Queens City Council Candidate Again Accused of 'Plantation-Type Politics'

Jacques Leandre (Photo: Facebook)

Jacques Leandre (Photo: Facebook)

An opponent of attorney Jacques Leandre, one of eight candidates running in a Queens City Council special election, again accused him of engaging in “plantation-type politics” on last night’s Road to City Hall when asked about Mr. Leandre’s legal challenge to his petitions to get on the ballot. Michael Duncan made his claim when another candidate in the race, Donovan Richards, asked him how he felt about Mr. Leandre’s challenges in a forum on the show.

“I think Jacques is a very smart brother,” Mr. Duncan answered. “I think Jacques took the time to investigate my petition. I think Jacques realized I had over 1,600 good signatures. So Jacques should not use that same plantation-type politics that have been used on us for centuries.”

Mr. Leandre challenged the petitions of six of the candidates in the special election last month, though he eventually withdrew his lawsuits. In a rare move, several of the candidates banded together to blast Leandre and accuse him of simply trying to waste their time and money in an effort to thin the field. Among the three other candidates who appeared on Road to City Hall–Pesach Osina, Marie Adam-Ovide, Saywalah Kesselly and Allan Jennings were not on the show–the lawsuit was a sore topic. Each took the time to tear into Leandre, who is a high-profile attorney.

“Will you be willing to to cut a check in the amount that all of the candidates have spent in good faith and give it to the City of New York?” asked Selvena Brooks, whose petitions were also challenged.

Mr. Leandre explained the legal particulars of his challenges, and defended them by arguing a candidate experienced enough to hold the office should have been able to address his challenges.

“This position is a legislative position,” he said. “It’s a position that presupposes that you are versed in drafting legislation and reviewing legislation and drafting bills and understanding legal processes. As an attorney, I think I am adequately prepared to represent the 31st District in the same way that I vigorously have gone through this process, the petition process, is the same way I’m going to represent the 31st District.”

The election will be held on Feb. 19 to fill the remainder of James Sanders’s term. Last fall, Sanders toppled the indicted Shirley Huntley in a State Senate race. Mr. Richards, the most recent chief of staff to Mr. Sanders, has received his endorsement and is leading the other candidates on the fundraising front.