Archive for the tag 'elections 2013'

Oberman

Oberman

The Trump Village co-op board headed by former City Council candidate Igor Oberman filed a libel suit against a tenant who established a blog to vent criticism of the board’s actions.

Oberman filed the suit against resident Yuliya Bezvoleva on behalf of the Trump Village Section 4 board last month, claiming that her website, TV4News.org, was causing financial harm by getting in the way of potential sales according to the New York Post.

The website has been active since the spring of 2012, documenting perceived violations of co-op board bylaws and other abuses. The oldest post on the site claims one boardmember was actually ineligible to hold the position, and was also bumped to the top of the list for coveted parking spaces. Such privileges for boardmembers are a frequent complaint, with another post alleging that the board used the co-op’s money to construct a personal, fenced in garage.

The site also shared news during Oberman’s 2013 campaign for City Council regarding concerns over his fundraising, which included donations from firms doing business with the board. That election ultimately saw Chaim Deutsch elected to replace Michael Nelson.

Another post took issue with co-op funds used for events on the 1,114-unit property that were open to the public. (Full disclosure: two such events, as noted on the website, were marketed with paid advertising on Sheepshead Bites. The ads were paid for by the Board.)

The lawsuit claims several of the site’s posts include false information, and specifically flags a story from October 2013 questioning why some board candidates were disqualified without explanation, and another from November of that year pointing out Housing Court cases against residents.

Oberman claims in the lawsuit that the website is scaring off potential buyers, and is also ruining his reputation.

“Several potential employers have asked me about . . . the Web site,” Oberman said in an affidavit, according to the Post. 

He declined to comment to the newspaper, but his attorney called the website’s claims “pure fabrications.”

Bezvoleva said the lawsuit is just another illustration of the board’s heavy-handed tactics against critical tenants.

“There is no freedom of speech, and there are no public meetings,” Bezvoleva told the Post. “When we do have them, we have lots of security guards. Sometimes police officers get invited to make sure nothing happens.”

Last year, as Oberman ran for Council, it was reported that the board was mired in lawsuits from former employees and critical tenants who were served eviction notices, allegedly to strengthen Oberman’s control over the board.

Bezvoleva was one of the residents fighting off an eviction notice at the time, after she launched an anti-Oberman petition drive.

Oberman

Igor Oberman, who ran in the Democratic primary and then in the general election as the Working Families Party candidate to replace former Councilman Michael Nelson, raised more than $40,000 from donors while using his work phone at Taxi and Limousine Commission job, a Department of Investigation report claims.

Oberman served as an attorney for the commission, but was using the office to make calls for support during his City Council campaign, a violation of city rules, according to the report obtained by Crain’s Insider.

Oberman faced off against Democrat Chaim Deutsch and Republican David Storobin. Deutsch ultimately won the race by a wide margin.

The report also raises questions about his relationship with his campaign’s consultants, the Advance Group, which was simultaneously hired by the co-op Oberman runs, Trump Village 4.

Crain’s reports:

Last April, records show, Mr. Oberman signed off on a six-month, $45,000 lobbying contract with the Advance Group for the portion of the massive Coney Island co-op he runs a part of, Trump Village, at the same time the Advance Group was running Mr. Oberman’s political campaign, separately earning $73,000. Mr. Oberman says the lobbying expenses were entirely legitimate and separate from the campaign.

Both Mr. Oberman, president of the board of directors of Trump Village West, and the Advance Group face separate investigations from the city Campaign Finance Board into their practices during the 2013 election cycle.

The contract between Trump Village 4 and Advance was terminated in September, when Oberman lost the primary.

Separately, the Department of Investigation report, which was forwarded by a source, states that despite a warning not to do so, Mr. Oberman had “excessively used TLC resources” to conduct his political campaign, operate a realty business, and other business related to Trump Village, the massive Coney Island co-op of which he runs a part. Troves of campaign documents were found on his work computer, according to the report.

Mr. Oberman’s $82,500-a-year city job had been to oversee the prosecution of consumer-initiated complaints concerning the agency. But of the 1,900 calls Mr. Oberman made during a five-month period at the beginning of 2013, fewer than one-quarter were related to government business, an examination of phone records found. Mr. Oberman declined last summer to be interviewed by investigators, the report states. Mr. Oberman was dismissed from his job last September, according to a TLC spokesman.

Oberman denied the allegations to Crain’s.

Early in the race, Oberman seemed like a strong contender, having raised more than $94,000 during the first significant campaign disclosure period – $20,000 more than the next candidate. However, allegations later surfaced that Oberman had abused his role as president of the board of the 1,144-unit Trump Village 4 to aid his campaign, including in using the co-op’s funds to send out thinly-veiled campaign materials bearing his face – an allegation still being investigated by the Campaign Finance Board. (Disclosure: Trump Village 4 ran an ad on Sheepshead Bites during this time. It was paid for by Trump Village and designed by Sheepshead Bites. It did not depict Oberman whatsoever – although the material it linked to did feature his name and face.)

The candidate was also the target of allegations from his rivals that he had filed phony complaints with the Campaign Finance Board to mire his opponents in paperwork. By the September primary, five complaints had been made targeting three candidates. It appeared as if four of those complaints came from one campaign – Oberman’s – and were dismissed. The fifth was against Oberman himself, and is the complaint still under investigation by the agency.

Opponent Ari Kagan, who filed that complaint, also accused Oberman of suppressing Russian votes by sending out phony mailers with incorrect polling sites.

Lawyer Mark Nussbaum

Nussbaum (Source: RUNY)

I’m not quite sure why one would release a statement in response to a quote published a month and half ago, or why one would attack a former elected official of the same party who has said he will never run for office again. But that’s exactly what’s going on this week, with Republican District Leader Marcus Nussbaum of the 46th Assembly District “taking issue” with former State Senator David Storobin for comments he made after the election.

Storobin blamed his loss in November’s race for the 48th District of the City Council, ultimately won by Chaim Deutsch, on low turnout in the Russian-speaking community. Following redistricting, the area became known as a “Super Russian” district, in which Russian speakers are the largest voting block. But apparently that didn’t benefit Storobin.

Nussbaum, who rose to local prominence after providing pro bono legal representation to Bay People in their fight against the Voorhies Avenue mosque, rejected Storobin’s narrative, saying that his loss was because of his failure to garner support from the party. To add some context here, the Brooklyn GOP is in the midst of a power struggle, with a faction led by State Senator Marty Golden looking to unseat county boss Craig Eaton, and Storobin wasn’t exactly a favored son of either side.

Here’s Nussbaum’s press release in full:

Marcus Nussbaum, one of the two newly elected Republican District Leaders in the 46th Assembly District, has stated that he strongly disagrees with former State Senator and City Council candidate David Storobin’s recent statement that he lost his election because the Russian electorate did not come out to vote.

“This analysis labels the Russian community as disinterested in civic affairs. I found this to be in accurate. As I campaigned, talking with hundreds of Russian constituents, I found the overwhelming majority to be very much concerned with government affairs and eager to cast their votes,” Nussbaum said.

Mr. Storobin’s remarks were included in a Politicker article entitled “Non-Russian Triumphs in ‘Super-Russian’ Council District” written by Ross Barkan last November 7th. Mr. Storobin blamed turnout for the letdown, “It’s disappointing the Russian community tends not to come out in high numbers,” he said, reflecting on his bid.”

Nussbaum explained, “I am of Russian descent, and convinced that my victory last September, together with that of my running mate, Lucretia Regina-Potter, happened because of the strong support that we received from the Russian Republican community. In order for us to receive such support, we personally asked for it by meeting with as many Republican voters as possible throughout the entire 46th Assembly District.”

“In spite of the fact that the established factions did not support us, we were able to overcome those obstacles and their very strong opposition. In my opinion, Mr. Storobin lost because he failed to reach out to those people, including myself and my co-leader, who had just succeeded in convincing a large number of Republican voters to actually come out and vote in a Primary election,” Nussbaum stated.

“Could it have been political rather than cultural considerations that were at play?” Nussbaum asked. “At this stage, one is inclined to conclude that perhaps Mr. Storobin did not value our support, or worse, he may have been instructed not to reach out to us by his alignment with one established Republican faction.”

“The result of all of the bickering and infighting among Brooklyn Republicans is that it is almost impossible for Republican candidates for public office to be elected. We must stand united, work for a common victory, and overcome these petty differences in order to succeed. It is not a community that is disappointing, but perhaps the candidates that take the community for granted,” Nussbaum concluded.

deutsch-victory-1

Deutsch, following his primary victory.

After a strong showing in the 48th District City Council race to replace term-limited Michael Nelson, Councilman-elect Chaim Deutsch has sent out a press release thanking voters, and said he’s hitting the ground running.

According to the release, Deutsch has continued to walk the neighborhood thanking voters and listening to constituent concerns, and he’ll continue to do so for the next 60 days until he takes office on January 1, 2014.

“After a long campaign season, many candidates take a well deserved vacation, I decided to get to work immediately” said Deutsch in the release. “Quality of life issues rank high on my list and I intend on being an aggressive, problem solver for my district.”

“I want to sincerely thank all those that supported me and look forward to working hard on behalf of all my constituents,” he added.

City Council candidate David Storobin

Following his defeat on Tuesday to Councilman-elect Chaim Deutsch, former State Senator David Storobin told Sheepshead Bites that he has no plans of ever running for office again, and also threw a jab at his Republican colleagues, likening them to a “debating society.”

The comment was made in an e-mail to us, following a tweet we posted in jest after the results of Tuesday’s election came in.

In reply, Storobin sent us this:

On twitter, you wondered about my future runs for office, against Cymbrowitz or someone else. Let me put this to rest: I didn’t run for the last two years because I’m obsessed with campaigning for public office. I’ve always been interested in politics and felt it was a way of making a difference for the better. The way things lined up, I had to run 3 times in a row, a nightmare I would’ve never started had I known how long it would take. But once I was in it, this is what I had to do. Under the circumstances, those were the correct choices, regardless of the final outcome.

My one regret in all this is that all my time in public eye has been very divisive because that’s the nature of elections where you have to distinguish yourself from your opponent, particularly when you are trying to be “the first”, both as a Russian and as a Republican, which upsets a lot of the traditional political balance.

I wish I had the chance to work without the divisiveness of elections. The one article I enjoyed the most about myself featured a quote from a CUNY professor who said I wasn’t just a Russian Senator, I tried to work for everyone in my brief tenure. I wish I could’ve done more of that – help my neighbors, regardless of their ethnicity, political affiliation or even if they like me or not.

And now things will go back to normal. I will go back to being a lawyer. Brooklyn Democrats won’t have to worry about getting re-elected. Brooklyn Republicans will go back to being a small debating society. Everything makes sense to everyone again.

After we requested clarification on whether or not this means he was done with politics, Storobin was unequivocal:

“Yes, I have no intention of ever running for office again,” he wrote.

If this is the end of the line for Storobin’s political career, it was a brief but historic stint. Storobin made his mark as the first Russian-American to sit in the State Senate, a distinction he won after an uphill campaign in a 2012 special election, taking on one of the city’s most powerful politicians, Councilman Lew Fidler. The victory was an upset, and seen by observers as an indicator of a Republican resurgence emerging in Southern Brooklyn.

Unfortunately for Storobin, his two subsequent campaigns, one to take on Simcha Felder for the “Super Jewish” district last year, and this year’s run for City Council, did not have the same success.

de Blasio (Source: Streets Blog)

Well, if you’ve managed to stay away from the television, radio, newsstands, social media or any website geared towards New York residents, here’s the list of citywide and borough winners from last night’s election, as well as those in Southern Brooklyn races:

  • Bill de Blasio (Mayor)
  • Letitia James (Public Advocate)
  • Scott Stringer (Comptroller)
  • Eric Adams (Brooklyn Borough Presidnet)
  • Kenneth Thompson (Brooklyn District Attorney)
  • Chaim Deutsch (CD48)
  • Vincent Gentile (CD43)
  • Mark Treyger (CD47)
  • Alan Maisel (CD46)
  • David Greenfield (CD44)
  • Jumaane Williams (CD45)

What do you think? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss? Or a whole new era for Brooklyn and New York City?

Let us know in the comments below.

deutsch-victory-1

Photo from Deutsch’s primary victory night in September

Although the district has seen its share of narrow victories in the last few election cycles – including a whopper of a race that saw David Storobin beat Lew Fidler by just 13 votes last year – this was not one of them.

Councilman-elect Chaim Deutsch beat Republican Storobin by 2,716 votes, pulling in 55.1 percent of total votes, in the race to replace Michael Nelson.

“Throughout this campaign, I have walked the streets of this district. I have met the people and I have listened to the their concerns,” said Deutsch during his victory party last night, as reported by Brooklyn Daily. “I understand the unique difficulties that face the residents of this district and I am eager to tackle the issues.”

In order to achieve victory, Deutsch needed to cross ethnic lines far outside of his Orthodox Jewish base in Flatbush. He picked up Asians in Homecrest and Pakistanis in Brighton Beach, as he did in the primary. But, to cross the finish line, Deutsch must have picked up a sizable percentage of the Russian vote that went to Ari Kagan in September.

Indeed, it appears that predictions that Working Families Party Igor Oberman would prove a spoiler to Storobin by pulling in those who vote along ethnic lines, thereby splitting the Russian vote, were unfounded. Oberman brought in 850 votes, or 5 percent. Had all those votes been added to Storobin’s 6,645, the Republican candidate still would have been 11 points behind Deutsch. The Democrat would have won this race in a head-to-head match-up.

The Russian “kingmaker,” Gregory Davidzon, had also launched a write-in campaign. Those results will not be available for several days, or even weeks.

Aside from Deutsch, other Democratic candidates for City Council had a satisfying night in Southern Brooklyn, despite the fact that it’s one of few areas where Republican Joe Lhota took a sizable percentage of the vote in his race for mayor.

Here are the other results of other Southern Brooklyn City Council races:

43rd District (Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Dyker Heights)

  • Vincent Gentile (D) – 12,638 votes (62.7%)
  • John Quaglione (R) – 7,162 votes (35.6%)
  • Patrick Dwyer (Gm) – 342 votes (1.7%)

44th District (Borough Park, Midwood and Bensonhurst)

  • David Greenfield (D) – 13,638 (82%)
  • Joseph Hayon (R) – 2,990 (18%)

45th District (Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood)

  • Jumaane Williams (D) – 19,889 (96.8%)
  • Erlene King (R) – 664 (3.2%)

46th District (Mill Basin, Marine Park, Canarsie)

  • Alan Maisel (D) – 19,746 (80.3%)
  • Anthony Testaverde – 4,834 (19.7%)

47th District (Coney Island, Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Brighton Beach)

  • Mark Treyger (D) – 8,267 (71.2%)
  • Andrew Sullivan (R) – 3,112 (26.8%)
  • Connis Mobley (ScC) – 224 (1.9%)

48th District (Manhattan Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Brighton Beach, Midwood)

  • Chaim Deutsch (D) – 9,361 (55.1%)
  • David Storobin (R) – 6,645 (39.1%)
  • Igor Oberman (WF) – 850 (5%)
  • Alexander Lotovsky (Other) – 138 (0.8%)

With tremendous thanks to WNYC, for the live election breakdowns.

Candidates vying for the 48th City Council District participated in an unorthodox, but incredibly informational, forum last Thursday, hosted by the Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association.

The learning-style forum gave local citizens the opportunity to interact directly with three City Council candidates for the 48th District: Republican David Storobin, Working Families Igor Oberman, and Democrat Chaim Deutsch. The format of the panel departed from the usual, and featured three reporters asking questions, which a citizens panel then answered as if they were the council members. The candidates then weighed in, saying how they’d approach the issue and responding to the residents’ proposals.

Moderated by City Councilman Lew Fidler, the panel touched on important concerns, including local development, parking and traffic, garbage and the revitalization of our commercial districts – the concerns residents said would guide their vote in the November 5 election.

The media panel brought together reporters from local, citywide, and New York policy publications: Michael Powell, a veteran metro reporter from the New York Times; Cristian Salazar, editor of the Gotham Gazette, a policy analysis publication; and our own Ned Berke, editor and publisher of Sheepshead Bites.

Attendance for the event filled up the Carmine Carro Community Center in Brooklyn’s Marine Park, where the event took place. Ed Jaworski, the president of the Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association and organizer of the event said that the event was “an opportunity for the public, candidates for office, and current office holders to learn from citizens. It‘s a focus on citizen input, that is, bottom-up consideration.”

William Chin, one of the citizen panels, said, “It was an unbelievable turnout.” But he added that though the content was good, there weren’t many “campaignable promises.”

Storobin, Oberman, and Deutsch had dissenting opinions about what it would take to draw business to local shops, find a balance in the equitable distribution of wealth, and educate proprietors on the basics of business stability.

In fact, one of the few things the candidates did agree upon was the rejection of Bloomberg’s 16-ounce soda ban, with Storobin calling it “preposterous” and Oberman adding, “We don’t need another politician concerned about soda.”

The entire panel can be watched in the video above.

The Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition (FJCC) sent this over today, and it’s good advice. We know we have a lot of readers who are temporarily out of the area, either displaced because of Sandy or for other reasons. That doesn’t mean you have to lose your chance to vote in the upcoming elections. Here’s the information, coming via FJCC:

The NYC general election for Mayor, Comptroller, Public Advocate and local City Council races is Tuesday November 5th. For those who may not be available to vote on that day in person, the deadline to file for an absentee ballot is looming: this Tuesday October 29th.

The Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition, FJCC, is strongly urging all registered voters in Flatbush and elsewhere to vote this coming Election Day, November 5th. Recent elections have been won and lost by a margin of only a few votes. Elected officials take notice of those communities that vote.

If you or a family member will be out of town, are elderly or infirm, a student studying in Lakewood or abroad, or for any reason won’t be available to vote in person on November 5th, please make sure to fill out and send in an absentee ballot request postmarked by October 29th.

The Board of Elections will mail you an actual Ballot. That Ballot must be returned to the Board of Elections NO LATER then the DAY BEFORE Election Day.

To make a request for the ballot to be sent to you call the Board of Elections at 212.487.5400 or just print from their site: http://vote.nyc.ny.us/downloads/pdf/forms/boe/absenteevoting/absenglish.pdf

Voting is a communal responsibility. When we vote, we win. Please Vote! We are all counting on you.

Many say Davidzon (right) is only running to cause Storobin (left) to lose, but it might mean losing out on business for the media mogul.

Many say Davidzon (right) is only running to cause Storobin (left) to lose, but it might mean losing out on business for the media mogul.

A high-ranking source in the Brooklyn Republican Party is elated that Russian media mogul Gregory Davidzon is throwing his hat into the ring with a surprise write-in campaign for the 48th Council District, saying that it’ll prove whether or not his support is worth paying for.

Davidzon has long held himself up as the “kingmaker” of the Russian community, a title that picked up traction in the mainstream political press after his support helped garner wins in the Russian community for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Comptroller John Liu and, most surprisingly, Congressman Bob Turner.

But the kingmaker’s power has come under doubt in the last few election cycles, having failed to earn wins for candidates he supported, including Lew Fidler in his race for State Senate against David Storobin, Ben Akselrod in his bid to unseat Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, and, most recently, Ari Kagan in his race for the 48th District Democratic primary.

The recent record has some politicos wondering if it means the power broker’s influence is ebbing.

“It’s a free poll for us,” a high-ranking source in the Republican Party leadership, who asked to remain anonymous, told Sheepshead Bites. “We can finally see how much support he’ll bring in. It’ll be a way to tell if it’s worth paying for.”

The source was referring to the consulting fees Davidzon commands in return for advertising, on-air support and Davidzon’s personal endorsement, for which candidates have been known to pay upwards of $10,000. Many have turned to the broadcaster and publisher after he gained a reputation for an almost slavish following of Russian-American seniors who vote at his whim.

That means the write-in campaign could be bad for business if Davidzon fails to garner much support in the race, as it could prove that fan-base a profitable myth.

“I’m dying to see what he can do now. If he gets two percent of the vote, it’s not worth fighting for his support anymore,” said the GOP source.

Davidzon has spent the last several days making phone calls to those in both parties seeking endorsement, having won several prominent ones already from both parties. But, our source, who was also approached, said that Davidzon disclosed that he has no hopes for winning the race, only at causing Republican contender David Storobin to lose.

“He’s acknowledged to me privately that he can’t win, but he just wants to chip away at David’s lead. There’s a bit of a rivalry right now about who really is the king of the Russians,” he said.

He added that Davidzon’s been successful at picking up the support of Republican leaders, since Storobin is on the outs with the party.

“Storobin isn’t well liked in the party right now,” the source said, noting that the party is in the midst of a civil war. [Our source is a supporter of current chairman Craig Eaton].

Still, he said he’d be withholding his support from Davidzon in favor of party loyalty.

“I can’t [support Davidzon]. There’s a Republican in the race, even if we don’t like him, we just can’t do that,” he said.

Our source isn’t the only one staying out of the fray. Republican operative Gene Berardelli, also of Craig Eaton’s Kings County Republican Party, said it’s a lose-lose to get involved.

“As a Republican, I don’t know what to make of it. On the one side, you want someone from your party to win, on the other you don’t want to offend Davidzon because he can get you votes in the future,” said Berardelli. “This is one of those situations where you just back away very slowly.”

He added that some of the support Davidzon has received, like that of Democratic Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny and Democratic District Leader Ari Kagan, endorsements that have baffled Democratic Party leadership, comes from fear of losing the mogul’s support down the line.

“He’s one of those guys where you go against him, and you offend him, he will never forget,” said Berardelli, noting the Brook-Krasny faces reelection next year.

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