By Betsy Scheinbart
Liberal Party candidate Anthony Andrews and Democratic nominee Allan Jennings continued to spar into the final stretch of the race for City Councilman Thomas White’s (D-Jamaica) seat.
Also on the ballot Nov. 6 will be a Republican and several third-party candidates, all of whom originally had petitioned to be on the ballot as Democrats.
The allegations began to fly between the Andrews and Jennings camps after Jennings defeated Andrews in the Sept. 25 Democratic primary for Council District 28, which covers Jamaica, Richmond Hill and Rochdale Village.
Last week Jennings criticized Andrews for including the names of U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-St. Albans) and state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans) in his column of supporters in the campaign literature Andrews sent to voters after the primary. He retained the support of Councilwoman Juanita Watkins (D-Laurelton) and state Assemblywoman Pauline Rhodd-Cummings (D-Far Rockaway).
Meeks and Smith endorsed Andrews in the Democratic primary, but are supporting Jennings in the general election. Andrews said he recirculated the campaign materials after the labeling company he used, Prime New York, misdirected the majority of the 15,000 fliers he sent out before the primary.
Prime New York did not return a phone call by press time.
Andrews said he was not aware that Meeks and Smith were no longer supporting him when he resent the mailings earlier this month. Meeks and Smith said they were upset Andrews did not call them before he redistributed the material.
“I’m disappointed that they have decided to support someone else,” Andrews said of Meeks and Smith, “However, I am proud of the fact that I have maintained support from council members White and Watkins and Assemblywoman Rhodd-Cummings.”
Jennings said Andrews “was intentionally lying and being deceptive” when he sent out the mailings.
Meanwhile, Andrews raised questions about Jennings’ campaign finances after Andrews said a woman told him her grandson had not been paid for the work he did in Jennings’ campaign.
Jennings said the delay in paying some of the people who worked for him was caused by the World Trade Center disaster in which his campaign treasurer, Frank Lin, was killed and his financial records destroyed.
Frank Barry, a spokesman for the Campaign Finance Board, said it appeared that Lin was in charge of all of the Jennings campaign funds.
“I cannot confirm straight up or down whether he has access to any money,” Barry said of Jennings. “He did lose all his records and we have been working with him to try to recreate his records.”
Barry said that while the board was able to recover the campaign bank account number, he was not sure if Jennings had access to the money as a signatory.
Jennings told the TimesLedger he did not have access to the funds but had recently appointed a new treasurer to his campaign and guaranteed that every campaign worker who was not paid would get paid.
“There are a few people who worked on Election Day who haven’t gotten their checks,” Jennings said, “but everyone is going to get paid.”
Also on the ballot in Council District 28 are several former contenders for the Democratic nomination: Patrick Jenkins, Rameshwar Jodha, Garth Marchant and Inderjit Singh.
Jenkins had already secured the nomination of the Working Families Party when he was knocked off the Democratic ticket during the petitioning process, so he remained on the ballot as a Working Families Party candidate.
Jodha, a former Republican, returned to the Republican Party after he was knocked off the ballot as a Democrat and got back on after several registered Republicans wrote in his name during the primary.
Jodha said he had to fight to get those votes recognized because “for some reason, somebody, I do not know who — Democrat or Republican — does not want me to have that line.”
Marchant lost the Democratic primary and then successfully worked to get back on the ballot as a candidate with the unofficial Fusion Party.
“Fusion is about coming together,” Marchant said. “Former Mayor [Fiorello] LaGuardia came up with the idea of the Fusion Party.”
Singh said he fought in court to get on the ballot with the Independence Party after being removed as a Democrat because “I feel people should have access to the ballot box.”
Singh said he wanted voters to have the opportunity to pick the best qualified candidate, who will “not only do the job properly but also bring distinction to the community.”
Andrews, Jenkins, Marchant and Singh all consider themselves Democrats running on other lines, but Jodha said he was “more of a people person than a party person,” adding that he agreed more with the ideals of the Republican Party than with the Democratic Party.
Trevor Rupnarain, who lost the Democratic primary Sept. 25, is listed by the Board of Elections on the tentative candidates’ list as a Green Party candidate. He did not return phone calls by press time.
Reach reporter Betsy Scheinbart by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300 Ext. 138.