BY MICHAEL RICONDA
New City – Preserve Rockland, which is running candidates for various local elections in Clarkstown, is facing a challenge to their candidates’ petitions in the latest of several election season court battles.
On August 23, the Board invalidated candidacy petitions for Council candidate John Noto, Supervisor candidate Brian Moran, and Highway Superintendent candidate Dennis Malone. According to the official notice, a variety of errors and technical issues, mostly related to numbering, prompted the Board to rule the petitions inadmissible.
The candidates responded by filing suit and appearing before Judge Gerald P. Loehr to plead their case on September 3. Thomas Humbach, who is representing the three candidates, contested the issues with numbering were correct when the petitions were submitted and none of the flaws were grounds to completely discard the petitions.
“These issues are curable,” Humbach argued.
No dismissal was granted to the plaintiffs and the challenge is likely to be brought to testimony. Legislator and County Executive candidate Ed Day, who attended the first hearing, explained Loehr might be attempting to facilitate a resolution as soon as possible to minimize the suit’s impact on the election season.
Challenges to petitions have been commonplace throughout the county executive race, but the latest challenge is among the first to challenge local election candidates. Most recently, Candidate Ilan Schoenberger filed suit to invalidate Candidate Ed Day’s petitions to create a countywide Preserve Rockland line after he himself retained the Independence Party line against a petition challenge (see p1).
In July, County Executive candidate and former Spring Valley justice David Fried brought fellow candidates Dagan Lacorte and Anthony Leon to court to invalidate their petitions. A decision for Lacorte was overturned on appeal and both Lacorte and Leon have since been removed from the ballot.
Before this, Simon Leschinsky fought to stay on the Conservative Party line after his petitions were challenged by Day. Leschinsky won in court and remains in the primary race against opponent Tom Sullivan.