Nassau County Legislature. Josh Lafazan is active if he has not made a campaign for the third District of the Congress that has not been opened – he is traveling around the region for meetings of the anti-George Santos, trying to find money for his investment campaign, and is usually prepared for a special election if Santos falls. .
But there’s one long piece of Lafazan’s history that will surely continue to haunt him if it’s true: the nearly $100,000 in college tuition included in a private loan from a rich couple.
The money paid by New York businessman Bryan Lawrence and his wife Elizabeth, who also donated thousands to Lafazan’s congressional campaign, became the subject of a lawsuit before the August CD3 primary. from one of Lafazan’s Democratic opponents, Robert Zimmerman.
And it has been revived by Paolo Pironi, who ran against Lafazan for the legislative district in 2021 and said he plans to run again this year. This week, Pironi wrote to the Nassau county attorney and the county’s Board of Ethics calling out Lafazan’s loan from a “major political donor” other than a bank. or a financial institution. Among the questions that Pironi wants to investigate is whether it is an “illegal gift.”
The payments were made to a “Chief Learning Officer” doctoral program at the University of Pennsylvania, according to Neil Reiff, who served as Lafazan’s congressional attorney. Lafazan is on leave from the program and has one year of classes left. The structure of the loan agreement gave the district councilor five years to begin repaying the loan to the couple and he has not yet repaid it, as Reiff said. The interest of the loan is not given to the Point.
When asked why Lafazan didn’t go to a financial institution for a student loan, Reiff said “according to Josh it’s impossible,” citing the closing time before classes began. Reiff said that Lafazan’s team handled the case by the special counsel in 2020.
When asked if there were any investigations into the condition of the loan, Reiff said “we don’t know anything.”
A Zimmerman spokeswoman said they withdrew their original lawsuit “as a sign of party unity” after the primary, and an October letter from the Federal Election Commission. regarding Zimmerman’s claim the case is said to be closed.
A spokesman for the Nassau DA confirmed receipt of Pironi’s complaint but declined to provide further details. It seems that Pironi will continue to raise this issue against Lafazan, especially the review of financial issues due to the Santos saga. Pironi himself was paid $1,300 by the Santos campaign committee as a person to explain again in 2020, and was described by Santos on Facebook as “my friend and former campaign director” in back in 2021. Pironi told the Point, “Fortunately, I separated myself first. Santos’ 2022 competition.
“I’m as tired of Josh Lafazan as I am of George Santos,” he said.
Lafazan’s immediate political future appears to be in the hands of party leaders, who will nominate a candidate in the form of a special election. Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs told The Point he first saw a copy of Pironi’s complaint when it was circulated as an “anonymous email.”
“For me, it’s always suspicious,” he emailed. “Although, of course, we will look for Josh’s answer, I will definitely not rule it out now.”
— Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano
It was an unwelcome welcome
When the Council did. Chuck Lavine received an email this week from Rep. Andrew Garbarino, he was “disappointed.”
The email welcomed Lavine as one of Garbarino’s “new people” and offered the office resources “you can use” — including help with federal agencies, permit applications and even obtaining flag, inspection and praise.
But there was a problem. Lavine, who lives in Glen Cove, is not part of CD2 – Garbarino’s district. His deputy is George Santos, in CD3.
When Lavine, who previously worked with Garbarino in the Assembly, received the email, he saw it in connection with the recent conference held by Nassau Republicans, where some officials pledged to seek help from other members of Long Island, instead of going through Santos. .
“That, to me, is just bullshit,” Lavine told the Point. “The people I represent will certainly try to reach out to Santos and his staff, and if there is no response, we will go to our United States senators or Grace Meng in Queens.” or Greg Meeks in Queens. After all, they are close to me.”
And, of course, Meng and Meeks, like Lavine, are Democrats.
Lavine issued an update on the email, arguing that Republican lawmakers were “just trying to protect themselves from criticism.”
But there seems to be a simple explanation for the Garbarino email.
“My office inadvertently sent this email to contacts in our database, including members of my predecessor’s former 3rd Congressional District representative,” Garbarino said in a statement. . “I’m sorry Chuck for doing this politics. People make mistakes.”
In fact, Lavine represented Garbarino before, former Rep. Pete King – more than ten years ago.
When told it was a mistake, rather than a deliberate plan, Lavine said: “I’m sure of it.”
Lavine said last Thursday that his office went to Sanitoa’s office to open lines of communication and find ways to reach him and his staff.
But does Lavine’s speech in his congressional district indicate a chance for him in a special election for the seat of CD3?
“I am a strong supporter of Robert Zimmerman,” Lavine said. “I don’t start thinking about it until Robert doesn’t run, for whatever reason. Robert is giving the best representation and he will be the best member of congress.
— Randy F. Marshall @RandiMarshall
The old line
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Trial purchase at select stores
State Democrats are still reeling from last year’s redistricting debacle.
The proof: Party lawmakers are pushing a bill aimed at curbing a tactic that worked for Republicans last year when it was repealed and rewritten in the face of Democratic legislative redistricting. and the Senate Senate.
Last spring, Democratic map Republicans challenged their case before a GOP state judge in faraway Steuben County. The judge, Judge Patrick McAllister, finally decided to redistrict the district after his decision was approved on appeal. The redistricting map helped fuel a “red wave” in U.S. House races on Long Island and elsewhere.
But under a bill that passed the Senate, 41-19, on January 9, Republican lawyers can’t repeat what ended up being a judicial power. Such election-system challenges must be filed in one large district in each of the state’s judicial circuits – namely Albany, Westchester, Erie, and New York. (Manhattan).
Those who supported the measure, including Manhattan Democratic Sen. Robert Jackson, said in a press release that the bill would “prevent sales on the council” on the “judgment of invalidity” as “recently seen” “.
“This bill seeks to reduce the competitive games that occur in courts related to elections,” the text said.
On the contrary, Republicans say, the measure is aimed at ensuring that most of these cases reach the Democratic judges. A Republican activist told The Point that he knows of only three Republican State Supreme Court justices in these large districts that have been elected, out of over 100 judges serving in that capacity. .
As of now, the Legislature’s Board of Elections has not acted on this plan, so it is unknown whether governor Kathy Hochul will sign it as law.
— Dan Janison @Danjanison