The field of seven candidates competing in the race to succeed state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D−Howard Beach) in the City Council was whittled down to five after two contenders were removed from the ballot while the fate of another is up in the air.
Community Board 6 District Manager and Democratic District Leader Frank Gulluscio was removed after a judge threw out his appeal.
Gulluscio’s petition signatures were challenged by Rockaway resident Geraldine Chapey and Judge Phyllis Flug refused to hear Gulluscio’s appeal because of a technicality.
Flug said Gulluscio did not affix service notices to the doors of the homes of two individuals who challenged his petition on behalf of Chapey, according to a source familiar with Gulluscio’s campaign. The source said the notices were placed on the doors, but were not attached with tape, which caused Gulluscio’s appeal to not be heard.
Gulluscio, who was endorsed by Addabbo and was a staffer for the former councilman, collected roughly 2,500 signatures — far more than the 1,098 that are required for the non−partian special election to be held Feb. 24. But Chapey got 1,436 of those signatures thrown out, which left him below the 1,098 threshold.
In a statement, he criticized Chapey for knocking him off the ballot.
“Geraldine Chapey has been on what can only be described as a witch hunt, dragging her opponents into court, causing us hours of wasted time and thousands of dollars in lawyer’s fees,” he said. “She obviously feels that the only way she can win is to eliminate the competition using her lawyer rather than in a fair election by the will of the people.”
The source said Gulluscio is “strongly considering a run in the September primary” instead of appealing the judge’s action.
Howard Beach resident and retired teacher Sam DiBernardo was also removed from the ballot. He collected only 290 signatures, but said he was taken off because of a technicality.
A third Council hopeful, Rockaway resident and retired police lieutenant Glenn DiResto, was still awaiting word on a judge’s decision Tuesday afternoon.
Chapey challenged DiResto’s signatures, but a judge sided with DiResto. She then accused him of voter fraud, but that argument was also thrown out, according to DiResto.
He said Chapey is now trying to knock him off because of a little−known rule that bars candidates in a nonpartisan election to name the party they are running on after an established party.
DiResto named his party Families First, which contains part of the name of the Working Families Party.
“It’s an injustice, but I guess that’s just politics in New York City,” he said. “Until the judge makes a decision, I’m not going to stop campaigning.”
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e−mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 173.
©2009 Community News Group
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