Below is a letter from Lawrence Garvey, Chairman of the Rockland County Republican Party and Attorney for Village of Airmont Mayor Philip Gigante and Trustees Paul Marchesani and Anthony Valvo to The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York where among other things he claims that the Plaintiff’s attorney was given unfettered access to records which included unsupervised, unparalleled and wrongful access to voter databases that included social security numbers, driver’s license numbers and the secret addresses of domestic violence victims. We confirmed that a complaint has been made to the Rockland County Attorney.
As a result of this petition, the incumbents were knocked off the ballot and are instead mounting a massive effort to encourage disenfranchised voters to fill in the circle and write their names in on the ballot.
March 14, 2019
United States Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman
The United States Attorney’s Office Southern District of New York
One St. Andrews Plaza New York, New York 10007
RE: Rockland County Board of Elections
Dear United States Attorney Berman,
I am the Chairman of the Rockland County, New York, Republican Committee and an attorney in private practice. I write to you today concerning the Rockland County, New York, Board of Election’s Democratic Commissioner, Kristin Zebrowski Stavisky.
My office recently represented The Village of Airmont, New York’s Mayor and two Village Trustees in a New York State Election Law Action in The Supreme Court of the County of Rockland, bearing index number 249/2019 (the “Airmont Action”). The Airmont Action, brought by two candidate challengers/petitioners, successfully sought to deny my clients’ access to the election ballot for their respective re-elections in the upcoming Village of Airmont election on March 19, 2019. The Airmont action challenged the legitimacy of my clients’ ballot petition signatures based upon a whole host of reasons. Rather than spend tens of thousands of dollars and multiple days litigating the matter, my clients simply stipulated that they did not have a sufficient number of petition signatures to qualify for the election ballot, and therefore, did not qualify for ballot access. My clients are now planning a write in campaign.
Unfortunately, these types of election law challenges are common in the rough and tumble world of local politics. What is uncommon, however, is the direct involvement of a commissioner of election in assisting one party over the other. That is exactly the situation that I believe occurred in this case. I further believe that the extent to which Commissioner Zebrowski Stavisky assisted the candidate challengers constitutes a violation of Federal Election Law, specifically,
n of Federal Election Law, specifically, Rule 18 U.S.C. 88 241, 242, for conspiring to prevent voters from participating in elections in which a federal candidate is on the ballot, or when done “under color of law” in any election, whether federal or non-federal.
Every county in the State of New York has a Democratic Election Commissioner as well as a Republican Election Commissioner. This statutory requirement is designed to ensure that access to the election ballot is open to all, no matter their party affiliation. For the most part, this structure is effective. However, in Commissioner Zebrowski Stavisky’s case, not only is she the Democratic Election Commissioner, but she is also the Chairwoman of the Rockland County Democratic Party.
In the Airmont Action, Commissioner Zebrowski Stavisky, upon information and belief, referred the law firm that petitioners hired to commence the action. This is the same law firm that, upon information and belief, Commissioner Zebrowski Stavisky has referred for other election law cases, and has likewise hired in her capacity as Election Commissioner to defend her in litigation in which she was named as a defendant and in which the County paid for. This arrangement calls into question how and by whom this law firm was paid to commence the Airmont Action, which still appears to be unknown as the petitioners failed to file their campaign finance disclosures as required by law. Additionally, upon information and belief, Commissioner Zebrowski Stavisky gave this law firm unsupervised, unparalleled and wrongful access to county voter databases for the purposes of prosecuting the Airmont Action. The information contained in these voter databases includes social security numbers, driver’s license information and most egregiously, the secret addresses of domestic violence victims. With this information in hand, either the petitioners, their attorneys, or others acting on their behalf, hired individuals to visit the voters who signed petitions on behalf of my clients. These individuals reportedly claimed to be from “The Board of Elections,” and aggressively interrogated these voters, and in some cases, may have even threatened them,
In addition to the Airmont Village Election, it is relevant to note that there will be a Democratic Primary on June 25, 2019 for the Democratic Nomination for the Office of The Rockland County District Attorney. Commissioner Zebrowski Stavisky’s brother and New York State Assemblyman, Kenneth Zebrowski, is an announced candidate for District Attorney and is seeking the Democratic Nomination, as are four others. Upon information and belief, Commissioner Zebrowski Stavisky’s husband’s political consulting and lobbying firm, The Parkside Group, has been hired to run and manage Assemblyman Zebrowski’s campaign. I am concerned that Commissioner Zebrowski Stavisky’s official actions in the Airmont Village Election may have been influenced by her assertive support of her brother’s campaign for District Attorney. This concern was highlighted to me when a local community activist, who outwardly opposed the Mayor and Trustees of Airmont, posted a picture on social media of himself with Assemblyman Zebrowski the morning after the Airmont Action court decision terminated, thus indicating to his followers and supporters that he was supporting Kenneth Zebrowski for District Attorney. The timing of that post was not fortuitous. I am further concerned that Commissioner Zebrowski Staviski’s multiple hats, as Party Chairwoman, Commissioner, Sister and Spouse, make it virtually impossible for any of the four remaining Democratic District Attorney Candidates to have any sort of impartiality from The Rockland County Board of Elections. There is no formal process of recusal in such a situation and therefore, an independent monitor is necessary.
Therefore, based on the above, I urge that your office initiate an investigation into the Rockland County Board of Elections and Commissioner Zebrowski Stavisky’s actions associated therewith. Additionally, I request that the Department of Justice appoint a Federal Election Monitor for both the Village of Airmont Election on March 19, 2019 as well as the Democratic Primary for Rockland County District Attorney on June 25, 2019.
Lawrence A. Garvey & Associates, P.C.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Very truly yours,
Lawrence A. Garvey, Esq.