Richman Defends Himself Against de Blasio Lawyers

One more thing about Bill de Blasio’s fight to get back on the ballot: it’s not clear who is to blame.

De Blasio’s lawyers Stanley Schlein and Henry Berger said publicly for the first time today that the error which led to de Blasio’s initial removal started at the Board of Elections.

“Mr. de Blasio’s lawyers, Stanley K. Schlein and Henry T. Berger, successfully argued that a clerical error made by the counsel to the Board of Elections, Steven H. Richman, was at the root of the problem,” City Room reported.

Richman is calling that accusation inaccurate.

In a brief telephone interview, Richman said the paperwork was wrong by the time it got to his legal department, and that he was in the presence of several other B.O.E. officials when they decided to ask de Blasio to fix his petitions the first time.

“The determination was made midday on Thursday, July 16, 2009 in the CRU [Candidates Record Unit] in the presence of and with the concurrence of the Executive Director, the Deputy Executive Director, the Director of Campaign Finance Enforcement and the Coordinator of the Candidate Records Unit and the staff members of CRU,” Richman said in an email afterward.

Richman said the initial error with de Blasio’s paperwork may have been caused by other B.O.E. workers, but that it wasn’t from him or anyone in his legal department.

He also said he was asked not to speak out during the public meeting earlier today when Berger was blaming him.