Old Westbury election tied following court hearing

Justine Schoenbart And Bill San Antonio

A race for an Old Westbury trustee seat between incumbent Andrew Weinberg and write-in challenger Leslie Fastenberg will go back to the Nassau County Board of Elections with the two candidates tied with 178 votes apiece, state Supreme Court Judge Arthur Diamond ruled Thursday.

The election board will now be tasked with determining the winner of the election.  

Fastenberg initially trailed Weinberg by four votes following the June 16 election but submitted a written request to the election board for a recount after residents who voted for her said they were unable to properly use ballot machines. Weinberg on July 7 filed an oath of office and began serving as trustee.

At a July 15 hearing in state Supreme Court, Weinberg attorney Steve Schlesinger argued the court had no jurisdiction to review the election because his client had already taken office.

But Diamond ruled that because the election was being reviewed, Old Westbury Village Clerk Ken Callahan should not have accepted Weinberg’s filing.

He also determined that the court would not count affidavit ballots or votes cast in the incorrect column on the voting machines, in accordance with election law.

Attorneys for Fastenberg and Weinberg could not immediately be reached Thursday.

Fastenberg ran for the village board as a member of the New Voice for Old Westbury line, which included trustee candidates Marina Chimerine and Cory Baker, who defeated incumbents Harvey Simpson and Christopher Sauvigne on June 16.

During a board of trustees meeting Monday, Old Westbury residents questioned the validity of the village’s annual reorganization hearing and mayoral appointments, in which Simpson, Sauvigne and Weinberg participated.

“My simple question is, why wouldn’t you wait a week to see who’s on the board to determine who has the authority to make these decisions?” resident Al Berg asked during a public comment.

Old Westbury resident Barry Manson, who testified Wednesday, said in a public comment portion of Monday’s meeting that the village would be “subject to a personal lawsuit” because “it is my belief that you conducted that [July 7] meeting solely to subvert the actions and the results of the village election.” 

“If you continue to act against the wishes of the voters, it’s to your detriment,” he said. 

Old Westbury Village Attorney Michael Sahn said the July 7 meeting was “duly noticed” and “duly held” and that minutes from the meeting would be approved by the board and made public.

He said the village board “has statutory obligations to continue the business of government and by law and the actions of the court, the board is entitled to continue to serve the interest of the government and the requirements of law imposed on the trustees under statute, and that’s what they’re doing this evening.”

During the meeting, the village board approved a site plan for renovation project to the Glen Oaks Club, the removal of 10,685 cubic yards of contaminated soil from a Glen Cove Road residence and introduced a local law to erect stop signs at intersections throughout the village.

Old Westbury Mayor Fred Carillo also made several appointments to the village’s planning, zoning and architectural review boards. 

Weinberg was appointed to a one-year term as a member of the architectural review board. 

Carillo dismissed Manson’s accusation of subverting the election, saying many of the positions he filled had already been held by appointees.

“Government must run,” he said. “We’re here to have an organization meeting after the election. These people are here to serve. When we have the new people in, whoever they may be, if they want to change things, we’ll change things.”

He added: “I’ve met Cory Baker, I’ve met Marina Chimerine. They seem like nice people, we’re going to get along. I welcome them. We welcome them.”

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Justine Schoenbart And Bill San Antonio

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