A judge in Westchester County has dismissed an effort to remove Brookhaven Conservative Co-Chairman Frank Profeta from the party, saying he appeared to be a “faithful” member.
“The hearing record is devoid of evidence that Frank Profeta is not in sympathy with the principles of the Conservative Party,” Supreme Court Justice Emmett Murphy ruled Wednesday.
Conservative Chairman Frank Tinari sued to boot Profeta from the party for sending campaign mail backing GOP District Court candidate Tara Scully over Democrat Stephen Ukeiley in 2015. Ukeiley had been endorsed by the county Conservative Party.
Tinari’s attorney, Vincent Messina of Central Islip, said he plans to appeal.
“We respectfully disagree with the determination of the Supreme Court and look forward to having our appeal heard and determined,” he said.
Profeta said, “This decision protects Conservatives that oppose Frank Tinari’s endorsement of liberal Democrats.”
Tinari is in a battle for control of the powerful Conservative Party with Profeta’s Brookhaven co-chair, Kenneth Auerbach.
Auerbach says the party needs a fresh start after the federal felony conviction of former Chairman Edward Walsh for gambling, golfing and conducting political business while on the county payroll.
Tinari, who served as Walsh’s executive vice chairman, has touted the party’s increased clout over the past decade, particularly its success in helping to elect judges.
Profeta’s court case went to the White Plains judge after “numerous” Nassau and Suffolk judges recused themselves, the decision said.
Murphy also ruled last in favor of 55 of 56 Tinari-backed party committeeman candidates who had been challenged by Auerbach supporters.
Auerbach supporters also withdrew 15 challenges to allow for write-in candidates for some committeeman seats.