NYS Supreme Court Affirms Salatino’s Removal from Ballot on Democrat, Working Families Lines
Christopher Salatino lost his appeal Friday in an attempt to get back on two party lines to run as a candidate in the 119th New York Assembly District.
The New York State Supreme Court's Appellate Division agreed unanimously with Supreme Court Justice Charles Merrell's (5th Judicial District) decision last month to invalidate all of Salatino's designating petitions for both the Democratic and Working Families lines.
Several issues were raised with the validity of Salatino's petitions in the challenge. Among them were whether or not he was witnessed the signatures on his petitions, and, in one case, whether a woman had signed for herself and on behalf of her spouse.
The appellate ruling Friday stated, in part:
Contrary to respondent’s contention in appeal No. 2, the court properly invalidated his Democratic Party designating petition on the basis of fraud. “As a general rule, a candidate’s designating petition will be invalidated on the ground of fraud only if there is a showing that the entire designating petition is permeated with that fraud” (Matter of Perez v Galarza, 21 AD3d 508, 508 [2d Dept 2005], lv denied 5 NY3d 706 ). “Even where the designating petition is not permeated with fraud, however, when the candidate has participated in or is chargeable with knowledge of the fraud, the designating petition will generally be invalidated” (id. at 509). Here, petitioners established that multiple subscribing witnesses, including respondent, attested falsely that they had witnessed certain signatures on the designating petition inasmuch as they had allowed third-parties to sign the petition on behalf of the person named as the signatory on the designating petition (see Matter of Valenti v Bugbee, 88 AD3d 1056, 1058 [3d Dept 2011]), and that respondent attested to certain signatures although he was not “in the presence of the signatories when [they] signed the [designating] petition” (Matter of McHale v Smolinski, 133 AD2d 520, 520 [4th Dept 1987]; see Election Law § 6-132 ; Matter of Tani v Luddy, 32 Misc 2d 53, 55 [Sup Ct, Westchester County 1961]). Thus, the court properly determined that respondent’s participation in fraudulent acts warranted invalidating the designating petition for the Democratic Party (see Matter of Flower v D’Apice, 104 AD2d 578, 578 [2d Dept 1984], affd 63 NY2d 715 ).
Salatino's petitions were challenged by his would-be Democratic primary opponent, Marianne Buttenschon.
Salatino - who is the current President of the Utica school board - released this statement following Friday's ruling:
''The appellate court ruled not to overturn the lower courts decision today, and we will not move forward with additional appeals. While I am disappointed by this decision, I have great respect for the judicial system and appreciate them listening our appeal. I'd like to thank all of my supporters and those who stood by me through this process and hope that in the end democracy will prevail. I will continue to support and advocate for our community as I always have.''
That leaves Buttenschon, Dennis Bova and Frederick Nichols as candidates for the 19th seat, being vacated by Anthony Brindisi - a Democrat who is running for congress against incumbent Republican Claudia Tenney.
Bova and Nichols will meet in a Republican Primary next Thursday, September 13.
Bova will appear on the November general election ballot regardless of Thursday's outcome as he has been endorsed on the New York State Reform Party and Conservative Party lines.