By Phil Corso
Two weeks after a controversial vote in the only contested slate of the Bayside Village Business Improvement District’s annual board election, Mitch Catanzano was named the victor over former Executive Director Gregg Sullivan as the board’s only resident representative.
Known to be a vocal critic of the BID, which will oversee a budget of $131,000, Sullivan argued he was unfairly steered away from receiving votes in the election after initially confirming with Executive Director Lyle Sclair that he would be running as a commercial tenant and not as a resident. The confusion led to an issue about the validity of proxy votes, putting the final election results on hold for nearly two weeks.
“I was told in no uncertain terms that the law states that I would automatically be bumped up to [a commercial tenant] and had to run in that category,” Sullivan said. “Those being the rules I was given to follow, I campaigned as a commercial tenant nominee and secured 27 proxy votes of business owners who could not attend the meeting as well as populated the meeting with at least another 15 people who would be voting for me at the meeting itself.”
According to Sclair, the city determined the two proxy votes in question were valid and finalized a tally of four total votes, three of which were for Catanzano.
But Sullivan also argued that the election results were misleading, contesting that only three votes were recorded, two of which were for him. He said the BID was not clear to its members on voting rules, which caused much of the confusion.
Of the 12 members voted in at the BID’s annual meeting July 16, Sclair said five members were new faces on the executive board.
“We are moving forward,” Sclair said.
Though he initially contested the election, accusing the BID of foul play in hindering his ability to achieve board member status, Sullivan sent a statement to Elizabeth De Leon, deputy commissioner of the city Department of Small Business Services, withdrawing his candidacy and congratulating Catanzano on his newfound position on the board.
“In full disclosure, my situation with the BID has been devastating to me financially and I am at a place in our society where futures can go either way,” Sullivan said. “With the help and oversight of SBS, I am confident that a perfect outcome from all of this can be easily achieved and a very promising new business can be born that will benefit each and every community that it gets a chance to grow into.”
As for the rest of the executive board, the BID announced Monday Dominick Bruccoleri of Papazzio restaurant was named chairman. Board members John DeFina and Pat Perulli were named vice chairmen. Sclair also said he would work with the board to establish committees open to all, including a new committee aimed at developing relationships between all BID members.
Looking forward, Sullivan said he would instead focus his attention toward BaysideLiveTV, his community-based television channel.
“All my actions have been motivated by one singleness of purpose — to serve Bayside as best I could and where I saw it needed help, make contributions towards its betterment and towards placing it back on a good track and towards a brighter, more prosperous future,” Sullivan said. “In that regard, I hope I have served you all well and believe you are all starting to see the return of more business to the street and higher profits.”
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4573.