Westchester Independence Party wins appeal to kick out nearly 4,000 of its members

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The Westchester Independence Party has won its fight to kick out nearly 4,000 members that it accuses of raiding the party to help sway it toward Republican County Executive Rob Astorino in his reelection fight last fall.Independencelawsuit

The party endorsed his Democratic rival but pursued a purge of the membership of nearly all the voters who registered with it after the beginning of 2012.

The purge of 4,000 members cuts the party down by about 17 percent.

Supreme Court Judge Robert DiBella at the end of February allowed the party to kick out 31 members after he was presented with evidence that they were not in sympathy with the principles of the party, the standard in state law for removing members. The law is designed to prevent raids on minor parties that would turn them into adjuncts of the major parties.

The party appealed DiBella’s ruling on the other 3,000-plus members who didn’t show up to party hearings or send letters contesting their removal. In a ruling Wednesday, the Appellate Division said failing to appear or respond was sufficient evidence under state law.

Peter Tilem, the lawyer for the Independence Party, said it gives the loyal members their vote back.

“When you have 4,000 people that are enrolled in your party that are doing it to subvert the principles of the party it damages the party,” he said.

The voters will still be able to cast ballots but will be moved to the unaffiliated column.

For more on the lower court ruling click here.

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8 Comments

  1. After Astorino and his cronies and hacks dragged their children and other relatives in “for the cause of Rob”, and got caught red handed doing it, they deserve to be thrown out since they are Republicans and NOT Independence party members.

  2. All County Legislators that lost the election, and Mayor Mary Foster needs to immediately file a lawsuit!

  3. Independent Democrat on

    Judge Robert DiBella has much explaining to do as to why he consistently met with Douglas Colety and Reginald Lafayette prior to ruling against the Independence Party. What was DiBella promised by the turn coat Democratic Chairman Reginald Lafayette, and Million Dollar Printer Republican Commissioner Douglas Colety?

  4. Independent Democrat on

    Judge Robert DiBella has much explaining to do as to why he consistently met anwith Douglas Colety and Reginald Lafayette prior to ruling against the Independence Party. What was DiBella promised by the turn coat Democratic Chairman Reginald Lafayette, and Million Dollar Printer Republican Commissioner Douglas Colety?

  5. Astorino has been spending his time playing nonsense clubhouse politics trying to load the Independence Party with his own cronies rather than doing his job. It’s part of the reason why nothing has been accomplished for Westchester during his administration. Westchester is still the highest taxing municipality in the United States and it now has a lower credit rating from Moody’s as a result of his financial mismanagement – borrowing money to phony up lower tax increases. Why isn’t Astorino out there getting the 43 municipalities to consolidate services to lower taxes? Why do Westchester taxpayers have to pay for Astorino’s payroll of gubernatorial campaign cronies and his Administration’s time spent on running for Governor? What’s the matter with Republican Party leadership anyway? They are in for a resounding defeat with this little 1 term clubhouse politico with shady associations and no record of accomplishment.

  6. I was a long time Independence party member. My husband decided to join me — and then was named in this ridiculous suit. Too many innocence people named by an overambitious lawyer.

    The party has lost two contentious voters.