By Mark Hallum
The petition feud between state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) and her Democratic primary opponent, S.J. Jung, moved to State Supreme Court as Jung brought his attempt to knock Stavisky off the ballot to trial.
Both camps announced victories from the trial in press releases, with Stavisky making it known that the Supreme Court had rejected Jung’s challenge to her petition signatures, and Jung announcing he had succeeded in proving more of Stavisky’s signatures invalid. Ultimately, the court ruled that not enough signatures had been shaved away to disqualify Stavisky from running for re-election.
The official ruling from Justice Timothy Dufficy is not yet publicly available], city lawyers said. Both candidates sent out press releases containing their own interpretations of the decision.
The Stavisky camp said Dufficy upheld the decision of a city Board of Elections hearing Aug. 1 which determined that even after challenges reduced her signatures to 1,296, she still met the minimum of 1,000. At the hearing, the board knocked off a 2,223 of Stavisky’s 3,519 signatures, according to the BOE clerk’s report. The Supreme Court trial disqualified about an additional 160 signatures.
“I am extremely grateful for the work Darryl Fox and our legal team did in preparing for this case,” Jung said in his release. “Darryl Fox is one of the best election lawyers in New York and did an outstanding job.”
Stavisky told a different story, however, quoting the court which she said described Jung’s argument as a “poorly prepared case,” with a majority of objections that were “frivolous.” Her lawyers were able to restore an undeclared number of signatures which had been taken off, she said.
Jung’s campaign repeated its charges of alleged patronage within the BOE, where officials appoint friends and family to keep control.
“Sen. Stavisky’s petitions have been gutted by the BOE and the court,” said Kyle Sullivan, Jung’s campaign manager. “The court, however, refused to follow standard legal procedure. It was nothing but a kangaroo court, controlled by the Queens Democratic Party and their lawyers.”
Stavisky campaign manager Veronca Ng said Jung had attempted to have signatures removed based on gender and ethnicity.
“They challenged many signatures of Asian Americans who choose to use an American name, and sought to disqualify women who had used their married name,” she said.
Jung challenged Stavisky two years ago for her seat in the 2014 primary, which she won with 60 percent of the vote.
Lawyers from the Corporation Council of the City of New York, who represented Stavisky, said the court documents could be available next week
The Democratic primary is scheduled for Sept. 13.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall