July 16, 2010 / Brooklyn news / Politics / The Politicrasher

One crazy night at the Board of Elections

The Brooklyn Paper
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How crazy was it at the Board of Elections as the witching hour for would-be candidates approached? It got so ugly that squeaky clean district leader wannabe Kevin Peter Carroll had to break a blood oath, that’s how ugly.

See, here’s the deal: Candidates that want to get on the ballot had until the stroke of midnight to file the reams of signatures they sweated through the summer to collect. But even if they handed in their petitions, some of those same candidates had to sweat it out again as they waited to see — again, by the stroke of midnight — if any rivals had challenged their petitions.

So that’s why Carroll, who is running against Bay Ridge powerhouse Ralph Perfetto, was up at the ungodly hour of 11:55 — and in the ungodly place of Manhattan. Now as any political junkie knows, Carroll and Perfetto had agreed not to challenge the other’s petitions so that they would both be on the ballot for the innocuous, non-paid post of Democratic district leader, whose few responsibilities include hiring poll workers on election day and electing the chair of the Kings County Democratic Party.

Carroll may be a freshman, but he wasn’t about to make a rookie mistake. Despite the pledge, there he was at the Board of Elections, waiting with a fist full of challenges just in case Perfetto broke his word.

And sure enough, minutes before deadline, in walked a contingent of Democratic Party officials with reams of papers. Panic! Were the officials there to challenge Carroll? Were a bunch of nameless party flunkies about to get Kevin Peter Carroll off the ballot for district leader, halting an inevitable rise to the presidency of the United States at the very first run?

There was no way to know!

If you know anything about how the Board of Elections works (or doesn’t work — ba da BING!), Carroll had reason for the concern. When someone files a challenge at the Board of Elections, it takes about 15 minutes for it to register on its computers. Candidates can check the computer, but the Elections employees began closing for the night because it was so close to the midnight deadline, preventing candidates from both learning if they were being challenged at the last minute and from firing off counter challenges.

“I saw them filing 100 sheets of paper, but they pushed me out of the way so I couldn’t see who they were challenging,” he said.

With his window of opportunity narrowing and no time to confirm if any of the challenges had his name on it, Carroll filed to challenge Perfetto, breaking his word.

“It’s typical that the Kings County Democratic Party would come in at the last minute and do something like this,” said Carroll. “[Submitting my challenges] was a calculated risk and a defensive move, but if it turns out that my opponent did not file, I promise that I won’t take this any further.”

But, as it turns out, Carroll has egg on his face.

When my colleague, Courier-Life journalistic mainstay Tom Tracy, contacted Perfetto at home after midnight — waking him up, mind you — Perfetto said that he had not challenged Carroll’s petitions.

“He had more than enough signatures to get on the ballot,” Perfetto said. “Why would I challenge him and try to find over 1,000 bad signatures? That’s lunacy.”

And Perfetto said he doubted that the Kings County Democratic Party would challenge Carroll on his behalf, though Perfetto’s loyalty to county chairman Vito Lopez has been an issue in the district leader race.

Perfetto said he wasn’t surprised by Carroll’s move. He also wasn’t worried, since he had way more signatures than the required 500 needed to get on the ballot.

“He could challenge all he wants, but he would have to find 1,500 bad signatures to knock me off the ballot,” said Perfetto. “That should be fun for him.”

Despite promises to the contrary, the Board of Elections didn’t provide us with the complete list of candidates in the state and federal races by our 1 am deadline, even though the list was readily available to them. But here’s a few tidbits we gleaned after tickling our vast Rolodex (and no, that is not a euphemism!):

• Attorney Igor Oberman’s much-talked-about challenge to powerful state Sen. Carl Kruger (D-Mill Basin) ain’t happening. There could be any number of reasons why someone wouldn’t want to take on Kruger, but our guess is that the Senate Finance Committee chairman’s campaign war chest gave Oberman 2,000,000 reasons why he should stay in his law office.

• Gravesend resident Mike DiSanto will run against state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) in the November general election. This could prove to be quite a race since DiSanto is a Democrat — and gay (and Golden has longstanding feuds animosity toward both!).

• Before the Kings County Democratic Party came in with its heap of unidentified petition challenges, only four had been filed against Brooklyn candidates — two against writer and former MTV reality show star Kevin Powell, who is challenging Rep. Ed Towns (D–Fort Greene), and two against Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs (D–Flatbush). Both are expected to get on the ballot anyway.

• It looks like many beatable lawmakers won’t even have a challenger. No one filed signatures to get on the ballot against Assemblyman Alan Maisel (D–Mill Basin) or Democratic District Leader incumbents Bernard Catcher (D–Mill Basin), Roberta Sherman (D–Mill Basin) and Councilman Lew Fidler (D–Marine Park).

• Yesterday also marked the last time to file how much money candidates have raised. After perusing the disclosure reports we learned that Democratic District Leader candidate Hope Reichbach out-raised longtime incumbent Jo Anne Simon (D–Boerum Hill)! According to campaign finance reports, Reichbach collected $24,230 and spent $7,432, leaving her with $16,797. Simon raised $11,245, but spent $2,824, leaving her with only $9,112.

• In the male district leader race in the same assembly district, longtime politico and flute player Chris Owens raised $10,912. His rival, Steve Williamson, collected $27,658. The other candidate, Jesse Strauss, did not have filings available at this time.

• Williamsburg district leader candidate Maritza Davila has is $120,941 in debt from her ill-fated City Council race last year. The dept includes an $18,000 fine to the Department of Sanitation for littering and improperly posting posters.

• Kruger’s campaign declined to reveal how much money it raised between January and July. By January, Kruger had more than $2.1 million to spend on his re-election campaign — more than any other Senator. He also happens to be in the middle of a “pay to play” scandal where he allegedly swapped political favors for lucrative campaign fundraisers.

• Lincoln Restler, who is challenging Warren Cohn, son of current Williamsburg District Leader Steve Cohn, reported raising a phenomenal $46,484 for the unpaid party position. That’s nearly three times the amount that Cohen raised, $14,878.

Wherever there is a smoke-filled backroom or a smoke-free barroom, The Brooklyn Paper’s Politicrasher will be there, bringing you the inside dope on our next generation of leaders. Got a hot tip for the Politicrasher? E-mail
Updated 5:19 pm, July 9, 2018: Includes lots of new juicy bits.
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Reasonable discourse

ch from bh says:
hidden within the perfumed glove of "hope," the dark hand of vito lopez clutches at the throat of boerum hill.
July 16, 2010, 10 am
David Dean Rusk from BRidge says:
Kevin Carol is such a ham and egger.
July 16, 2010, 12:51 pm
Vincent from Bay Ridge says:
Kevin Carroll has serious problems with the truth. What is he going to lie about next?
July 16, 2010, 1:42 pm
Amanda Marino from Bay Ridge says:
It's unfortunate that the media is pigeonholing DiSanto as the"gay" candidate.
July 16, 2010, 2:34 pm
Dina says:
Anyone in Kevin Carroll's position would have done the same thing! Get real people.
July 16, 2010, 2:42 pm
Dina says:
Kevin Carroll the Liar...that's hilarious...meanwhile Ralph was arrested for impersonating an attorney...HA HA HA
July 16, 2010, 2:49 pm
Gail from The South says:

I understand what Carroll did, it's a shame that The Kinga countyorganization comes in with challenges so late in the process. Well said Dina about Perfetto he is the liar in this race. I just hope that the people of the 60th AD will make the right choice and reject the person who is facing criminal time and elect a man who obviously care for his community.
July 16, 2010, 4:04 pm
Jim from Park Slope says:
Anyone that's ever been at the DOE would understand why Kevin Carroll challenged those signatures. It's one of the most unorganized places I've seen, so it's not surprising that Carroll wasn't able to figure out whether or not a challenge was filed against him.
July 16, 2010, 8 pm
Dirty Water Donnie says:
All I know is next year I'm setting up a hot dog stand outside the BoE on filing night.
July 16, 2010, 9:13 pm
BUG$ says:
July 16, 2010, 9:20 pm
shoes4world says:
thank you for sharing, this website is good, you can go and see it
July 16, 2010, 9:27 pm
ctl from ctn says:
May the Democratic process go forth! Watch the video of the debate, read the papers and meet the candidates. Age should not be a factor whether too old or too young; the American way is that you are innocent until you plead guilty or are proven guilty; citizens should research, read & vote for the best candidate. While all have a right to post their opinions, I think it's best to stick to the issues to improve all. In my opinion, while Ralph has been popular and done good for many, Kevin, an equally active Brooklyn community activist, provides a new outlook with enthusiasm & could do the best job on all the important issues because his base includes all generations, he's not part of an establishment that has had ethical issues, is not beholden to any of the main Brooklyn players and because this provides a venue where he can continue to work for Brooklyn as an unpaid person so that he can be judged with regard to future political service from the area. If he has aspirations to higher office, that's a good thing: he'll work harder because he wants a future FOR Brooklyn! May the "best man" win - FAIR & SQUARE with a race based on issues & not demeaning remarks!....HIGH ROAD IS THE WAY TO GO!
July 17, 2010, 8:11 am
Steve from Park Slope says:
Hope Reichbach's fundraising success shows that she is a serious contender for State Committee this September. She's a lifelong Boerum Hill resident that has strong support there, and in the rest of the 52nd Assembly District. As someone that has known Hope for years, I know that she'll represent our district well.
July 18, 2010, 11:56 am
Paul from Boerum Hill says:
Hope is a lifelong Boerum Hill resident????? On what planet? And all her fundraising shows is how much it pays to work for Vito. Have you noticed that all the announcements coming out of Steve Levin's office these days mention Vito Lopez? Makes you wonder who's really campaigning here.
It's so depressing to see someone who's barely old enough to vote plugging right into the machine. What sort of ambition is that? Whatever it is, it should be stopped ASAP!
"Boerum Hill resident...!"
July 18, 2010, 6:11 pm
OG from Bay Ridge says:
I admire Kevin's desire to have a political career but when he talks about "years of activity", it makes him sound foolish. He's 24 years old. Also, there are things I have heard recently that worry me about his tactics in obtaining signatures. I was told first hand that people signed petitions because all they were told was to sign as a Democrat and then learned afterwards that the petition was for Kevin. That was misleading. Several people said he also was a census taker and I believe it is a conflict when one is running for public office. As far as Ralph Perfetto's recent legal the transcript. He submitted 3 documents identifying himself and then signed in as a private investigator. If being well-dressed, prepared better than the DA'S rep and possessing a basic knowledge and respect for the court makes him a criminal, God help us all.
July 18, 2010, 9:23 pm
Craig from Bushwick says:
What we really need is changes in the ballot access laws in which the BOE clerks certify signatures and campaigns can challenge mistakes in the certification process. Many other states do this. Of course NONE of our elected officials, who benefit from their respective party machines, would ever change these election laws. That's why, in the general elections, consider voting for a third party candidate who actually WILL change these laws. You get what you vote for.
July 19, 2010, 10:36 am
Steve from Park Slope says:

How about on planet Earth. She's lived in Boerum Hill her entire life. Love the dramatics with the five question marks and the over all self righteous rhetoric, but it doesn't make you right.

In fact, your strange conspiracy laden tirade is part of why so many people in the 52nd AD have been turned off from local politics in the past. We’re not looking for goofy infighting or histrionics, just the chance to help all the people in need not only in the 52nd but in Brooklyn in general, and get others interested in doing the same. As a friend, I know Hope Reichbach has those values, and that’s why I’ll be voting for Hope on September 14th.
July 19, 2010, 11:04 am
Gail from The South says:
OG I am glad that you admire Kevin's apparent desire to have a political career, I do to and I will be voting to make sure that it happens.
But I don't Like how you are unfairly attacking him, while makeing it seem like your a supporter.
I believe that pointing to Kevins years of experience does not make him look foolish at all. True Kevin is 24 but he has been working in the community for the last 9-10 years with different organizations. In 2005 he was appointed to community board 10 and I believe he is currently in his 3rd term. In 2004 he was a founding member of the Brooklyn Democrats for Change, showing his activism over 6 years ago. There are others that I could list but the list would go one for ever show YEARS of commitment to Bay Ridge. He started young and we need to be happy that a smart young man decided to get involved.
As for the signatures Kevin had a piece of literature that he was handing out along with his petitions, more then his opponent had. So anyone who did not know they were signing for Kevin is a moron. He is a democrat and he was asking democrats to sign his petition.
As far as being a Census taker it would be highly unethical and probably illegal for Kevin to Collect petition signatures when on the clock with the federal government. However seeing as Kevin has gone door to door many times with out getting paid for political work I highly suspect he was on Census time. Do you have a proof he was on census time? If not these are base less accusations and slander.
Ralph Perfetto has his own legal problems there is not doubt about that. Kevin as the paper said is squeaky clean. I will happily take Kevin over Ralph any day of the week.
July 19, 2010, 4:10 pm
OG from Bay Ridge says:
Dina & Gail - In an early email, Mr. Carroll called Mr. Perfetto a "Great incumbent District Leader" and then said that he had worked on many community improvements with Mr. Perfetto. Can either of you or he name them? Mr. Carroll joined a lot of organizations but what has he accomplished on his own? Mr. Perfetto has a proven record of individual accomplishments over the years. Mr. Carroll has the energy and desire but not the experience. Mr. Perfetto has a wealth of experience that he acquired over the years and has used it to solve many problems in the community and for individuals. Lastly, why would a 24 year old career-minded politician spend the time and energy on a non-paying position if his intention wasn't to move on and leave the district position open for someone else to come in. How will he support himself shoud he win?
July 21, 2010, 8:54 pm
Proud Supporter from Bensonhurst says:
Carroll "squeaky clean?'" Let the event speak for itself. When former Cty Leader Clarence Norman was indicted for corruption, DA Hynes held a press conference announcing that 44 Kings Cty Dem. Dist. Leaders were going to be investigated for corruption. Perfetto was the first, and perhaps the only one, who volunteered to be investigated, bringing his complete financial history to Lead Prosecutor Michael Vecchione and 3 other ADA's. After reviewing his documents and interviewing him, they stated that he was totally clean. I know this first hand because I was present during the investigation. Remember, in all cases, we are presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty.
July 22, 2010, 7:31 pm
Soledad from Bay Ridge says:
Dina is Kevin Carroll's sister. Give me a break.
July 27, 2010, 1:10 pm

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