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Long IslandPolitics

James Coll disqualified in Nassau legislative primary

NYPD Det. James Coll, shown July 21, 2017,

NYPD Det. James Coll, shown July 21, 2017, was seeking to challenge John R. Ferretti Jr., the Nassau GOP's choice for the county legislature's 15th District, in the Sept. 12 primary. Photo Credit: James Escher

A Nassau judge Monday disqualified an NYPD detective from challenging a Republican-backed candidate for a county legislative seat in Levittown, citing a petition error in which the candidate used the word “Legislature” instead of “Legislator.”

Acting State Supreme Court Justice Robert Bogle, a Republican, separately allowed a Democratic legislative primary to move forward in Baldwin for the 5th District seat being vacated by Laura Curran, who is running for county executive.

In the GOP case, Bogle ruled that James Coll of Seaford had a technical error on the cover sheet of his nominating petitions that invalidated his entire petition. Coll was seeking to challenge John R. Ferretti Jr., the Nassau GOP’s choice to represent the county Legislature’s 15th District, in the Sept. 12 primary.

Two Levittown Republicans filed a lawsuit objecting to Coll’s nominating petitions, alleging numerous false registrations and addresses used by petition witnesses. They also noted that on his nominating petitions, Coll wrote “15th District Nassau County Legislature” instead of “Legislator.”

Bogle ruled there was “insufficient evidence” of any fraud, but he called the misidentification of the office being sought a “serious matter” that could confuse residents.

Coll said the residents who signed his petitions knew what office he was seeking and questioned whether the ruling was politically motivated.

“It just shows what little regard the GOP and its judges have for voters,” said Coll, who had not decided if he would appeal the decision.

Ferretti, a chief deputy Nassau County clerk and great-nephew of Nassau Republican chairman Joseph Mondello, said he wanted Coll’s “support in our campaign to hold the line on property taxes, continue to implement meaningful ethics reform, and maintain our suburban quality of life.”

The 15th District seat was vacated this year by Dennis Dunne (R-Levittown), who was appointed to the Hempstead Town Board.

Bogle also ruled that Reginald Nicolas of Baldwin could remain on the ballot to challenge Freeport trustee Debra Mulé in a primary for the 5th District seat.

Nicolas submitted 581 valid signatures — 500 are needed to get on the ballot — but Democratic Party officials said 135 were from residents who do not live in the district. Bogle determined that 133 signatures were invalid, but he said the party missed the July 27 deadline to file objections by six days.

Mulé, who is backed by the Nassau Democratic Party, plans to appeal the decision.

“As the trial court acknowledged, Mr. Nicolas did not have 500 Democrats from District 5 sign his petition, and we look forward to presenting our argument before the Appellate Division,” said Mulé campaign manager Catherine Schlingheyde.

Nicolas, a nurse case manager, said “people in this district deserve to have a choice in the general election.”

In Long Beach, City Council incumbents Chumi Diamond and Scott Mandel are contesting their primary challengers’ petitions, alleging forged or invalid signatures. A Nassau Supreme Court justice is expected to rule by Friday whether challengers Barbara Bernardino, Joe Miccio and Runnie Myles can appear on the ballot.

With John Asbury

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