A Queens state Supreme Court Justice today upheld a ruling by elections commissioners that tossed Frank Gulluscio off the ballot for the upcoming 32nd CD special election in which Gulluscio had hoped to win the Queens seat of his former boss, Sen. Joe Addabbo.
However, in a rather odd twist, Justice Phyllis Orlikoff Flug didn't cite the Gulluscio's lack of valid signatures, which was what led the elections commissioners to bounce him in the first place.
Instead, Flug ruled that Gulluscio should remain off the ballot due to "failure of service," which, as far as I can tell, means the process server who was supposed to serve notice on the individuals who objected to the candidate's petitions didn't follow the rules properly.
In this case, according to someone who was in the court today, the server failed to affix the notice to the door of the individual being served. Instead, according to the objector, the notice was inside the door and not ON it.
Such are the nit-picky details - along with improper wording on petitions and picking a symbol for one's made-up party that doesn't conform with Election Law - that can cost a candidate his one shot at being a councilman.
The same source said he expects Gulluscio to run again in September when Addabbo's seat comes up (recall that defending a seat in a general election against one's erstwhile special election opponent isn't necessarily an easy undertaking - just ask former Councilman Anthony Como).
Nevertheless, this is a blow to Gulluscio and also to Addabbo, who had endorsed his former staffer's bid to succeed him. (Not to mention the Hotel and Motel Trades Council, which endorsed Gulluscio, too).
Former Sen. Marty Connor, an election attorney working for another 32nd CD candidate, Geraldine Chapey, said he has dropped his effort to get Eric Ulrich off the ballot.
Gulluscio accused Chapey of foul play in hiring Connor, saying in a prepared statement:
"The idea that this is a system meant to uphold democracy is preposterous when the signatures of thousands of voters can be rendered meaningless by a legal technicality. We must demand that we have a system where the will of the people cannot be overturned by lawyers."
"Geraldine Chapey has been on what can only be described as a witch hunt, dragging her opponents into court, causing us hours of wasted time and thousands of dollars in lawyer's fees."
"She obviously feels that the only way she can win is to eliminate the competition using her lawyer, rather than in a fair election by the will of the people. I cannot imagine that the voters of the 32nd Council District would want to be represented by someone like that."
Gulluscio pledged to pursue "all options" that will allow him to "continue to serve" 32nd CD residents.
The case of yet another candidate for Addabbo's seat who was pushed off the ballot by elections commissioners last week, Glenn DiResto, will be heard tomorrow.