The Nassau County Supreme Court will rule on a claim that more than half of the 4,300 signatures collected for a referendum on the proposed takeover of the Roslyn Heights, N.Y., club by the Town of North Hempstead are invalid.
The proposed takeover of Roslyn Country Club by the Town of North Hempstead is going to the Nassau County Supreme Court, after a club resident filed a challenge against the validity of a petition, The Island Now reported.
The petition in question is seeking a public vote on the town’s takeover of the Roslyn Heights, N.Y., club, which would cost $7.5 million for 7.2 acres of land. Club & Resort Business reported on the issue in July (“Residents Demand Public Vote on Acquisition of Roslyn CC”).
Manoucher Malekan, Roslyn CC’s owner, said the town’s agreement depends on residents in the development dropping numerous lawsuits against him over his closing of the pool and tennis court facilities several years ago, The Island Now reported.
Club resident Jared Shapiro alleges that more than half of the 4,300 signatures collected in favor of holding the referendum are invalid. The petition requires a minimum of 2,900 signatures to be validated by the county Board of Elections for the referendum to proceed, The Island Now reported.
“There’s an allegation that about 2,500 or more of the 4,300 signatures are no good,” said Steve Schlesinger, the attorney hired by the town to handle the petitions case.
Todd Zarin, who serves as President of the Roslyn Country Club Civic Association and is in support of Shapiro, said Shapiro’s attorney, Robert Hersh, has said he thinks there is a strong chance the signatures will be thrown out, The Island Now reported.
“The attorneys that are expert in election law tell us that the claims are pretty good,” said Zarin, who is also an attorney. Zarin added that the challenge is “appropriate in a situation where a small group of people are trying to turn over the will of 250,000 people.”
Zarin said town residents have already voted on the issue by returning Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman to office, as the acquisition was a key issue in the November election, The Island Now reported.
Kenneth Gray, the attorney representing the petitioners, said the town appears to be “capitulating on objecting to the referendum.”
“The town objected on the record in court on my client’s intervening in the matter, so their perspective could be heard,” Gray said. “And that is inappropriate. We find it very interesting that the town is attempting to silence the residents who signed the petition. We are disappointed, to say the least.”
The leaders who spearheaded the petition effort have contended that residents deserve a chance to vote on developing the club as a town park.
Edward Scott, President of the Albertson Civic Association, suggested that the challenge by the club’s activists is a ploy created by Kaiman, who has said he supports the referendum based on the signatures submitted, The Island Now reported.
“Jon Kaiman‘s playing both sides of the fence. He’s saying that there should be a referendum,” Scott said. “But Jon is using Shapiro and the RCC as a vessel to ultimately knock the petitions out and get what he wanted done.”
Schlesinger said verifications of the petitions could take longer than usual, since petitions filed for state Assembly, Senate and judicial races take precedence for review at the Nassau County Board of Elections, The Island Now reported.
“This petition hit at the same time that petitions related to the primary elections hit. The court has basically said that since this is a November ballot issue, the other cases are first,” Schlesinger said.