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Aug 14, 2018 6:43 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Elections Board Validates East Hampton Petitions, But Court Case Looms

Amos Goodman
Aug 14, 2018 1:07 PM

The Suffolk County Board of Elections has certified as valid the East Hampton Independence Party petitions in support of David Gruber as the party’s nominee—although a court challenge to the petitions is still pending and due to be heard in court later this week.

County Election Commissioner Anita Katz confirmed that the Board of Elections performed a bipartisan review of the petitions submitted in support of Mr. Gruber, a Democrat, receiving the Independence Party nomination. The BOE approved them on technical grounds, such as their being properly filled out, containing the apparent signatures of registered party members, and meeting the requisite demands for signatures by party members.

The election commissioners ruled 11 of the 73 signatures submitted in support of Mr. Gruber invalid, but found the other 64 to be valid. That is 10 more than the minimum needed for Mr. Gruber to be nominated for the party’s line.

Commissioners said they could not comment on what signatures were found invalid, or why, since the petitions are still the subject of a court challenge.

“On the things we can vote on, we voted,” said Ms. Katz, the Democratic commissioner. “We do not vote on accusations. So, it’s up to a judge at this point.”

Accusations of fraud and forgery will be the subject of court hearings on Thursday, August 16, in Central Islip before Judge Carol MacKenzie. The East Hampton Town Republican Party has charged members of the Independence Party with forging the signatures of some party members—including one who apparently is deceased—on the petitions they submitted in favor of Mr. Gruber, the party committee’s chosen candidate.

Republican Chairman Amos Goodman has led what he’s called an “aggressive” campaign of political gamesmanship to get the Republican candidate, Manny Vilar, on the Independence line for the November special East Hampton Town Board election. He hired a private investigator to collect affidavits from at least eight members of the party saying that they didn’t sign petitions that appeared to have their signatures on them.

Ms. Katz said such cases typically come down to a judge reviewing each signature on a petition, one by one, comparing them to the official signatures on file for the voter in question.

If Judge MacKenzie rules at least 10 signatures on the ballots to be invalid, Mr. Gruber’s petition will be set aside, and the Independence line will be blank in the November election. If the Gruber petitions remain, he will be guaranteed to be on the November ballot even if he loses the Democratic Party primary next month to incumbent East Hampton Town Councilman David Lys.

All of those who signed affidavits denying that their signatures are valid were listed on petition sheets submitted by Pat Mansir, a former town councilwoman and vice chair of the Independence Party. Ms. Mansir has denied forging any signatures and said that she was subpoenaed last week to appear in court on Thursday.

Independence Party Chairwoman Elaine Jones has leveled fraud accusations of her own at Mr. Goodman, who she says seems to have himself forged dozens of signatures on both Republican Party and Independence Party petitions. Ms. Jones has said she wants to take the Republican petitions to court, but state election law seems to preclude such a challenge at this late date.

“Amos Goodman should resign as chair of that party—he’s going to do a lot of damage with his own personal agenda and vendettas,” Ms. Jones said this week. “I’m surprised the Republicans are letting him run around doing this. Not that two wrongs make a right—I think we may both have mistakes—but I’m looking at 12 pages of signatures, and they all look very bad to me. And he’s a notary. That’s a very important position … of integrity.”

Mr. Goodman, who is indeed a notary public, has denied forging any signatures and taunted Ms. Jones. “There is no avenue, judicial, administrative or otherwise, to challenge anything now,” he said in a note this week. “So my petitions are valid by default. But she’s welcome to try. And she should, rather than just squawking.

“The suggestion that I resign is nonsense,” he added. “No, ma’am, I’m just getting started. And, in any event, I serve at the pleasure of my committee, not Elaine Jones.”

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Only last week, Elaine denied anything was wrong with her petitions, and now it's well "mistakes were made" and "they did it too.?!? Come on lady! Why would anyone trust this serial liar? Put up, as Amos has, or shut up.

As for Patsy M., she has been playing loose and fast with ethics for years, from her time as McGintee's sidekick, to her ignominious tenure as a Trustee, which was marred with contract improprieties. TIme to hang it up!
By SpringsBub (11), Springs on Aug 14, 18 9:32 AM
Oh we will put up AS AMOS HAS. How did he NOTARIZE a dead man's signature on his petition? KARL W HORLITZ?

Elaine Jones
By housewife (79), east hampton on Aug 14, 18 3:14 PM