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Lawrence election lawsuit rendered moot

Hewlett Harbor ruling goes against village challengers

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In dual court actions, the challengers in the Hewlett Harbor and Lawrence village elections are claiming illegal activities by the opponents and village officials.

In both Hewlett Harbor and Lawrence, there were claims that the composition of the ballots being used for the Sept. 15 elections are illegal. 

Judge Robert Bogle ruled in a Sept. 10 hearing at Nassau County Supreme Court in Mineola that the ballots being used in Hewlett Harbor are valid. Hewlett Harbor challengers Ron Austin for mayor, and David Mosayov and Kim Volman for trustee brought a suit against the Village of Hewlett Harbor and Michael Ryder, village clerk and chief village election official and Mayor Mark Weiss, and Trustees Ken Kornblau and Thomas Cohen. 

Austin, Mosayov and Volman also wanted the village clerk disqualified from serving as the chief election official and replaced with a “suitable unbiased and competent officer (or alternatively appointing a Court's referee to supervise the elections)”; ordering the immediate disclosure of all documents, material and data pursuant to the Freedom of Information Law and awarding petitioner “such other further relief as the Court deems to be just and proper.”  Bogle ruled in the same hearing that Ryder can continue to serve as the chief election official and denied the FOIL's.

"It's a shame that we all had to be distracted by these obscene, baseless allegations," Weis said in a statement. "We thank all of our village residents for their patience and understanding, and for seeing these accusuations for what they are are: nothing more than an unconscionable attempt at voter intimidation and voter suppression that cost our village tax dollars that could have been used for road restoration, security and an array of other important infrastructure and quality of life projects.  However, we embrace moving forward to Election Day on Sept. 15,  and the hard work we intend to carry on into our next term of office."

A ruling in the Lawrence case is expected on Sept. 18, three days after the village election, in effect rendering the case moot.

The Lawrence suit also claimed that candidates and officials took part in such acts as bullying voters, failing to file a campaign financial disclosure, political espionage and voter suppression, and seeks an order to release public information.

The people who brought suit in Lawrence are: mayoral candidate and incumbent Trustee Danny Goldstein, trustee candidates Bruce A. Backman and J. Lawrence Kolodny, and campaign managers John Novello and Benny Goldstein, and Elana Goldstein.

Incumbent mayor and mayoral candidate Alex Edelman, Ron Goldman, the chief village election official; Gerry Castro, the acting chief village election official; trustee candidates Eli Kutner, Uri Kaufman, Paris Popack, Joel M. Preminger and Shrage Rokosz, Village Justice and candidate Gary Mandel, the Unity Party, the Committee for Fair Voting in Lawrence and the New York State Board of Elections are named in the suit.

John Ciampoli who is representing the petitioners in the Lawrence suit said there are witnesses that Edelman and Goldman allegedly tried to influence voters. Goldman said the village does not comment on pending legislation.

Kaufman also has an issue with the way the Lawrence ballot was setup with four of the trustee candidates in one column and two other candidates Kaufman and Kutner in another.

In Lawrence, the suit aims to disqualify Goldman and Castro from serving as village election officials, bar Edelman from Village Hall until after the election and stop him from using Village Hall for political campaign purposes. 

"I think that the sword of Damocels is hanging over the village clerk and mayor's head," Ciampoli said. "This is not, will not be over, especially if the improper activities continue."