On Tuesday night, Columbia County Republicans met to hear from gubernatorial candidates Rick Lazio and Steve Levy, in that order.
According to a trusted eyewitness, one of the county committee members put a pile of material on a table for participants to pick up and read. The papers reproduced the recent Newsday story by Sandra Peddie and Rick Brand about that county title work that Levy's Suffolk executive office sent his one-time law classmate and later Long Island tenant Ethan Ellner, who was convicted of white-collar crimes before and after.
The eyewitness, a Republican who declined to be identified, says:
"Levy’s assistant went over a few minutes later, took a look at the papers, and picked up the entire pile and slipped it into the brown folder under his arm. The committeeman, watching this in amazement, pointed to a couple of papers off to the side."
He said, 'You missed those.' Without any shame, Levy’s guy reached over and slipped those into his folder as well.
"After Lazio and Levy had both left, the committeeman who witnessed this, stood up and spoke about how offended he was that Levy’s people felt they had the right to steal the information he had left for the committee people to read.
"'Fortunately,' he proudly told the crowd, 'I saved a copy.' He then put it back on the table for people to read."
In case you missed it, the Newsday story on Levy and Ellner is posted here.
Called on for response Josh Hills, spokesman for Levy, sent along the following statement:
"We weren't going to sit back and let the Lazio camp poison the atmosphere at this meeting with their low-class, gutter tactics. Had we known that they would stoop to the level of distributing negative literature at this type of venue, surely we would have been able to produce plenty of our own about him. Much has been reported, for example, about his lackluster fundraising, or the role he played in creating the worldwide recession while personally profiteering from it.
"These are the same slimy tactics Mr. Lazio used in his campaign against Hillary Clinton. He doesn't have anything positive to say about himself, so he takes the campaign into the gutter. It didn't work for him then, and it isn't going to work for him now."