With the absolutely insane Airmont election tomorrow, a recap of the various twists and turns of this hard-to-believe-hard-to-follow saga is in order.
A FOIL request was filed by Daniel Szalkiewicz the attorney for Nathan Bubel and Brian Downey seeking access to Rockland County Board of Election files.
Instead of supplying the documents in question, Rockland County Democratic Party Chairwoman and Rockland County Board of Elections Democratic Commissioner Kristen Zebrowski Stavinsky allegedly gave unfettered access to Board of Elections Records to the plaintiff’s team.
In February, challengers Nathan Bubble and Brian Downey filed a complaint challenging the authenticity of the Gigante, Marchesani-Valvo ticket. We don’t know why their running mate was not named on the petition.
Gigante, Marchesani and Valvo’s petitions were certified by the Rockland County Board of Elections.
Gigante, Marchesani and Valvo claim that their petitions were challenged after the deadline. They were served with the complaint prior to a Village of Airmont Board meeting. Witnesses say that Airmont resident Yehuda Zorger who is a regular at Village of Airmont Board meetings was at the meeting early and had is phone out ready to record as the papers were served. We reached out to Mr. Zorger in order to get his side of the story and he had no comment.
The Bubel-Downey team apparently hired former Bronx County Republican Party Chairman Joseph Savino to go door-to-door to interview residents about their signatures.
Rockland County Family Court Judge Sherri Eisenpress heard the case. In addition to being a Family Court Judge, Judge Eisenpress also hears Article 78 petitions. Eisenpress asked for a final count of names of those whose signatures were being challenged.
The Bubel-Downey team apparently sent out dozens of subpoenas to Airmont residents.
The Rockland County Board of Elections claimed that the Gigante-Marchesani-Valvo team had more than enough signatures in order to be on the ballot.
The attorney for the Gigante-Marchesani-Valvo ticket claimed that the plaintiff’s didn’t have standing to bring forth the action.
Judge Eisenpress allowed the plaintiff’s to proceed with their case.
Realizing that it would cost $30,000 to defend themselves and that potentially dozens of Airmont residents would be dragged into court, the incumbent team of Mayor Phil Gigante, Paul Marchesani and Anthony Valvo chose to voluntarily withdraw their names from the ballot.
A huge outcry from disenfranchised voters leads to a “Write the Wrong” write-in campaign that mobilizes dozen of volunteers.
Numerous voters whose signatures were challenged claim that they did indeed sign the petition and that they are in fact registered voters.
Claims are made that this is part of a larger conspiracy involving politically connected Town of Ramapo employees, the Board of Elections, Kristen Zebrowski Stavinsky and her brother, New York State Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski’s candidacy for Rockland County District Attorney. We have not found any direct connection of a conspiracy at this time.
A complaint was sent to the Rockland County Attorney and a second complaint was sent to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York claiming that improper access to Board of Elections records was granted to the Bubel-Downey team’s attorney.
Mayor Phil Gigante’s wife was accosted and claims to have been verbally assaulted by Airmont Resident Yehuda Zorger. Mr. Zorger was allegedly greeted by Mrs. Gigante who referred to him as “Jack Berger.” Mr. Zorger allegedly uses the name “Jack Berger” online and there is a video of Mr. Zorger chastising the Mahwah Town Board where he claimed to be “Jack Berger.”
Airmont employees intervened and Mr. Zorger apparently moved away from Mrs. Gigante. When Mrs. Gigante moved to another part of village hall, Mr. Zorger reportedly accosted her again. Ramapo Police were called and arrived after Mr. Zorger had left the premises.
We asked Mr. Zorger if he would like to tell his side of the story and again he had no comment.
On March 12th the Rockland County Supreme Court dismissed 5 out of 6 causes of action against the Village of Airmont by Central UTA.
The issue of selective enforcement has yet to be decided.