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Nassau Independence Party loses chairman

Bobby Kumar in his Syossett Office, before a

Bobby Kumar in his Syossett Office, before a wall full of photos that show him with various officials and dignitaries. Photo Credit: Newsday / Daniel Goodrich

The often-controversial Bobby Kumar is out as chairman of Nassau’s Independence Party and power to name the minor party’s Nassau candidates has been transferred to the state party’s executive committee, said state party chairman Frank MacKay.

“There is no chairman in Nassau County,” said MacKay. He said the party state committee took over power of naming the Nassau minor party’s candidates Saturday in a meeting in Troy. Papers officially making the change were filed at the state and Nassau Board of Elections Tuesday.

Kumar is out, according to MacKay, because he failed to hold a biennial party meeting last September to reorganize the Nassau party committee and elect party officers.

“I’ve always liked Bobby and brought him into the party,” said MacKay. “But you absolutely have to inform people that you’re having a meeting whether they are with you or not. That’s why we will have no chair until 2012.”

However, Kumar, 53, chair for the past four years, says he remains head of the party’s “duly constituted committee.” He says he held a meeting re-electing him on or around Sept 20. He said he will bring the proper paperwork to the next state party committee. Nassau’s Democratic elections officials say there is no record of Kumar's reorganization meeting; GOP election officials did not respond immediately.

Kumar, who staged his own kidnapping in 2001, has over the years often drawn fire from Republicans and Democratic officials for vacillating endlessly before making a final decision on who to support.

Gary Melius, a MacKay ally, tried unsuccessfully to oust Kumar last September in a party primary as a state committee member.

Since the minor party mainly endorses major-party candidates, the most significant change is that the state executive committee will now issue authorizations — known as Wilson-Pikula certificates — for allowing non-party members on the party’s line in general elections.

MacKay added that he will name someone to serve as a liason to Nassau Independence Party activists at his March 31 fundraiser.

Jay Jacobs, Nassau and state Democratic chairman, said the decision was “internal party business,” but added “it’s no secret I’ve had my difficulties with Bobby Kumar and I hope the relationship I can develop with the next chairman will be an open, frank and honest one.”

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