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Aug 7, 2017 8:48 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Board Of Elections Boots Havemeyer From September Democratic Primary Ballot

Fred Havemeyer lost his bid to challange Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman in the primary.  PRESS FILE
Aug 8, 2017 6:21 PM

The Suffolk County Board of Elections has rejected Fred Havemeyer’s petition to challenge incumbent Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman for the Democratic Party line, ruling on Monday afternoon that he did not submit at least 500 legitimate signatures to make the September primary ballot.

Following a formal review, the Board of Elections ruled that 362 signatures collected by Mr. Havemeyer—more than half of the 699 he submitted on his petition prior to last month’s deadline—were invalid. That left him with only 337 valid signatures, 163 shy of the 500 required to get his name on the ballot.

The ruling essentially ends Mr. Havemeyer’s attempt to wrestle the Democratic line from Mr. Schneiderman, who is seeking reelection to the post for the first time this November, though the challenger said he has not yet made a decision on whether he will mount a write-in campaign.

“They were tossed out for a couple different reasons,” Nick LaLota, the Republican commissioner, said of the invalid signatures on Tuesday.

He explained that some of those who signed Mr. Havemeyer’s petition to get on the September 12 ballot were not registered to vote, while others were not registered Democrats. Others who signed the petition do not reside in Southampton Town, according to Mr. LaLota.

Mr. Havemeyer needed the signatures of at least 500 registered Democrats residing in the municipality.

When reached on Tuesday, Mr. Havemeyer said he was surprised by the ruling, explaining that those who were collecting signatures on his behalf referenced a Board of Elections-issued walking book that lists the names and addresses of all registered Democrats residing in the town.

“The thing that confuses me is that the people who were obtaining the signatures had the walking book that has the people’s names and streets,” Mr. Havemeyer said.

He added that he did not collect any signatures himself—that job, he said, was handled by his campaign manager David Reisfield, who also serves as executive director of the Long Island Environmental Voters Forum. The group pushed Mr. Havemeyer, a former Southampton Town Trustee from Bridgehampton, to challenge Mr. Schneiderman for the Democratic line in the first place.

Mr. Reisfield did not return multiple calls this week.

Mr. Havemeyer said he has no plans to appeal the Board of Elections ruling, citing the recommendation of his attorney, Vincent Messina of Sinnreich Kosakoff & Messina LLP in Central Islip. The supervisor hopeful said it would cost too much, and take too much time, to track down all 362 people whose names were thrown out. Mr. Messina could not be immediately reached for comment.

As for Mr. Schneiderman, he will carry both the Democratic and Independence party lines on the November ballot, when he faces Republican challenger Raymond Overton, another former Town Trustee.

The sitting supervisor also said Tuesday that the commission’s decision to toss more than half of the signatures on Mr. Havemeyer’s petition is proof that he was never a serious candidate.

“They threw out more than half the signatures—that ought to tell you something,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “He tried to pull a fast one, and he got caught.”

Mr. Schneiderman speculated that additional signatures could have been thrown out if Mr. Havemeyer opted to appeal the commissioners’ ruling and head to court.

In a prepared statement issued Monday evening, Mr. Havemeyer blamed the sitting supervisor, whom the Southampton Town Democrats tapped for reelection earlier this summer, for derailing his bid to get on the ballot.

“Jay Schneiderman used every trick in the book to extinguish our primary challenge, because he was afraid to defend his record,” Mr. Havemeyer said in the statement. “We collected more than enough signatures to secure a place on the ballot, but our severely broken political system is dedicated to the protection of incumbents, thus it is unlikely we could have prevailed in court.”

Mr. Schneiderman said Tuesday that he thinks his former opponent “has it backward.”

“He’s trying to pretend he has a movement because 15 people were there,” Mr. Schneiderman said, referring to a rally Mr. Havemeyer held last month outside of Southampton Town Hall. “He is trying to say I’m trying to deny the people the right to choose [a town supervisor]. That’s just garbage. In fact, a number of people who signed his petition thought they were signing for me. His petitioners were telling people he was signing for the Democratic slate.”

Mr. Schneiderman also criticized Mr. Havemeyer for allowing Mr. Reisfield to push him to run for supervisor on the sole premise that, if elected, Mr. Havemeyer would reject “The Hills at Southampton” application, a proposed luxury golf course resort community that would feature 117 homes and targets nearly 600 acres in East Quogue.

“Fred is a single-issue candidate,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “As you know, he’s all about The Hills. He was put up by David Reisfield and [Long Island Environmental Voters Forum President] Dick Amper, both of whom are out-of-towners. But they decided to meddle in our election.”

Mr. Havemeyer dismissed Mr. Schneiderman’s comments, adding that he will continue push the Town Board to reject The Hills application, filed by the Discovery Land Company of Arizona, while also focusing on other efforts to protect the environment.

“While my name will not appear on the ballot, I intend to continue my campaign to re-prioritize the environment as a major objective of government in Southampton,” Mr. Havemeyer said in the prepared statement. “I will continue to campaign to kill ‘The Hills,’ and to preserve open space and protect our water.”

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Never saw that coming... LOL.

Good job, Turkey Bridge et al, now if you could only stop Ray Overton from running, Jay may be able to do your bidding for another 2 years.

By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Aug 8, 17 7:14 AM
Write in Fred Havermeyer in the Primary...
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Aug 8, 17 9:31 AM
2 members liked this comment
Write in Candidacy? LOL...You could not demonstrate the administrative skills to come up with legitimate signatures from your own party and you want voters to entrust Town administration to you? Please.
By Toma Noku (616), Southampton on Aug 8, 17 10:27 AM
Just how threatenng was Havemeyer's candidacy that the dem party went after him? Just asking......
By Taz (725), East Quogue on Aug 8, 17 10:35 AM
1 member liked this comment
Have to love these Democrats - biggest hypocrites in the world.
By HamptonDad (236), Hampton Bays on Aug 8, 17 10:46 AM
seems legit lol
By joeg (31), Hampton Bays on Aug 8, 17 12:24 PM
His petitions were misleading and additionally contained signatures that didn't belong to registered Democrats. All of the other candidates were able to come up with 500 certified signatures. Havemeyer did not.

Do all of you critical of the Board of Elections ruling want them to suspend the rules for Mr. Havemeyer? It seems like the detractors here are the same crowd who are constantly saying that Trump won so get over it.
By Arnold Timer (327), Sag Harbor on Aug 8, 17 2:24 PM
2 members liked this comment
Well said, Mr. Timer.
By number19 (111), Westhampton on Aug 9, 17 3:53 PM
1 member liked this comment
42 days since TB Rec'd FEIS. Calls to TB referred to Planning Dept go unanswered. Jay, where r u? Turkey Bridge, hope u like the Hills, looks like it's a done deal. Thx.
By Taz (725), East Quogue on Aug 10, 17 12:00 PM
School yourself on the process. It will save you a lot of time posting on here. Again, there are rules being followed here. Ones which eliminated Fred Havemeyer from running because he and his supporters didn't follow them.

It has nothing to do whatsoever with the stance taken by Turkey Bridge or any other Democrat. It has everything to do with a lack of support and a lack of competence.
By Mark Hissey (171), East Quogue on Aug 10, 17 11:42 PM
Did anyone see how Jay Schneiderman's next fund raiser is at the Sebonac Golf Club? That is the golf club that was formerly headed by Mark Hissey of Discovery Land Company. I think or last chance to stop the Hills died when my Democrats denied us the chance to vote for Fred.
By CleanWaters (80), Southampton on Aug 10, 17 12:57 PM
1 member liked this comment
And what is your point? Why wouldn't the Supervisor do that if he was offered the opportunity by the owner? I'm sure you are familiar with Dick Amper and Bob DeLuca. They've held numerous fundraisers for the Pine Barrens Society and the Group For the East End at Sebonack also. Ones which have raised their organizations plenty of money. Ones with they took advantage of for free from guess who? Southampton Town.

This is the same Southampton who studies the issues thoroughly, plays by the ...more
By Mark Hissey (171), East Quogue on Aug 10, 17 9:46 PM
Mr. Hissey you have made my point for me. Jay Schneiderman is not in favor of the environment, he supports the Hills, he is not a Democrat and he does not support our parties values. While I do not support the Republicans I cannot support the hypocrites that are in the Democrat Party's leadership or these non Democrat candidates that they give us year after year.
By CleanWaters (80), Southampton on Aug 11, 17 8:56 AM
1 member liked this comment
The only benefit of the Hills is to the developers and their investors and paid off officials.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Aug 11, 17 6:05 AM
The developers of The Hills will make $200 million from this zoning variance -- give $100 million to the Town of Southampton which will cover 1 year of outlays for our school systems and build away. We'll have a year of free schools for the taxpayers! Yay!
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Aug 11, 17 9:22 AM
What is the status of the FEIS? Town will not return calls. 46 days since submission.Any reports back yet from consultants? Hope we get info simultaneouisly with DLC.
By Taz (725), East Quogue on Aug 15, 17 12:23 PM