ALBANY—Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy is suing members of the still-hobbled State Senate, claiming he needs to know who the chamber's president is so he can conduct his business as a county official.
"The state legislature has had more than enough time to come to a resolution, but it has not," Levy said in a statement. "It is therefore essential that the judiciary intervene and make a ruling as to the validity of the June 8 meeting. This is the only way, short of an unlikely compromise on the part of the parties, to resolve this matter in a timely fashion and to avoid potential layoffs and program cuts on a local level. This litigation will once again bring the judiciary to the forefront of resolving this matter."
Above is the Article 78 proceeding he will file later today. It is the sixth such lawsuit brought on Senate Coup. (Yes, when we get to 12, I will write and perform a song that knocks Casey Seiler's socks off.) For those of you keeping score at home, here's a lawsuit roundup:
1) Smith v. Espada. The Democrats filed this lawsuit the same week as the Republican-led coup that started this morass. It sought to restrain Senator Pedro Espada Jr. from performing the duties of senate president as well as declare Senator Malcolm Smith the chamber's duly elected president. After being adjourned several times for negotiations, it was dismissed by Justice Thomas McNamara. Democrats declined to appeal.
2) Winner v. Aponte. The Republicans filed this lawsuit after Angelo Aponte, the Democrat-designated secretary of the senate, refused to turn on the microphones for the faux-sessions Republicans were holding during week two of Senate Coup. It is still pending before McNamara, but tensions on this issue have subsided and McNamara has made no secret of his aversion to getting involved.
3) Paterson v. Adams et al. David Paterson started calling extraordinary sessions to try and resolve this matter, but fumed when each faction entered the chamber on its own. He successfully obtained a court order which would make them come together at once. It was affirmed by the Appellate Division. Senators have since learned to come into the chamber together and still do nothing.
4) DiNapoli v. Espada et al. In response to a request from Paterson, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli filed a lawsuit seeking legal cover to withhold senators pay while they dither. It will be heard July 10 by Justice Eugene Divine.
5) Aubertine v. Assembly. This action was filed after the coffee-run coup last week, in which Democrats purported to pass over 100 bills including the extension of the Power for Jobs program by State Senator Darrel Aubertine. He's suing the Assembly for holding onto those bills; the case will be heard July 17.