Scheduled for this coming Tuesday June 28th is a Republican Primary to see who will be nominated for the Congressional seat in NY-3, but the primary may not happen. This is the perfect example of why the Republican electorate is so angry in this political season. The powerful GOP machine has been trying for almost three months to keep conservative reformer Philip “Flip” Pidot off the primary ballot. They want to shove their preferred candidate(Jack Martins) down the throats of the district’s voters (one of those voters is yours truly).
Unlike the national party, the Nassau County party machine (led by recently convicted felon Dean Skelos) has real power. They’ve been using underhanded delay tactics to keep Pidot off the ballot or to keep him fighting to get on the ballot until it’s too late (and it’s getting very close to that point).
The Nassau County Machine has little concern for the county voters, they are in politics to enrich themselves and their families. Last month party boss Skelos was sentenced to five years in prison for using his political power to strong-armed companies into paying his 33-year-old son more than $330,000. In fact all across NY State, It is not unusual for leaders of either major party to find themselves being charged with corruption. Last year Politico ran a story proclaiming that New York State was #1 in corruption, and the story of Philip Pidot trying to stay on the primary ballot reeks of standard New York State corrupt operations.
The GOP Machine and their puppet candidate Jack Martins, challenged the petitions Philip Pidot’s submitted to get him on the ballot. In May the NY State Board of Elections (BOE) ruled Pidot was 16 petition signatures short of the 1,250 minimum needed even though he had filed more than enough petition signatures (2,195) to qualify for the ballot. They first ruled that some of his signatures weren’t registered voters. Then, as soon as Pidot attorneys proved to the BOE they the signatures on the petition were valid, lead attorney John Sweeney had campaign wire them the petitions and filed them in Albany as he was instructed by the Board of Elections. The reason he had to file them quickly was that because of the fight at the Board of Elections the “official” filings were late. The machine backed candidate Martins convinced the Board of Elections that the petitions were bad because they were filed in Albany not in Mineola (the Nassau County Seat), and that that it was too late for Mr. Pidot to file them in Mineola. The Board of course ruled against the Pidot campaign, ruling that even though Mr. Sweeney followed directions given to him by the BOE when he filed the petitions in Albany. Are you following this because things are about to get even more foul-smelling.
After the decision by the NY State Board of Elections, Philip Pidot sued to get back on the ballot, but on June 7th Judge Thomas A. Adams threw out the suit. Now when you put the Judge’s ruling in perspective something seems rotten in the State of New York, because there is a precedent which should have convince the Judge to rule in favor of the Pidot’s petition. And one of the Judges who made the ruling is one highly respected by Judge Adams.
In the 2005 case of Gravagna v Board of Elections of City of N.Y., the NY State Appellate Division, Second Department ruled that there are circumstances where a candidate is justified in filing petitions late and in those cases the court should let the petitions be filed. Philip Pidot’s attorney John Sweeney mentioned the precedent of the Gravagna case in his argument before Judge Adams, but to be truthful Mr. Sweeney shouldn’t of had to mention the case because one of the Judges who ruled with the majority in that case was the same Judge Thomas A. Adams who threw out Pidot lawsuit. In other words in making the ruling Judge Adams shot down his own precedent. Talk about a split personality! What Adams said in this latest ruling:
I am not an attorney (I disappointed my parents and never went to law school) but when these layman’s eyes read Judge Adams’ ruling there was no explanation of why he felt the Pidot case was materially different. Perhaps Judges don’t have to explain themselves. They could have asked one of the other judges who ruled in the Gravagna case, like retired Judge Peter Skelos, who just so happens to be the brother of Nassau party boss and soon to be resident of the federal penal system, Dean Skelos.
Last Friday, the State of NY Appellate Court over-ruled Judge Adams saying that he should have followed his own ruling:
“[w]here a court finds that circumstances prevent immediate filing, the signing of an order requiring the subsequent filing at a specific time and date not later than five days thereafter shall commence the action.” Here, the Supreme Court erred in making a determination regarding whether or not circumstances preventing immediate filing were present”
They sent the case back to a lower court to make the expected ruling that Philip Pidot should be on the primary ballot. The lower court should have ruled on Monday. But because of legal maneuvering and delays by the Nassau County machine candidate Mr. Martins, as of this writing (Thursday) no ruling has been made.
The GOP primary for the 3rd congressional district of NY is supposed to be in five days. Which means the Judge can rule that Pidot should have been on the ballot but it is too late to print them out, or rule that the county should pay for overtime and get the ballots ready for Election Day, or even he could rule that the primary should be moved.
For those voters who are upset about the party establishment dictating who will be placed on the ballot, this is one of the most egregious cases ever. If the court rules that it is too late to get Philip Pidot even though he should have been allowed, it means a conservative candidate will not represent the party in the general elections, not because he couldn’t convince voters, but because a party machine run by a soon to be resident of a federal prison has determined that NY-3 voters should not be given the choice. And that machine was helped by a Judge who ignored his own precedent-setting ruling to delay the case further. Even if it had nothing to do with Judge Adams’ decision, the fact that he was placed on the ballot by the same political machine fighting against Pidot makes his ruling stink even more.
Next Tuesday I will be going to the voting booth in the NY State Primary, hopefully Philip Pidot will be on the ballot, either that or the primary will be delayed until he can be on the ballot.
There will be a follow up to this post once Judge Diamond rules.
UPDATE– GOOD NEWS:
Judge Arthur Diamond of Nassau County held today that Philip Pidot, a reformer and conservative, will appear on GOP primary ballot against Albany insider and machine politician Jack Martins in NY3. The date of the primary is yet to be determined.
Tenacious Truth PAC expresses its deep congratulations to Mr. Pidot and relief that justice was served. The Republican voters of Nassau and Suffolk counties deserve a choice and it is now clear they will get it.
Pidot’s persistence is testament to his character and willingness to challenge the status quo, no matter how powerful, entrenched, and corrupt.
This is the first crack in the Skelos-Martins machine on Long Island in a very long time.