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Jul 28, 2009 8:18 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Gardiner's petition is challenged

Jul 28, 2009 8:18 PM

The East Hampton Republican Committee’s treasurer has filed a challenge to Bill Gardiner’s petition to wage a primary for a Town Board seat on the GOP line. Mr. Gardiner needed 216 signatures by July 16 to get his name on the primary ballot and had received 387 signatures.

Don Cirillo and his wife, Carole Campolo, who this week also filed an ethics complaint against Democratic Town Supervisor candidate Ben Zwirn, filed complaints alleging that a large number of signatures on Mr. Gardiner’s petitions were invalid, duplicated or falsely witnessed.

Mr. Gardiner said that after a cursory look at the complaint, which he received in the mail on Tuesday, July 28, he believed that only 30 of the signatures were challenged.

“The objection is very vague. I’m not sure why they filed it,” he said. “They called out two signatures because they claimed that one of the people witnessing signatures didn’t witness it. They circled 30 signatures and wrote ‘out’ next to them. My knee-jerk reaction is that it’s frivolous.”

Mr. Cirillo, however, said that he and Ms. Campolo had discovered serious ethical violations in the way the signatures were collected.

“We’re not signaling out Mr. Gardiner,” said Mr. Cirillo. “It’s no vendetta against Bill. It’s about an integrity issue in this town and us maintaining that we’re squeaky clean.”

Mr. Cirillo said that one sheet full of signatures, which Mr. Gardiner signed as a witness, was xeroxed, and another was signed by witness David T. Rubenstein, when four of the people who signed those petitions said that they were approached by a “nice young girl,” not Mr. Rubenstein. He said that those four signers gave him and his wife sworn affidavits of their experience that he submitted to the Board of Elections.

“There were some identical names. We also have instances where some people weren’t really registered voters. Some were Democrats. Some were blanks,” he said.

Though Democratic Town Supervisor candidate Ben Zwirn this week decried Ms. Campolo’s inquiry into his character as the work of Republican Supervisor candidate Bill Wilkinson’s operatives, Mr. Cirillo said that he and Ms. Campolo, who is a former deputy executive director of the New York City Campaign Finance Board, had agreed to work together because of the ease of working with someone who lives in the same house.

“Rather than run around like lunatics, we both signed them for formality’s sake and speed. It was done for nothing else other than ease,” he said.

Though East Hampton Republican co-chairman John Behan said that the committee backed Mr. Cirillo’s challenge, party co-chair Trace Duryea said that not all members of the committee were in agreement.

“There was no executive committee meeting. There are feelings among some committee members that they might have been supportive of it,” she said. “It was filed by an individual. He’s a stickler for doing things correctly. The process was not done in a truthful or competent manner.”

Mr. Gardiner, meanwhile, said that he expects the results of the challenge from the Board of Elections by the middle of next week.

“They spelled my name wrong. That alone is enough to have it thrown out,” he said. “You don’t just take potshots.”

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Who, Mr. Gardiner, or this reporter, are "they" that spelled Mr. Gardiner's name wrong? His campaign managers, the Board of Elections?Alleging "fraud", in my opinion, is not a "potshot". I bet the Republican's are glad to be rid of Bill Gardiner once and for all - along with his "I'll sling mud against anyone if I'm paid for it" campaign managers Lona and David Rubenstein (who are also, ironically, currently promoting Ben Zwirn) . There is only so much self-serving people can get away with in ...more
By Board Watcher (532), East Hampton on Jul 29, 09 12:01 AM
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