Here is yesterday’s decision by Brooklyn federal judge Nicholas Garaufis, who reinstated candidate Wellington Sharpe on the ballot for an April 24th City Council election on the grounds that his opponent Mathieu Eugene had an “unfair advantage” in the petitioning process.
This new election, in case you haven’t been following, was made necessary because Eugene, the winner of an initial election on February 20 for the same seat, failed to prove his residency in the district.
The Eugene campaign maintained in the days after the election that they were going to be able to demonstrate that he had, in fact, lived there on Election Day, as is required, and they staged a public relations campaign in which reporters were invited to visit Eugene’s new apartment in the district to document evidence that the place was, in fact, inhabited. (Pots on the stove! With food in them!)
But the campaign never did come up with the basic paperwork that would have settled things, and some time after the City Council started investigating, Eugene — who also claims he is a qualified physician, but has never documented it — abruptly stopped contesting the residency issue and declared that he intended to run in a second, re-run special election.
Garaufis ruled that based on Eugene’s timing, he had an “unfair advantage” over other likely candidates in preparing to qualify for the ballot in the second race.
“Eugene claims that on March 5, 2007, when he invited his supporters to attend his March 8, 2007 rally, he had no inkling that he would request a Second Special Election. Eugene, who also claims to be a physician, lacks credibility on this point,” Garaufis wrote.
The judge went on to say, “I therefore find that Eugene knew no later than March 5, 2007 that he would request a Second Special Election, and that he was therefore the only potential candidate able to begin circulating petitions on March 9, 2007 immediately upon the Mayor’s announcement that there would be a Second Special Election.”