Woodside translator David Rosasco is determined to fight his ejection from the Democratic primary ballot every step of the way, but prominent Queens Democrats say his campaign is finished.
“We’re not going to go down without swinging,” Rosasco said. “I’m determined to take all possible measures.”
Last week, a Queens Civic Court judge ruled Rosasco did not have the minimum number of valid signatures on his petition to get on the ballot in the race to replace City Councilman Eric Gioia (D-Sunnyside).
“The court finds … that the total number of valid signatures are no more than 899 due to clerical errors made at the Board” of Elections, Judge Bernice Siegal wrote in her decision.
Rosasco tried to present as evidence “affidavits purportedly signed on behalf of individuals whose signatures were declared invalid,” but Siegal upheld an objection that the affidavits were hearsay.
Rosasco has decided to fight the decision in appeals court in Brooklyn.
“Obviously, it’s going to cost me a lot of money, so I think with legal fees, I think this could add up to be like $16,000,” he said. “That’s money I don’t have yet.”
Rosasco said filing the notice to appeal bought him a few more days to raise funds to keep up the legal fight, though he said it was not certain he would pursue the case.
The challenge to Rosasco’s ballot petitions was filed by John Smyth, who shares a Democratic district leader seat with Council candidate Deirdre Feerick. The Queens Democratic Party has provided the legal representation to sustain the challenge.
“Deirdre and her people, they’ve really done it,” Rosasco said of Feerick, who is running with the support of the Queens Democratic Party. “This is what they do to grassroots campaigns.”
But Michael Reich, executive secretary of the Queens Democratic Party, said Rosasco’s case does not have a leg to stand on.
“Bottom line is, he admitted to the court that he didn’t have 900 valid signatures,” Reich said.
The judge’s ruling said that both parties agreed in writing that if she decided to accept as evidence a contested Board of Elections report filed after Rosasco’s initial board hearing that reduced his number of valid signatures to 789, that at least 39 of Rosasco’s previously established signatures were invalid.
“How do you make an admission like that and try to appeal it?” Reich said.
Rosasco was an underdog in the Democratic race, having raised $10,343 and spent $11,529 by Aug. 14, according to the city Campaign Finance Board. Feerick had raised $74,935 and received $84,122 in matching funds by the same date. Queens Library External Affairs Director Jimmy Van Bramer had raised $75,621 and received $84,122 in matching funds. Long Island City attorney Brent O’Leary had raised $42,374 by Aug. 14, though he, like Rosasco, received no matching funds.
The 26th Council District includes Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside and parts of Maspeth.
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jewalsh@cn
©2009 Community News Group
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