Odds and Ends: Pre-Election Day Tidbits from Around the Borough

Odds and Ends: Pre-Election Day Tidbits from Around the Borough

From top left: Brooklyn Council District 33 candidates Elizabeth Adams, April Somboun, Victoria Cambranes and Sabrina Gates; District 40 Candidates Edwin Raymond and Josue Pierre; District 48 candidate Heshy Tischler; and Kings County Civil Court 7th District candidates Carmen Pacheco and Keisha Alleyne.

Election day is tomorrow, June 22nd, and across Brooklyn and New York City, candidates are scrambling to engage voters, score last-minute endorsements and do whatever they can win in an unpredictable year.

Here are a few interesting odds and ends from some races across the borough:

Four Women Endorse Each Other in Race for North Brooklyn’s Council District 33 Seat

In the race for Council District 33, which stretches along the North Brooklyn waterfront from Greenpoint to Brooklyn Heights, four woman candidates running for the seat are encouraging voters to rank each other one through four on the ranked choice ballot.

In a short video posted to Twitter, candidates Elizabeth Adams, Victoria Cambranes, April Somboun and Victoria Gates highlight elements of each other’s platforms and encourage voters to elect a woman to replace term-limited Council Member Stephen Levin.

“This is an example of the women candidates working together because of the power of RCV and to make history,” Somboun told Bklyner. “There’s never been a woman ever elected to rep D33.”

The unspoken subtext of the video is that the presumed frontrunner in the race is a man, former de Blasio staffer Lincoln Restler, who has scooped up endorsements from many prominent progressive politicians, advocacy groups and unions. Whether the candidates’ group endorsement will be enough to overcome Restler’s momentum remains to be seen.

Other candidates in the race include Stu Sherman, Ben Solotaire and Toba Potosky.

An Endorsement in Council District 40 from a Neighbor? Not So Fast

Josue Pierre, a leading candidate in the race for Council District 40, which includes neighborhoods like Flatbush and Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, has been circulating a graphic via mail and social media touting endorsements from prominent elected officials and unions.

But one of those mentioned on the mailer, East Flatbush Council Member Farah Louis, says her name shouldn’t have been included.

“I didn't officially endorse him,” Louis told Bklyner in a phone conversation. “I didn't officially endorse anyone.”

“I have a lot of people in the race that I know personally, and that's why I decided to stay out,” she said. “So I'm not sure why he put that out.”

Pierre, who is seeking to replace term-limited Council Member Mathieu Eugene in the seat, did not respond to a text message requesting comment. Two other Council Members listed on the graphic, Mark Treyger and Justin Brannan, confirmed that they had, in fact, endorsed Pierre.

Pierre did support Louis in her own election to the Council back in 2019, and both are closely associated with Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte, who chairs the Brooklyn Democratic Party.

NYPD Whistleblower Candidate Was Subject of Police Complaint He Calls Bogus

Another candidate in the District 40 race, NYPD Lieutenant Edwin Raymond, became famous for his work as a whistleblower on alleged arrest quotas pushed by the department.

But a decade ago, Raymond was one of multiple NYPD officers named in a police misconduct complaint filed in 2011 with the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Raymond says the complaint was a bogus attempt to score a few bucks off the city.

In court filings obtained through the PACER system, plaintiff Russell Bond allegedthat on June 8th, 2010, he and multiple companions were exiting the 3 train at the Pennsylvania Avenue station in East New York when they were stopped and searched by Raymond, Captain Steven Griffith and other officers, who were responding to an apparent commotion on another subway car.

Bond claims the officers found a pocket knife on another man in his group, prompting the officers to arrest them all. He says he was handcuffed tightly enough to cause bleeding, strip searched at a precinct house and detained for 41 hours before being released. The charges against Bond were eventually adjourned in contemplation of dismissal.

Bond’s complaint accuses the defendants of unlawful stop and false arrest, unreasonable force and unlawful strip search, among other charges. But the defendants denied all charges  and in November 2011, the case was settled for only $1,000, with no admission of wrongdoing.

In a conversation with Bklyner, Raymond strongly disputed the events outlined in the complaint, and said it was filed in an attempt to win quick cash from the city. He said the men he arrested were, in fact, assaulting someone, and that the search and pocket knife were “incidental” to the arrest.

“I was standing at Pennsylvania station,” Raymond told Bklyner. “The train pulls in, the way that people exited about three cars to my left, I could see something wasn't right. So I walked towards it and that's when I realized there were three people accosting someone who was on the floor. He was getting kicked. And when they saw me in a uniform, the people that were assaulting him, they were startled, and the dude on the floor got up and ran for his life and exited the station.”

“I placed the three of them under arrest. I had to hold them there. I called for backup. And then like months later, I get a notification to go down to Corporation Counsel.”

Multiple attempts to reach Bond’s lawyer, Afsaan Saleem, were unsuccessful. Raymond pointed to a former city policy of settling claims against cops for minimal sums to make them go away without the cost of fighting them in court. Mayor Bill de Blasio changed course in 2015, and instructed city lawyers to fight frivolous cases as a way “to end the madness.”

“My lawyer was like, anyone who has a legitimate case, whose wrist was cut, who was illegally strip searched does not settle for a $1000,” Raymond said. “The attorney gets a third and the person gets a quick payment. It's just seen as a cheaper option for the city. But that's not done anymore."

“My record speaks for itself when it comes to anything regarding my behavior as a police officer and who I am,” he said.

Besides Raymond and Pierre, other candidates in the race include Rita Joseph, Kenya Handy Hilliard, Blake Morris and Cecilia Cortez.

Who’s Funding Heshy Tischler’s Council District 48 Campaign? Not Council District 48 Residents

Heshy Tischler, the infamous right-wing provocateur who fomented violent protests in Borough Park and has been mired in allegations of mortgage fraud, has raised over $89,000 in private funds in his run for Council District 48 in southern Brooklyn, the most of any candidate in the race.

But financial disclosures filed with the city show that only two donations totalling $150 actually came from residents within the district, which includes Brighton Beach, Sheepshead Bay and parts of Midwood and has been vacant since former Council Member Chaim Deutsch pled guilty to tax fraud and was expelled from the seat.

A cool $37,675 of that money actually came from north Brooklyn’s Council District 33, which includes the Orthodox Jewish enclave of South Williamsburg. From that district, Tischler received several large donations of $2,800—just under the legal limit—from individuals living in South Williamsburg zip codes.

Despite his large haul, Tischler has not qualified for any public matching funds, and he has spent vociferously: his campaign is currently $43,159 in the hole.

Other Democratic candidates in the race include Mariya Markh, Steven Saperstein, Binyomin Bendet and Amber Adler. Inna Vernikov is running unopposed in the Republican primary.

Both Candidates for Kings County Civil Court’s 7th District Rated “Not Approved” By City Bar Association—Because They Didn’t Participate in the Screening

All the candidates running for judicial seats in Brooklyn were rated “approved” last week in a review conducted by the New York City Bar Association’s Committee on the Judiciary—except for two.

Carmen Pacheco and Keisha Alleyne, the two candidates running for Civil Court in the borough’s 7th Municipal District, which includes portions of Bushwick and East New York, were rated “not approved” by the committee. Both said it's because they didn’t have time to submit the necessary paperwork.

“Keisha Alleyne was not deemed not approved, but made the decision to not participate in the process,” said Michael Lambert, Alleyne’s campaign manager. “This was due to the unreasonably short time to submit what was necessary to participate in this evaluation process.”

Pacheco said she was in a serious car accident which took time away from the campaign and left her unable to complete the “voluminous” application.

“It was circumstances that were beyond my control,” she told Bklyner. “I was in a car accident, my car was totaled. The guy blew a stop sign, hit my vehicle. It delayed everything I could possibly do.”

“I think the process is important, whether it’s a municipal district or a citywide district,” she said. “I’ve sat on municipal citywide panels myself so of course I support it. It was one thing that, between the car accident and the campaign, I just couldn't do it.”

The Bar Association’s approval process is designed to determine if candidates hold the necessary qualifications to become a judge, including “integrity, impartiality, intellectual ability, knowledge of the law, industriousness, and judicial demeanor and temperament,” according the Association’s website. Candidates must complete a detailed questionnaire, submit references and case work for review, and meet with the screening committee.  

Alleyne worked as an in-house attorney at Travelers Insurance before the pandemic, and founded the consulting firm Elite Visions Enterprise. She has endorsements from Congresswoman Yvette Clarke and State Senator Kevin Parker, among other elected officials.

Pacheco is a partner at the law firm Pacheco & Lugo and former president of the Puerto Rican Bar Association; she has the backing of Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez and State Senator Julia Salazar, among others.

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