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Ex-Manorhaven trustee challenges incumbent

A handout photo of Jim Avena, appointed to

A handout photo of Jim Avena, appointed to the Manorhaven board in 2012, on May 13, 2013. Photo Credit: Handout

A former Manorhaven village trustee is challenging an incumbent who joined the board last year.

James M. Avena -- who was appointed to the board in February 2012, lost in an election four months later, was appointed again to the board 10 days after that by the lame-duck mayor, then removed three days later by the incoming mayor -- is challenging Dorit Zeevi-Farrington, who was appointed to the board last July to replace a newly elected trustee who resigned after 23 days in office.

Zeevi-Farrington, 52, owns three charter-yacht companies that operate out of New York Harbor. She received a bachelor's degree in business administration from Baruch College, and an MBA in finance and international business from New York University.

Zeevi-Farrington ran for office in 2010 but was dropped from the ballot five days before the election along with the two other Manorhaven Revival Party candidates when opponents sued, saying the candidates failed to properly notarize their nomination acceptances. She said she is running to continue the work she's been doing on the board in the past year.

"The whole motivation for my running in 2010 was to ensure a responsive and honest government who pays close attention obviously to the needs of the residents," she said. "And I feel like that's exactly where we are now."

She said new stop signs the board approved have led to safer streets, and pointed to projects such as rehabilitating Morgan's Dock and creating a new dog park in Manorhaven Preserve.

Zeevi-Farrington said, if re-elected, she wants to tackle the problem of the village's aging and overburdened sewer system.

Avena, 69, running on the Manorhaven Residents Party line, is a former president of Cantor Fitzgerald and serves as the grant distributor for the Dejana Family Foundation. He received a bachelor's degree in accounting from Long Island University, where he once served as a trustee.

He said he is running to add another voice in government.

"I think it's been less than transparent," he said, adding that he filed suit against the village over Freedom of Information Law requests that he said the village had not complied with.

He said he questioned the expenses the village said it had during superstorm Sandy, as well as the village increasing the tax rate on businesses but not residences.

Avena also said he believed the recent ruling against the village in the suit AG Towers brought over operating its controversial cell tower would result in a tax increase.

"I'm not trying to play gotcha here, but there are certain questions that have to be answered for the taxpayer, and they're not," he said.

Incumbent trustees Lucretia Steele and Rita DiLucia are running unopposed.

Voting is Tuesday, June 18, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Village Hall, 33 Manorhaven Blvd.

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