CONEY ISLAND – The embattled Assemblymember Pamela Harris has resigned. Harris represented the 46th Assembly district which includes Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Gravesend and Sea Gate.
Reportedly, Harris submitted her letter of resignation to Speaker Carl E. Heastie yesterday. The former assemblymember is accused of misappropriating city and federal funds, charges that lend themselves to 11 federal charges including wire and bankruptcy fraud. If convicted, Harris faces up to 30 years in federal prison.
The governor has 60 days to announce a special election, however, petitioning for the assembly seat also starts on June 5 –– an indication that Harris’ seat will likely traverse through the normal electoral process. This saves Party bosses like Frank Seddio, Brooklyn’s Democratic Chair, from picking sides between the Coney Island and Bay Ridge factions.
In Coney Island – an area that has been plagued with political corruption for more than a decade – another battle is brewing over who should be the democratic frontrunner representing the Coney Island faction.
Sources say Councilmember Mark Treyger has decided to back his former chief of staff, Ethan Lustig-Elgrably to run for Harris’ seat. The millennial who graduated from Brandeis University hails from the Midwood section of Brooklyn and moved to Coney Island in 2016. It is rumored that the former staffer moved to Coney Island to be eligible to run for Treyger’s term-limited council seat in 2021. Treyger declined to comment.
Sources say the African American community is up in arms about Treyger’s decision to back Lustig-Elgrably, his Jewish former staffer, over Haitian-American Mathylde Frontus, a longtime Coney Island resident who has been eyeing the seat since October –– three months before the assembly member was charged. According to the New York State Board of Elections, Frontus formed a campaign committee on Oct. 26, 2017.
Lustig-Elgably did not respond to request for comment about running for the seat, but sources say members of the Shorefront Democratic Club, located in the same district where Treyger holds a District Leader position, have been advised that they should support Lustif-Elgrably for the assembly seat.
Frontus told Bklyner she is forging ahead with her campaign with or without the support of the influential councilmember.
“I have always believed that it’s a free country and anybody who has good ideas should run,” said Frontus. “This race has garnered widespread attention and I imagine that a number of people are probably thinking about running.”
Frontus said she will be announcing in a matter of days and is focused on her own campaign for which she has been actively fundraising.
“I am proud to have a long and distinguished record of community service and leadership, going back for over fifteen years. I also believe it’s time to stand up for Southwest Brooklyn and put the needs of the people ahead of politics or anything else.”
In addition to Lustig-Elgrably, Frontus will likely face Chris McCreight and the latest contender rumored to be interested in running, former City Councilmember Vincent Gentile, in a Sept. 13 primary.