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Lawsuit against Nassau Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs dismissed

Jay Jacobs speaks about the governor recommendation to

Jay Jacobs speaks about the governor recommendation to head the state democratic committee on Jan. 14 in Glen Cove. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Nassau County Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs by former Long Beach City Council candidate Runnie Myles.

U.S. District Judge Arlene R. Lindsay dismissed the case by Myles, who had filed suit in 2017 seeking $2 million in damages.

Myles said Jacobs and Democratic county elections Commissioner David Gugerty violated his First Amendment rights and the Voting Rights Act, when they mounted a legal challenge to petition signatures Myles had collected to get on the ballot.

The Long Beach Democratic Committee submitted a candidate slate with Myles, Joe Miccio and Barbara Bernardino at the party's 2017 county nominating convention, after Jacobs declined to submit a slate. Jacobs instead backed incumbents Scott Mandel and Chumi Diamond, and then-challenger John Bendo.

“We are happy the Court viewed this litigation as frivolous, and found all claims against Jay Jacobs without merit,” said Keith Corbett, Jacobs' attorney. 

Myles, Miccio and Bernardino’s petitions seeking to run in a September 2017 primary were challenged in state Supreme Court. They later conceded they did not have enough signatures.

Myles said his attorney John Ciampoli advised him to withdraw and waive his right to appeal, and “threw the case” by convincing him he would be indicted  on fraud charges.

Myles argued in his federa lawsuit that Jacobs opposed his nomination because Myles' slate opposed developments including the proposed iStar apartment development and the city’s comprehensive plan. Myles alleged that Jacobs opposed his ticket because the Democratic Party’s contracted law firm, Harris Beach, stood to profit from the developments.

Lindsay's ruling said Jacobs and Gugerty were never properly served as defendants, and Myles did not make the necessary court filings.

The court also found Myles' argument that he was a disenfranchised African American candidate or that his due process rights were violated under the Fourteenth Amendment lacked merit, because he withdrew his nomination.

Myles and his attorney Jonathan Clarke have filed a notice of appeal.

Clarke said Jacobs used Democratic Party resources to violate Myles' First Amendment rights.

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