Former Nassau County Attorney John Ciampoli, a veteran Republican elections lawyer, has filed a novel election law complaint against Freeport Village board trustee candidates Jorge Martinez, the deputy mayor, and Christopher Squeri, over stolen campaign signs.
It’s not unusual for candidates to complain about stolen and defaced campaign signs during elections.
But Ciampoli, who is representing board candidate Joseph Gambino, took it a step further Friday in a complaint to the state Board of Elections and its enforcement counsel, Raisa Sugarman.
Ciampoli says supporters of Martinez and Squeri, who are running on the Unity Home Rule party line, have taken Gambino’s lawn signs, cut them up and repurposed them to produce new signs saying things such as, “No, No Scambino” and “Oh No Not Joe.”
The repurposed signs are being placed on lawns and featured on Facebook pages to support the campaigns of Martinez and Squieri, Ciampoli wrote in his complaint.
Ciampoli contends Martinez and Squeri, in violation of election finance law, have not reported these defaced signs as in-kind campaign contributions on campaign financial disclosure reports to the state board.
“The dozens of signs stolen and altered to become campaign materials for the 'Unity Home Rule Party' are not reported on any of the financial disclosures for the candidates of the 'Unity Home Rule Party' or by the independent body itself,” Ciampoli wrote.
”It would seem that the perpetrators of these crimes have created an obligation to disclose their action’s financial impact on campaign finance reports," Ciampoli said. "They have failed to make the required disclosure …”
Ciampoli said the candidates also should have reported services and material received from Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy who, Ciampoli said, used a village-owned podium and sound system to help launch their campaigns.
In an accompanying complaint, Gambino, who is running on the “Residents Stand United” party line asks the state board to “assess and enforce all penalties available.”
Contacted by Newsday Friday Martinez said, “I have no idea what you’re talking about. I am unaware of this complaint. Except for you, nobody has contacted me about this issue. Other than that, I have nothing else to say.”
Kennedy said, “I have no idea what he’s [Ciampoli] talking about, none whatsoever. I’m not going to make any type of comment. I don’t know what to say.”
Squeri could not be reached immediately.