The no-nonsense New York State Supreme Court Justice Joan B. Lefkowitz was witness to the opening salvo of allegations of election fraud from the legal team representing the Yonkers’ mayoral candidacy of Richard Martinelli against the candidacy of Carlo Calvi, who are both desirous to wrestle a Republican Primary win on September 13, 2011.
The upcoming Republican Primary is being contested by Carlo Calvi , who is also the Independence Party designee; Richard Martinelli, who holds the Conservative Party endorsement; and John Murtagh, the Republican Party designee. The three way race is almost certain to maintain Murtagh’s designation. The so-called spoiler here is Calvi whose challenge encroaches onto Martinelli’s chances to take the Republican endorsement from Murtagh. The seemingly weakest contender among the three contestants has been judged by the Martinelli campaign effort to be Calvi. Mr Calvi submitted over 1800 petitions to the Westchester County Board of Elections (WCBoE). Of those submitted, the WCBoE validated 1365 signatures. Legal Counsel Jerry Goldfeder, representing the Martinelli campaign effort yesterday, August 2, 2011, began a legal challenge questioning the veracity of some of the 1365 validated signatures garnered by the Calvi campaign effort. Only 1000 signatures are required to qualify. Goldfeder, representing the Martinelli campaign effort alleges the Calvi campaign effort, specifically in the presence of Carlo Calvi and his wife, Julia Calvi, perpetrated election fraud. That issue may be decided in the Honorable Joan Lefkowitz’s Court today, or within days. In reality, the challenge to the Calvi campaign effort, by attacking the personal integrity of Carlo and Julia Calvi’s conduct in the collection of signatures in the petition process is a thinly veiled attempt by the Martinelli campaign effort to derail Calvi ever being permitted to participate in the Yonkers Republican City Committee Primary Election.
The reason for these cloak and dagger antics exposes Martinelli’s campaign efforts inability to wrestle the present Republican designation from Murtagh. The likely Republican Primary voters reside in the 5th and 6th Yonkers City Council Districts (YCCD) . Calvi lives in the 5th YCCD, and Murtgah resides in and presently represents the 5th YCCD as its Yonkers City Council Minority Leader.
Calvi has a long and respected history as a Yonkers City Councilman, lawyer, and engineer among these voters. Murtagh, too, has a strong relationship within the 5th YCCD, although he has exhibited an aloof and condescending demeanor to too many potential voters; even so, Murtagh has strong backing from the Yonkers City Republican Committee heirarchy of ward leaders and district leaders.
The 1365 petiton signatures presented to the Westchester County Board of Elections (WCBoE) were validated under the aegis of WCBoE Democrat Commissioner Reginald Lafayette and WCBoE Republican Commissioner Doug Colety. The WCBoE does not have the jurisdiction to ascertain “fraud,” to which legal challenge must be brought before the court to be prove such an allegation. It seems unlikely 366 of those signatures will be found to have been fraudulently attained. Any number below 1000 would disqualify Calvi’s primary election process before the Yonkers Republican City Committee.
Legal Counsel Jeff Binder represented Calvi before Judge Lefkowitz’s court.
It was disconcerting to have signatories subpoenaed to be present. who were scrutinized by each respective lawyer, in a manner not easily comprehended by these elderly witnesses. The lawyers were short with them, laughing at their incongruous thought processes and not always lucid responses. The lack of clarity could have more easily been discerned had each lawyer taken the time to facilitate the respective responses they sought with compassion rather than condescension. Instead, Goldfeder and Binder were more enamored with their, at times, over the top theatrics than their search for a retelling of happenstance. With one witness, a language problem became evident. The witness was alert but was rattled by questions posed to her in a language pattern she could not easily discern.
But the events of Tuesday, August 2, 2011, are nothing more than an opaque effort to distance the public from the political game plan.
The game plan is to find whatever mechanisms are possible to thwart, dissuade, or neuter any effort by Calvi to maintain his effort in the Republican Primary. This is because Martinelli cannot win a three-way race against both Calvi and Murtagh. Without the Republican endorsement, Martinelli’s hopes for the mayoralty are dashed. Were Martinelli to maintain his effort beyond the Republican Primary through to the General Election without the Republican endorsement, Martinelli will find it an impossibility to win the prize with only the support of the Conservative Party. Further, Murtagh is unlikely to make it to the finish line without the Conservative Party backing or the Independence Party line.
As it sits now, Martinelli’s prospects for wrestling the Republican Party designation from Murtagh is minimal.
Dr. Giulio Cavallo, Westchester Conservative Party Chairman was present at the Tuesday hearing. His presence was inappropriate. He has endorsed the Calvi campaign. At issue for the Independence Party is whether their endorsement of Calvi has been perceived by the public to be passive support of Mike Spano’s mayoral campaign effort in the Democrat Primary, also being held on September 13, 2011. Spano is the Democrat Party designee.
The Conservative Party is stuck with having endorsed the Martinelli campaign effort. The Independence Party has a few more options at their disposal. As an employee of the New York State Democrats, Dr. Cavallo, Chairman of the Independence Party can in time suggest Calvi pull out of the race by nominating him to a position of judge. Were that to happen, Cavallo could then designate another candidate with the support of the Independence Party designation. The cascade of circumstances described have been adamantly refuted by Calvi to not be his goal. Calvi is focused on winning the General Election in November 2011. He has no interest in being nominated to a judgeship.