A State Supreme Court Judge ruled today that the September 2015 Brooklyn GOP leadership convention was a flawed process, riddled with irregularities and ordered a new convention to re-determine the Party’s leadership.
The long awaited ruling from Supreme Court Judge Edgar Walker ends a lengthy litigation stemming from the September 30, 2015 Brooklyn GOP reorganizational convention to elect a county chair and members of its Executive Committee.
At that meeting, then GOP County Chair Craig Eaton, who has a long-standing feud with State Sen. Marty Golden, the borough’s highest ranking elected Republican, unexpectedly stepped down and nominated Former Dyker Heights Assemblyman Arnaldo Ferraro.
Golden and his supporters came to the meeting and nominated Bay Ridge Attorney Ted Ghorra. They also came in with 438 proxies of committee members supporting Ghorra, while Eaton submitted 201, and his ally Lucretia Regina-Potter submitted 117.
With Eaton controlling the executive committee, however, all but 17 of Golden’s proxies were thrown out and Ferraro was installed, starting a screaming match at the convention and the ensuing litigation.
Walker’s comprehensive ruling found among other things that:
- The September 2015 convention results and its process was clearly biased and disenfranchised validly cast votes;
- The incumbent credentials committee knowingly acted in bad faith in the September 2015 vote count, stating as they clearly had a one-sided purpose in the process;
- The incumbent credentials committee used two separate standards in reviewing the proxies, giving the Ghorra proxies collected by Senator Golden & his colleagues strict (often wrong) scrutiny, while applying no scrutiny whatsoever to the Ferraro proxies collected by outgoing / former Chairman Eaton & his colleagues;
- Had the same standard been applied, the outcome would have been that the Ghorra slate would have won.
“All my colleagues and I ever wanted was a fair process that protected the small-d democratic process of our Republican Party. We have important legislative elections this year, Mayoral and City Council elections in 2017, and statewide races in 2018 – there’s a lot of important work to do,” said Ghorra following the ruling.
“Judge Walker’s careful and thoughtful decision speaks for itself. Moving forward together, there need not be any more bad guys,” he added.
Ferraro noted in Walker’s written decision that the judge also declined to declare the “Ghorra slate to be the duly elected officers of the party inasmuch as they were not properly elected. In this regard, the evidence at trial demonstrates that after the election of the Ferraro slate, the meeting was adjourned. The attempt by certain members…to reconvene the meeting on the sidewalk outside the meeting hall and elect the Ghorra slate was clearly improper and failed to comply with the Rules of the Kings County Republican Party.”
“While I strongly disagree with the holding of a new convention, I also think that it is too soon to evaluate and comment on such a decision, since some clarifications are needed about the procedures of such a convention,” said Ferraro.
“I strongly urge all Brooklyn Republicans going forward to work together, and help elect as many Republicans as we can in the upcoming elections cycle, instead of concentrating all our efforts to consolidate the power and position of one person,” he added.
As part of the new convention, the New York State Republican Party has volunteered to oversee the new vote, so as to ensure a fair process and outcome. It is expected to happen in the next few months.