Bongiorno’s Blunder

Former D.A. Michael Bongiorno fails to notarize Weisberg’s petition signatures properly, resulting in loss of Independence Party line

BY SARA GILBERT

Republican Daniel Weisberg’s petition to be a primary candidate on the Independence Party line has been thrown out by NY State Supreme Court Justice Linda Jamieson.

Clarkstown Town Justice Rolf Thorsen challenged Weisberg’s petitions for the Independence Party and for the Working Families Party for the primary election for the public office of Town of Clarkstown Town Justice. Thorsen claimed that the signatures in the petitions were insufficient and therefore Weisberg should not be placed on the ballots for those parties.

The court found that Weisberg did not have enough valid and correctly notarized signatures on his Independence Party petition, but he did for his Working Families Party petition.

Michael Bongiorno, former district attorney and current privately practicing local lawyer, signed on as notary for Weisberg, but erred in his job when it came to the Independence Party signatures and a couple of the Working Family Party signatures as well.

Thorsen, in his second term, has already been endorsed by the Democratic Party, Independence Party and Working Families Party.

During the court case that took place on Monday, Eric Ole Thorsen, Thorsen’s attorney, went through the list of signatures that were in question.

The errors by Bongiorno, who failed to put his initials next to corrections on the petition, cost Weisburg nine signatures, leaving him two short. Jamieson ruled that in total, 27 signatures in Weisberg’s Independence Party petition were not valid including the nine Bongiorno erred on.

Weisberg had submitted 150 signatures, and this left him with only 123 potentially valid signatures. He needed a minimum of 125. Therefore, Weisberg’s name will not be placed as a candidate for the Independence Party during the primary election for the public office of Town of Clarkstown Town Justice.

Weisberg had also gathered signatures for a petition for the Working Families Party, where he only needed 11 valid signatures. He delivered 13 signatures.

Both Jimmy Martinus and Rachel Rosenthal testified that they were not sworn in before they signed the petition and they were not informed that their signatures were going to be notarized. Although this is improper and their signatures were disqualified, it does not affect the end result in this case, because Weisberg still had his 11 signatures.

Jamieson ruled Weisberg would remain on the ballot for the Working Families Party.

Walking out of the courtroom, Kristen Zebrowski Stavisky, chairwoman of Rockland Democratic Committee, said, “I think we did pretty well in there.” Following the ruling she said, “I am pleased that the court recognized that Daniel Weisberg’s petitions were invalid. Rolf Thorsen has distinguished himself as a judge and I am confident he will be re-elected by the voters in November.”

Bongiorno recently announced he has opened a private law practice in Rockland County.