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LIRR probing complaint about Stephen Ruth supporters

Stephen Ruth Jr. of Centereach speaks with reporters

Stephen Ruth Jr. of Centereach speaks with reporters on Friday, June 3, 2016 at Riverhead Criminal Court. Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

A commuter says a political message to support red-light-camera opponent Stephen Ruth was broadcast over Huntington’s Long Island Rail Road public address system last week — and the LIRR is investigating a similar complaint.

The message to “vote for Stephen Ruth” came as the 8:22 a.m. train to Penn Station pulled in Wednesday, Joel Wirchin, 57, of Huntington told Newsday.

“Usually it’s Joe Namath or Matt Lauer telling people to watch the gap,” said the law firm executive administrator and regular rider. “Today it was this Ruth bark.”

The LIRR investigated a similar complaint, said Salvatore Arena, spokesman for the LIRR, who said he couldn’t provide more details. He said there’s “no evidence that anyone from Mr. Ruth’s campaign accessed our public address system.”

Ruth, facing 7 years in prison for charges related to cutting down red-light-camera poles in Brookhaven and Coram, said he didn’t know about any broadcast over the PA. “If I could, I would,” he said.

Ruth has been campaigning at the Huntington and Ronkonkoma stations with two volunteers, including one with a headset and microphone.

Ruth, of Centereach, is running a long-shot bid on the Libertarian line to unseat State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-Northport). Peter Magistrale of St. James is the Democratic candidate.

Ruth’s next court hearing is Nov. 15 in District Court. He is charged with 19 counts of second-degree criminal mischief, a felony.


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