Sunday, October 24, 2010
Seven Candidates Vying for Queens Council Seat by Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein - NYPOST.com
And you thought the governor's race was crazy!
Meet the crew running for City Council from Queens: a deadbeat dad who allegedly threw a punch at a rival; a lawyer accused of drawing a gun on a rival's wife; an imam who filed for seven bankruptcies; a former city worker with $70,000 in judgments; two candidates with past campaign-finance violations; and four who don't live in the district or moved in so recently they're still unpacking their carpetbags.
Seven are vying for the seat left vacant when Councilman Thomas White Jr. died in August. It is one of only two council contests this year and the only one contested.
The candidate with the most name recognition is Nicole Paultre Bell, whose fiancée Sean Bell was gunned down by police on their November 2006 wedding day.
Bell lives outside the district, which covers Jamaica, South Ozone Park and Richmond Hill. She has said she will move in by Election Day, according to her lawyer.
Ruben Wills says he is in the process of moving into a rental in the district from his home in St. Albans.
Wills owes $27,147 in child support, according to state records. He says the bill is for back payments for a teenage daughter he didn't know he had until she was 14.
Wills, a former chief-of-staff for state Sen. Shirley Huntley, was accused last year of throwing a punch at rival Allan W. Jennings during a Board of Election hearing. Wills denies the incident and no arrests were made.
Jennings is also running.
He served on the council from 2002 to 2006 and was censured by his colleagues in 2005 after two female staffers accused him of sexual harassment. A probe found him guilty.
Jennings also owes $45,775 to the city Campaign Finance Board.
Immigration lawyer Albert Baldeo was accused of pulling a gun on an opponent's wife in a 2005 council campaign. The charges against him were dropped.
Harpreet Toor owns a home on Long Island but says he rented an apartment in the district last month.
Toor, who worked for the city's Human Resources Administration until 1999, racked up nearly $70,000 in judgments against him from collection companies.
Toor said the bills amassed when his late wife became sick with cancer and he wasn't working full time.
Charles Aziz Bilal, an imam who works at Rikers Island, unsuccessfully filed for bankruptcy protection seven times since 2000.
"You do what needs to be done to protect your property," he explained.
He owes $14,764 to the Campaign Finance Board for irregularities in a 2005 City Council race.
Also running is Martha T. Butler, the chief-of-staff for state Assemblywoman Michele Titus. Butler, an Air Force veteran, has raised no money in the race as of Oct. 1.