Michael Zapson has stepped down as Long Beach Democratic Party chairman but vowed the committee will remain independent from Nassau County Democrats.
Zapson said he resigned from his post effective Dec. 3, leaving the city’s committee without a designated leader.
It closes the chapter on a yearslong feud between Zapson and Nassau County Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs, who had called on Zapson to resign from the city’s committee for the past year, alleging mismanagement of funds and dysfunctional leadership.
Jacobs said he is now taking legal action to stop Zapson and the fractioned committee from using the Democratic Party in its name separate from Nassau County Democrats.
Zapson resigned after serving eight years as party chairman and 10 years before that on the Long Beach City Council. He said he is following through on his promise to resign after getting a slate of Democratic candidates elected to the council in the November election. He said he will remain a part of the committee but is no longer on the executive board.
“The only way to step down is to break away from it,” he said Friday. “I’m sure others will do a good job, and I’m sure they will call on me if needed. No one’s irreplaceable. I had said all along I would step down after the election. We won the election and have won every election since I was chairman.”
Jacobs presented an opposing slate of candidates to run against Zapson’s nominees in the City Council primary.
Long Beach voters selected Jacobs’ nominee, Anissa Moore, to run for the only vacant City Council seat, along with incumbents Len Torres and Anthony Eramo, who Zapson supported along with challenger Karen Adamo. The split Democratic ticket swept the November election, with Moore and Eramo earning four-year terms. Torres came in third, earning a two-year term.
Jacobs also challenged all of the seats on Zapson’s Democratic Committee, which nominates the party chairman and candidates to run for office.
A judge ruled in August that Zapson’s committee seats were invalid because petitions did not say the committee members represented Long Beach. Committee members chosen by Jacobs elected a new chairman, Rob Solomon, to represent Long Beach for the Nassau County Democratic Committee, also known as the New Long Beach Democratic Committee.
Jacobs has asserted that Zapson’s Long Beach Democratic Committee is legally invalid because it is not recognized by the state Board of Elections or election law.
Jacobs said he is asking the Long Beach committee to transfer campaign funds and office space to the Nassau County party. The Long Beach Democratic Committee showed a postelection balance of nearly $40,000.
“There is this fantasy there are two separate committees,” Jacobs said. “There is no other committee under the law. It cannot raise money or represent itself as a Democrat committee. The only Long Beach Democratic Committee is the subsidiary of the county committee.”