Q&A with Marty Connor

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[UPDATE: In the time since this interview was first posted, an Appellate Court has upheld the decision to allow Ken Diamondstone to remain on the ballot against Marty Connor.]

Now that his initial legal challenge to Ken Diamonstone’s place on the ballot has been rejected, State Senator Marty Connor is waiting for an appeals court ruling before deciding what to do next.

Here, in question-and-answer format, is what he had to say about that — and about his meager-looking campaign filings, which Connor blames on a flaw in the Board of Elections software.

What is the status of the case right now?

Still waiting for a decision from the appellate division.

Anything about the proceedings that is significant?

The best he can claim for contacts with the district is that he moved in last November first, that’s his claim. Of course that’s what’s disappeared. I’ve lived in the district for 36 years so we uesd to call that carpetbagging. Not 36 years, but 9 months, and there’s a lot of evidence, most of the evidence was after November 7 and you know, that’s not election law technicality its state constitutional provision. It’s kind of hard to look, you know, when you’re trying to check where somebody’s residence is when the person hasn’t had a driver’s license in thirteen years and they’ve been driving around.

What has happened so far in the appeal?

We filed briefs and argued the appeal yesterday. Theres two legal issues: one is the legal issue about the burden of proof as to a change in domicile; the other is the way the court have misapplied the facts. I mean, you know, this is lawyer stuff, it’s in legal briefs.

What happens should you lose the appeal?

I don’t know, I’ll have to see what they say. I mean, Diamondstone’s lawyer told me they’re definitely going to Albany with it, if he loses. Just like they were definitely going to the appelate division, I mean they were definitely goign to appeal, before we got the decision. I think they expected to lose, but you know, I have to take it one step at a time. I’ll see what the appelate division does. If I don’t win there I’ll see what their decision says and whether I think it’s substantial or ought to be reviewed.

A question on your latest campaign filing…

Oh please! The more money you put in, the more the negative goes. It’s their software, like I said, I’ve explained that before, its been doing this for three years. I’m not the only one I know lots of other people the same thing’s happened to. Borough President Marty Markowitz, with his state campaign committee he’s been trying to clear up for a couple of years, and my treasurer has been working three years on it. The State Board of Election keeps throwing up their hands. We did a whole audit about a year and a half ago to show that like theres no, you know, that everything’s accounted for and they keep saying ‘it’s a software problem, it’s a software problem.’ Well, it’s their software. I’m aware of somebody who filed for the first time like in July, brand new committee, and it showed a $30,000 negative balance. So, I mean, I’m rather annoyed, in fact, I was just talking to somebody about it. I’m really annoyed with the State Board of Elections. It’s obvious to me that they have, and I don’t know enough technology to know if its like flaws in the disk you happen to get, because they give you the software disk but I know it’s hit a lot of people, there doesn’t seem to be anything you can do about it.

What about the Paychecks, Inc. expentitures on your filing?

Its staff. It’s the legal way your supposed to do a staff, not the way Ken Diamondstone does it. Paychecks takes out taxes, unemployment. That’s what the law requires. You don’t just pay kids $10 an hour and call them consultants. It’s the legal way to pay staff, not the under the table, off the books way to pay staff. You should call up IRS and ask them how it should be done. Maybe they’ll call Ken and tell him how he’s not doing it right. Plus unemployment, the state requires you take out unemployment for full time employees.

So you have a full time campaign staffers?

I have a campaign staff member. We even pay his health insurance too. Because I’m a responsible employer, not a fly-by-night landlord.

—Nicole Brydson