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A tale of sugar plums and sour grapes

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Talk about crashing the party!

Leading borough Republicans allege that the widening split in Brooklyn’s GOP started with a dispute over the scheduling of a Christmas celebration in 2010.

A party insider said that the rift between state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) and Brooklyn Republican chairman Craig Eaton — which broke into open warfare at the county convention in September — began three years ago when Eaton refused to schedule the GOP’s holiday bash at Golden’s family catering hall.

Sources said borough Republicans had long held their yearly holiday party at the Bay Ridge Manor — which Golden opened in 1983, and sold to his brother after entering the Senate 20 years later. But GOP insiders said prices at the 76th Street venue kept rising, as Golden insisted that the party spring for a full bar and buffet — with one source alleging that the 2009 Yuletide gala cost close to $11,000.

“That’s just exorbitant. And the sticker shock got to people,” the insider said. “Marty liked to call Craig and say ‘you should do the full buff.’ A Christmas party is supposed to be a freebie, with a couple of cases of beer and wine and some finger food.”

In 2010, Eaton decided to throw a much cheaper party at the Brooklyn Bar Association in Brooklyn Heights. Golden was allegedly furious at the decision, and pressured Eaton to return the year-end shindig to the Ridge.

Marty was ribbing Craig over the phone every week leading up to the party, ‘nobody’s going to go to Brooklyn Heights, you should have done it at the Manor,’ ” the insider said.

But the Brooklyn Heights bash was a hit, and the party never went back to the Manor again.

Golden aides denied that the relocation of the revel had anything to do with the pol’s beef with Eaton — or with his effort to boot the sitting chairman and replace him with an ally, former Conservative Party congressional candidate Timothy Cochrane. The senator’s camp said that the real issue is a lack of financial and ground support from Eaton’s operation to Republican political contenders, and pointed to borough-wide losses in this year’s Council elections as proof.

“The rift has to do with the fact that the Republican Party does nothing to back Republican candidates,” said Golden spokesman Ray Riley.

Golden and his supporters attempted to vote Eaton out of office at the Sept. 30 convention. But Eaton allies who counted the votes threw out hundreds of proxy votes for Golden on a technicality. Golden’s camp launched a lawsuit to get the discarded votes restored, and both sides expect a judge to render a verdict in Jan. 2014.

Golden still owns the building that houses the Manor and collects rent from the facility, and his wife Colleen works there as an administrator.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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