Mayor Anders Stokholm stated:

“We have not yet heard from the public prosecutor what exactly the accused is being accused of.”

Anders Stokholm, Mayor of Frauenfeld.

Anders Stokholm, Mayor of Frauenfeld.

Bild: Kevin Roth

As long as the charges are not legally confirmed, the presumption of innocence continues to apply to Limoncelli, the city council announced in a written statement on Friday. Why the city council took itself, but not Limoncelli, out of the line of fire in June 2020 is answered by Stokholm as follows: “We couldn’t.”

Termination in Termination Agreement

The employment relationship between the city of Frauenfeld and Ralph Limoncelli ended in August 2020 after a total of twelve years. “At the request of the town clerk, who wanted to save the city a foreseeable long-term burden and pave the way for a quick replacement of the position,” says the message.

Ralph Limoncelli, City Clerk Frauenfeld from 2008 to 2020.

Ralph Limoncelli, City Clerk Frauenfeld from 2008 to 2020.

Image: Andrea Stalder

Under pressure from the public and after a move by SVP councilor Christa Zahnd, Stokholm confirmed in late August that Limoncelli had been released. There were several reasons for the exemption. At that time, however, Stokholm only revealed to those of the “lame duck” that Limoncelli was too heavily burdened and restricted in his ability to act by the rumors. And it is also not uncommon for high-ranking executives to release them after they have been given notice.

Today it is clear that those involved signed a termination agreement with a clause. Stokholm says:

“It was agreed that no details about the separation would be communicated until charges are brought.”

Limoncelli spoke at the time of a “false exemption” because he continued to advise the city administration employees until the end of October.

In addition to the protection of personal rights as a reason for the city council’s closeness in August, Stokholm cites a further reason for exemption for the loss of image for the city and damage limitation. By the latter, he means personal and monetary consequences. There was a risk that the city clerk’s position could not have been re-filled and the city would have had to continue paying wages if Limoncelli was still on the city’s payroll when an indictment was made, “until a final conviction, notably,” emphasizes Stokholm.

Further analyzes are planned in the election office

In order to minimize the risk of future manipulation in the 40-strong Frauenfeld election office, the city, in collaboration with the political scientist Silvano Moeckli, designed a catalog of improvements. “The proposed measures, as far as they are within the competence of the city, have been implemented in the votes and elections that have been held since last summer,” says Stokholm.

Among other things, security personnel are now monitoring access to the Great Citizens’ Hall as a counting point and the bags, jackets, valuables and cell phones of members of the voting office outside the hall. In addition, special events are recently logged and the plausibility of the results is checked again at the end. With regard to supervision, the city wants to improve, as Stokholm says.

“We have no specifications for working in the election office, we still have to analyze that.”

Furthermore, the city council reiterates its apology to the population that the grand council elections of March 2020 were fraudulent. “The city council again apologizes in the name of the electoral office in all forms to the population of Frauenfeld and the canton as well as to those directly affected for the incidents at that time.”

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ELECTION FAKE heard accused accused Frauenfeld city council doubt Limoncellis innocence


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