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Jun 24, 2009 11:28 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Guldi is considering another bid for public office

Jun 24, 2009 11:28 AM

This year’s anticipated four-way race for Suffolk County’s 2nd Legislative District seat, currently held by Montauk resident Jay Schneiderman, could soon grow by one controversial candidate.

Former Suffolk County Legislator George O. Guldi of Westhampton Beach, who was arrested in March on felony fraud and grand larceny charges stemming from an alleged $50 million mortgage fraud scheme targeting the East End, said this week that is he considering a run for his old seat. Mr. Guldi, a Democrat and an attorney with an office in Westhampton Beach, held the post now occupied by Mr. Schneiderman for 10 years before losing to the incumbent in 2003.

“I’m not going to be intimidated out of running,” said Mr. Guldi, explaining that he was considering such a run in February before he was arrested by Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota’s office.

If he does decide to make another bid for public office, Mr. Guldi would most likely have to wage a primary election against Thomas Henry of Remsenburg, who, according to officials, is the candidate most likely to earn the endorsement of the Suffolk County Democratic Party. Mr. Henry, who has not yet received the endorsement of Democrats, worked as a legislative aide for Mr. Guldi when he held the county office, according to Mr. Guldi.

“Unlike some people, I don’t think contested races are a bad thing,” Mr. Guldi said about waging a primary election. “I think they’re a good thing.”

Richard Schaffer, the chairman of the Suffolk County Democratic Committee, did not return calls this week seeking comment.

Mr. Schneiderman, who defeated Mr. Guldi in 2003, is looking to secure his fourth two-year term of office. But unlike his previous bids, Mr. Schneiderman plans to seek reelection this year as a member of the Independence Party. He switched his party affiliation from Republican to Independence last summer, citing his unhappiness with the way his fellow GOPers were running things in Washington, D.C.

Rounding out the race are Robert Coyle of Sag Harbor, the possible Republican candidate for the legislative seat, and Susan Betzy Heckman of Westhampton, who might run on the Conservative Party line.

Dr. Henry Withers, the chairman of the Suffolk County Republican Committee, did not return calls this week.

If Mr. Guldi collects the required 500 signatures to get on the ballot, the Democratic primary race would be held on Tuesday, September 15, according to the Suffolk County Board of Elections.

If he is successful in his primary battle and goes on to win election in November, Mr. Guldi would be allowed to serve only one term. Suffolk County legislators are allowed to serve only a total of 12 years, or six terms, according to New York State election law.

Mr. Guldi recently purchased a map of Suffolk County’s 2nd Legislative District, which spans the entire South Fork and includes parts of western Brookhaven Town, and a list of registered voters in the district, according to Anita Katz, the Democratic commissioner for the Suffolk County Board of Elections.

Mr. Guldi said he has a number of volunteers now walking the streets with petitions and obtaining signatures for him. Ms. Katz said Mr. Guldi needs 500 valid signatures before Saturday, July 11. Tuesday, June 9, was the first day that candidates belonging to major parties could begin collecting signatures. Candidates seeking to run on either the Republican or Democratic party lines can file their petitions between Monday, July 13, and Thursday, July 16.

Candidates looking to run on a minor party line, like the Working Families, Independence and Green parties, can begin collecting their 500 signatures on Tuesday, July 7. They must be turned in between August 11 and 18.

Mr. Guldi said he would consider running on a minor party line regardless of whether or not he secures the Democratic nomination.

In March, Mr. Guldi was arraigned on three counts of first-degree grand larceny and one count of first-degree scheme to defraud, all felonies, in Southampton Town Justice Court. He pleaded not guilty to those charges. His last scheduled court date was June 11 but that hearing was adjourned until Tuesday, July 14, according to Renee Brathwaite with the Southampton Town Justice Court.

If he is ultimately convicted of a felony, Mr. Guldi would not be allowed to serve in elected office, according to New York State Public Officers Law. Also, Mr. Guldi would be prohibited from voting in an election.

The other defendants in the mortgage fraud scheme include Manhattan and Westhampton Beach businessman Donald MacPherson, Roslyn attorney Dustin Dente, Nassau County businessman Ethan Ellner, and Mr. MacPherson’s wife, Carrie Coakley. All pleaded not guilty to felony charges of grand larceny and scheme to defraud in court in March.

Mr. Guldi said he would not let the ongoing criminal investigation against him influence his decision to seek public office again.

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The Dems would certainly make it a landslide for Jay. Thanks George for making it easier. Oh by the way, good thinking court cases take so long you might find some sort of work while your waiting. Could all of of us sleep easier knowing George is at the wheel??? What has this world come too! He probably needs a little extra cash (he has the expertise to find some).
By nazz (22), Flanders on Jun 23, 09 9:24 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By G (336), Southampton on Jun 23, 09 9:49 PM
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jun 23, 09 9:54 PM
Note to George: Your Tripping. Lay off the bacon egg and cheese breakfast specials. The voters at least hate the signs off obvious abuse. The body says it all.
By ride the truth wave (125), southampton on Jun 23, 09 10:50 PM
1 member liked this comment
This gotta be SPAM right....cannot be real.......
By DJ9222 (85), southampton on Jun 24, 09 1:37 AM
why is everyone so surprised? "politician" and "alleged criminal" or interchangeable phrases. several of the highest appointees of this current administration have criminal records or got caught not paying taxes.
By hamptons surfer (79), southampton on Jun 24, 09 6:28 AM
I cannot believe the arrogance of this man. That's all we need is to elect another criminal to our local Government. Don't we have enough already in office? Where are the good people who would do an honest and proper job running our government and not some bottom feeding re-tread?
By Fishtale574 (2), Southampton on Jun 24, 09 7:21 AM
Remember reading stories about the old days, when crooked politicians were "TARED AND FEATHERED" by the honest minded town people ?
Some traditions should never have gone out of style....
By S.N.A.F.U. (6), SOUTHAMPTON on Jun 24, 09 7:36 AM
Story does not mention the Republican challenger, Rob Coyle, partner of Joe Burke, the judge's son. He is a good contender. Hard to believe Guldi would think he would win a primary on the Democratic line.
PS paying attention Reynolds? You claimed the GOP always runs the same type of candidate, good-old-boy white men. But the facts are that the GOP has a woman Town Clerk, a woman Tax Receiver, an openly gay legislator candidate and two endorsed women judges.
By Hampton (50), Westhampton on Jun 24, 09 8:42 AM
Wow, censored by the Press. Would anyone like to explain why my comment was deleted?
By G (336), Southampton on Jun 24, 09 5:58 PM
The politico schlulbs voted into office in the hamptons are resembling the policito schlubs voted into office up in Albany--crooked, self-interested power, money-land- mongers whose only interest in the communities they represent is motivated by "What's in it for me?"
By lulubelle1956 (24), Westhampton Beach on Jun 24, 09 10:47 PM
The politico schlulbs voted into office in the hamptons are resembling the policito schlubs voted into office up in Albany--crooked, self-interested power, money-land- mongers whose only interest in the communities they represent is motivated by "What's in it for me?"
By lulubelle1956 (24), Westhampton Beach on Jun 24, 09 10:47 PM
I can't believe you negative people!!! Were you asleep for the decade Guldi served us so well as a legislator? Do we not have a presumption of innocence until PROVEN guilty beyond a resonable doubt? This man is facing these charges precisely because he announced his interest in serving us again. I think the collusion between the Dems and the GOP is quite threatened by his very presence; they fear his intelligence and integrity. I would very much like to see Guldi at the horseshoe again, speaking ...more
By oneseriousSicilian (61), medford on Jun 25, 09 6:11 AM
that's sweet oneserioussicilian, but you should get over the fact that politicians represent you. they represent themselves and are only in power to gain more power. those days are over. try representing yourself...its the only answer.
By hamptons surfer (79), southampton on Jun 25, 09 6:30 AM
It's closer to 1500 signatures for a truly independent run.
By Mr Suffolk (113), Twin Forks on Jun 25, 09 10:44 AM
classic examples of turning people's attention away from the glaring accusations facing him
By eastender09 (29), southampton on Jun 25, 09 5:35 PM
This way he can claim that the mortgage fraud charges against him are a politically motivated "witch hunt". It's pretty obvious that this will be his defense...
By the mink (11), Westhampton Beach on Jun 26, 09 9:59 AM
This way he can claim that the mortgage fraud charges against him are a politically motivated "witch hunt". It's pretty obvious that this will be his defense...
By the mink (11), Westhampton Beach on Jun 26, 09 9:59 AM
Well this is something you dion't see. Former pol indicted on felony charges, (not a sexual indiscretion) and decides the best course of action is to run for his old seat. Well as one of the people partly responsible for getting George into office in the first place, all I can say is, George was the hardest working, best informed Legislator in the county. Having said that, George what are you thinking? Unless you are aquitted, you don't stand a chance. Something tells me your trial won't happen ...more
By sol-man (2), hampton bays on Jun 29, 09 12:49 PM
1 member liked this comment
Hey, sol-man -- do you even know if Guldi has been indicted?

Four months ago this was all the news! DA calls a press conference, all sorts of perp-walks, headlines, NYC tabloid fodder because someone has some kinky laundry in their past even though it has NOTHING to do with this case.

I'll make you a little wager... a year from now, one mortgage guy from the West End will go to jail for a year on a plea, everyone else will get off, and a bunch of others will have had their lives ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1816), Northampton on Jun 29, 09 8:08 PM
Take it from someone who lives here in the community that he has helped to create into a dump with his illegal housing ..It is a fact! and he will GO TO JAIL WITH MCPHERSON!
As for headlines...Frank Wheeler...the one thing you are right about is "a bunch of others will have their lives ruined" but you left out and "THEY TOO WILL BE GOING TO JAIL".
By UNITED states CITIZEN (207), SOUTHAMPTON on Jun 30, 09 6:24 AM
Really? This should make for an amusing campaign season. I agree that this is just a ploy to take some of the heat off George. He may get whipped in the polls, but will probably enjoy every minute. Even a stern beating in the General Election may be right up Guldis alley! But then, I could think of worse punishments - like the type they dole out at the sex club in NYC.

I would watch those petitions, ya might end up owning a home you never knew about..... But hey, we need some amusement ...more
By G (336), Southampton on Jul 1, 09 7:10 AM
Maybe the local jail cells could become offices for our local crooked politicians.
By nurse (53), sag harbor on Sep 18, 09 6:35 PM
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