The Mastic Beach Village Board has filed a lawsuit to remove one of its members for allegedly sharing the results of confidential criminal investigations, recording private conversations and forwarding village emails.
On Monday, Village Attorney J. David Eldridge filed the petition against trustee Christopher Anderson, 33, with the Second Appellate Division of State New York Supreme Court in Brooklyn under section 36 of the Public Officers Law. That law specifically allows removal of elected officials from office.
“Mr. Anderson refused to take even minimal steps to protect the village and its residents, and instead, intentionally and repeatedly shared confidential and privileged legal and other documents and information with others,” the petition states. “(Anderson) knowingly gave unauthorized persons access to secured and critical village documents and information.”
The suit states that Anderson divulged “confidential criminal investigation results, litigation materials, strategy and highly confidential information and documents with others . . . including those who are currently subjects of multiple criminal investigations and with at least one plaintiff involved in a lawsuit against the village.”
The suit also says that Anderson secretly recorded conversations with Eldridge.
Anderson, who is campaigning for mayor in the March 21 village elections, said the accusations in the suit are false.
“It’s all lies,” Anderson said in a phone interview Tuesday afternoon. “The whole board has turned against me. They’re out for blood and it’s affecting the taxpayers.”
He said he’s been thrown out of four village board executive session meetings on the accusation that he was recording the meetings with his fitness watch.
“The watch doesn’t record,” he said.
The suit further states that Anderson violated his oath of office by “repeatedly sharing, forwarding — and often actually posting online — private and privileged emails, communications and conversations had by and among the board members and their village counsel.”
Board members said Anderson has violated the public’s trust.
“The other petitioners and I . . . gave Mr. Anderson every opportunity to resolve this amicably and to restore integrity to board operations,” Mayor Maura Spery said in a statement. “Unfortunately, however, he resisted at every turn, and because of the enormous potential fiscal and legal liabilities his misconduct has caused the village, he left us with no choice but to move forward with a proceeding for his formal removal from office.”
Anderson was elected to the board in March of 2015. He said the suit was an effort to “smear” his campaign.
Last November, in a 1,922 to 1,215 vote, residents in the village approved a plan to disband their six-year-old municipality.