Did Democratic Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen hijack an Elmont news conference from Hempstead Town Republican Majority leader Erin King Sweeney this week?
When asked, King Sweeney laughed and said the story “is not that juicy.”
It began with a flier going out saying “Join local business, community leaders and racing fans for a 2018 Belmont Stakes kick off reception and press conference.”
Accompanied by King Sweeney’s photograph, the flier said the event would be “Hosted by Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney, Councilman Edward Ambrosino and Councilman Bruce Blakeman” on Thursday morning at the King Umberto restaurant in Elmont.
It’s not surprising to see elected Republicans gather there. King Umberto restaurant for years has been a favorite eating and meeting place for new Nassau Republican Chairman Joseph Cairo, the longtime North Valley Stream GOP leader.
Then came a news release from Gillen, the first Democrat to win the top elected spot in Hempstead in more than 100 years: “Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen will join the Elmont Chamber of Commerce, and business and community leaders” to celebrate the Belmont Stakes. Same date, same time and same place.
Ambrosino and Blakeman showed up. But not King Sweeney.
An aviation attorney, King Sweeny said she had a client flying in from Florida at the same time as the news conference.
“I wanted to be there, but I couldn’t be there,” King Sweeney said. “Wires crossed in the scheduling.”
Others involved also say there was some angst that Gillen would try to overshadow the event’s host, the Elmont Chamber of Commerce, when her people arrived carrying a Hempstead Town lectern. But the Chamber kicked off the news conference and Gillen waited her turn to speak.
“It was much ado about nothing,” an attendee said of fears that Gillen would hijack the event.