If it were a movie it would be called, “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight.”
The East Hampton Town Republicans haven’t won an election in years, were roundly criticized a few years back for taking huge donations from helicopter companies, suffered the ignominy of having their only viable local candidate bail out and join the opposing party, and face a bleak future because the town Democrats hold a 2-1 edge in affiliated voters.
Oh yes, and they are getting sued over a ballot petition challenge they initiated.
“I wouldn’t say we are being sued,” said Amos Goodman, the chairman of the East Hampton Town GOP, whose tenure as party head is tenuous at best at this juncture.
“They are being sued,” countered Guy Parisi, the attorney involved in the matter. The Independent has obtained a copy of the suit. On October 23 in State Supreme Court in Westchester County, Parisi sued Goodman, Gerard Larsen, and Manny Vilar for $9454.70 plus expenses.
Before the primary, the local GOP challenged the Independence Party, charging it had faulty signatures on petitions that would have placed David Gruber on the ballot. At stake was one seat on the East Hampton Town Board, a seat that had been temporarily filled when David Lys was appointed pending the November election.
As it turned out, the GOP challenge was upheld, Gruber was not allowed to run on the Independence line, and Lys easily bested Manny Vilar, the Republican candidate in last week’s election, even though Lys was technically a Republican at the time. He had already indicated he was switching parties.
Larsen and Vilar joined the suit to remove Gruber from the Independence Party ballot because Larsen’s wife Lisa is an Independence Party member and former candidate who disagreed with the choice of Gruber to begin with. Vilar hoped to get the Independence Party nod should Gruber be removed, though in the end the party did not endorse any candidate.
Parisi is charging he was never paid for his time representing the local GOP in the appeal process. He said not only is the GOP liable, but also individuals from the party who were involved, like Larsen and Vilar, the result of a State Supreme Court ruling Rove v Thornburgh.
Meanwhile Parisi, has other problems to worry about — he’s been hit with a federal indictment for allegedly trying to siphon hundreds of thousands of dollars from the estate of a deceased Mount Vernon man.
“We had a sleazy lawyer who padded his hours and now wants his money. We are dealing with it,” Goodman said.
“Sleazy? I have emails from him. He said in the newspaper he was perfectly happy with my work,” said Parisi.
The series of missteps and poor results at the polls have Goodman rethinking his position as party head. “I’m not a masochist. I don’t want to be a piñata,” he said.