A Green Party candidate has joined the race for Nassau County executive -- to the surprise of Nassau Green Party chairman Jim Brown and with the help of some of Republican County Executive Edward Mangano's staff.
The Nassau Board of Elections on Friday received mailed-in petitions with 78 signatures nominating Phillipp Negron, 25, of Freeport to run as Green Party candidate for county executive this fall. Only 60 signatures are needed to qualify as the minor party's candidate.
If his petitions stand, it means Negron will be on the ballot when Mangano runs for re-election this November. A Green Party candidate likely would siphon votes from the Democratic candidate. Mangano's predecessor Thomas Suozzi and businessman Adam Haber both seek the Democratic nomination.
"I don't know him," Brown said, when he learned of Negron's petitions. "We hadn't picked a candidate to run for county executive."
Negron declined to talk to a reporter who went to his home Monday. Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin acknowledged Negron is the stepson of Timothy Williams, chairman of the Nassau Industrial Development Agency, but said Williams had not asked Negron to run. Williams did not return a call for comment.
In an email, Negron said he was "compelled" to run when he learned Nassau Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs, who is spearheading Suozzi's campaign, "is supportive of fracking for natural gas. With a proposed facility off the coast of Jones Beach, I cannot stand idle and allow fracking to occur just miles away from our local beaches and waterways."
Jacobs said, "I have never taken a position on anything to do with anything off Jones Beach . . . That is a nonsensical statement." He said Negron should withdraw "now that he knows the truth."
Democratic Elections Commissioner William Biamonte said Negron registered to vote as a member of the Green Party on June 26. He said five of the nine people who notarized Negron's petitions or signed as a contact person work for Mangano, including Nevin.
"This is an out and out raid by Mangano's crew on the Green Party's sovereignty," Biamonte said. "Why is Ed Mangano's spokesman supporting an opponent to Ed Mangano?"
Brown said Friday, "We run our own candidates. If someone is trying to steal the line, we would definitely fight that." Biamonte said Brown, who could not be reached Monday, filed general objections to Negron's petitions.
Nevin said he is a notary. "By law, as a notary of the state I cannot turn down someone who asks me to notarize their signature. People came to me asked them to notarize their signatures. I gladly did it." Notaries are public officers who certify the authenticity of documents.
As for other Mangano employees who witnessed Green Party petition signatures, he said, "I'm sure they stood by the law as well."
Biamonte noted a New York Giants football logo was affixed atop petitions witnessed by Nevin and mailed Thursday, the same day Newsday was asking Mangano's re-election campaign about subpoenas it received from New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.
The subpoenas asked for information about a luxury MetLife skybox purchased by the political committee headed by Mangano chief deputy Rob Walker. Mangano and Walker have denied allegations filed by Jacobs that they used the committee and skybox to funnel money to Mangano's campaign. Asked about the Giants logo, Nevin laughed and said, "That was tasteful. We're advancing the ball forward."
With Fausto Giovanny Pinto