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Kavadas kicked off Council ballot by judge’s ruling

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City Council candidate Constantine Kavadas was thrown off the ballot in the race for seat of City Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing), a civil court judge ruled Tuesday.

After a lengthy court battle that included handwriting experts and witnesses, Queens Civil Court Judge Patricia Satterfield ruled that the District 20 Democrat’s signatures had been improperly collected and invalidated his candidacy.

“It invalidated the petitions of Kavadas and said the signatures he obtained were permeated with fraud,” said Sarah Steiner, an attorney for Democrat Isaac Sasson, who brought the suit against Kavadas.

Kavadas could not immediately be reached for comment, but had previously told TimesLedger that if Satterfield ruled against him he would file an appeal.

“I have not yet gotten a notice of an appeal, but I wouldn’t be surprised,” Steiner said. “I don’t think he’s got any grounds, but I wouldn’t be surprised.”

Sasson brought in $2,750 from a family member and spent more than $20,000. Sasson’s largest expense was on Steiner, whom he has paid $5,610 in legal fees to have Kavadas thrown off the ballot.

Kavadas also brought in less than $3,000 since July 15 and has had to spend extensively on legal fees brought on by Sasson’s fraud lawsuit. According to the Board of Elections, Kavadas has spent $10,000 in August on elections attorneys as he tries to fend off Sasson’s allegation that he fraudulently obtained signatures to get on the ballot.

Elsewhere in the race for Liu’s seat, John Choe nearly doubled his campaign war chest in the last month while several other candidates spent more than they brought in as the crowded Democratic race enters the homestretch.

City Campaign Finance Board records show Choe has raised $42,233.25 since July 15, bringing his fund-raising total to $90,870. The contributions also came from more than 200 contributors in mainly amounts below $1,000, which is especially significant because Choe did not qualify for the first round of matching funds — putting him well behind other candidates like S.J. Jung and James Wu.

The fund-raising leader of the race thus far, Yen Chou, brought in $20,300 to bring her total to more than $246,000, but has spent more than $37,000. Chou has spent $179,797 so far in her campaign by far outpacing her challengers with just over one month until the Sept. 15 Democratic primary.

Wu, who also picked up the support of U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills) this week, raised $22,866 between July and August.

Jung also spent more than he brought in during the last month, taking in just $5,650 while spending more than $18,000. On July 15, Jung’s campaign paid $10,000 to Data and Field Services, the Working Families Party’s for-profit election arm, the legality of which was called into question by an extensive piece in City Hall News last week.

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at sstirling@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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