There is only one seat up for grabs on the East Hampton Town Board, but the race is turning into a doozy.
The Independent has learned that the nomination of Independence Party candidate David Gruber will be challenged. One of the reasons: allegedly, a dead man signed one of his petitions.
There’s more, said Amos Goodman, the Republican Party chairman: investigators have interviewed numerous Gruber petition “signees” who swore they didn’t, in fact, sign.
The race is already a bit of a Rubik’s Cube to figure out. David Lys, a registered Republican, was named by the East Hampton Town Board to fill the remainder of Peter Van Scoyoc’s term after Van Scoyoc, a Democrat, was elected supervisor last year. There is a year remaining on the term.
Lys has announced he will become a Democrat, but must wait until after November’s general election. Lys then petitioned and was granted a place on the Democratic Party line.
That didn’t sit well with David Gruber, a local Democrat and party insider with considerable clout — and money. Gruber announced he would force a Democratic Party primary and challenge Lys.
Meanwhile, the Independence Party wanted to run Lisa Larsen for the town board spot. “But she never really intended to run,” charged Elaine Jones, the Independence Party head. “She was a placeholder for Manny Vilar.”
Vilar, a Republican, lost to Van Scoyoc in last year’s supervisor’s race. Larsen decided not to run after all — but not because she was a placeholder, as Jones claimed, Goodman said.
“Her mother is very sick and was placed in hospice,” Goodman related. He said he asked Jones if Vilar could run in Larsen’s place. Vilar would need a waiver called a Wilson Pakula to do so because he is not a member of the Independence Party. “They called and tried to cut a deal and I told them to drop dead,” Jones said.
The next step is a hearing before the Suffolk County Board of Elections to determine the validity of Gruber’s petitions. It could end up in court.
“We have a stack of the petitions that are no good, all witnessed by Pat Mansir,” Goodman said. Mansir is a former town board member who, at one time of another, has run as a member of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.
She is now a member of The Independence Party.
She allegedly signed up the dead guy. “She couldn’t fix the town budget, so I doubt she can raise the dead,” Goodman said.
“Maybe she approached someone with the same name as a dead guy,” Jones offered.