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Judge grants bank request to foreclose on Christine Pellegrino's home

Christine Pellegrino, Democratic incumbent candidate for New York

Christine Pellegrino, Democratic incumbent candidate for New York State Assembly 9th District, poses for a portrait at West Islip Public Library on Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. Credit: James Escher

A Suffolk judge has granted a bank’s request to foreclose on Assemb. Christine Pellegrino’s West Islip house for nonpayment of a $893,100 note, plus interest.

Acting state Supreme Court Justice John Rouse on Oct. 12 granted a motion for summary judgment by Manufacturers and Traders Trust Co. to foreclose on the Pellegrino property, ruling that defense arguments from the asssemblywoman and her ex-husband Vincent had “no merit.”

Rouse appointed Bayport attorney Pamela Green as referee to compute the amount due the bank and begin the process for selling the house at auction for payment of the couple’s debts.

A campaign spokesman for Pellegrino, a Democrat running for re-election in the 9th Assembly District, said in a statement she “intends to appeal and address deficiencies with the court’s decision.”

Spokesman Patrick Nelson said the decision “is a procedural motion and is in no way final disposition of the matter that has been ongoing with multiple motions back and forth over the last two years.”

Republican Michael LiPetri, a private attorney who is challenging Pellegrino, has cited the foreclosure and her other debts in his campaign against the former public school teacher.

Pellegrino made national news when she won a special election last year to replace Republican Joseph Saladino, who had resigned to become Oyster Bay Town Supervisor, in a district that had supported Donald Trump’s election in 2016.

“If Christine Pellegrino thinks having hundreds of thousands in unpaid taxes and mortgage foreclosure makes her qualified for office, then it’s clear she’s a typical politician. Since she can’t control her own finances, she shouldn’t be trusted to handle ours,” LiPetri said in a statement.

Nelson said, “The Oyster Bay Republican machine has chosen to make this the sole element of their campaign precisely because they cannot challenge Assemblywoman Pellegrino on her excellent record of delivering results for the people of the 9th Assembly District.”

Newsday reported last year that the Pellegrino’s, who are now divorced, had $186,00 in federal tax liens. The 2016 foreclosure documents list additional debts of $300,000 in state tax liens, $1,520 for neighborhood association fees and six Suffolk traffic tickets.

Rouse’s order lists as creditors including the Nassau Educators Federal Credit Union; the clerk of the Suffolk County Traffic & Parking Violations Agency; Suffolk District Court; the IRS; and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.

Pellegrino representatives have repeatedly blamed the financial difficulties on the divorce and the 2007 economic crisis for the financial problems.

In May 1993, Pellegrino had filed for personal bankruptcy under the name of Christine DeBartolo when she lived in East Meadow.

Vincent Pellegrino could not be reached for comment.

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