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Judge dismisses Hardwick's challenge of Freeport election results

Freeport Mayoral race winner Robert Kennedy, left, celebrates

Freeport Mayoral race winner Robert Kennedy, left, celebrates with supporters at Montana's Pizza. (March 19, 2013) Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

A State Supreme Court judge has dismissed Freeport Mayor Andrew Hardwick's objection to last week's election results, allowing the village to certify Robert Kennedy as the new mayor.

Kennedy defeated Hardwick last week, garnering about 54 percent of more than 8,300 votes in the March 19 village election.

But a court case -- in which Hardwick questioned what he said was a potential discrepancy between the number of voters and the number of residents who signed in to vote at polls -- prevented the village from certifying the results.

Justice Edward Maron dismissed the case at Supreme Court in Nassau County Monday, court officials said. The village's board of trustees certified the results a few hours later in a 3-0 vote, to cheers from a crowd of about 30 people in Village Hall. Hardwick and re-elected trustee Carmen Piñeyro did not attend the meeting.

Kennedy, Piñeyro and newly elected trustee Ron Ellerbe are scheduled to be sworn in on April 1.

"I'm glad it's over and let's move forward," Kennedy said later.

The winning candidates are glad to have the case behind them, said Kennedy's attorney, Thomas Garry of Uniondale.

"All losing candidates struggle with the fact that they lost," Garry said. "After much conversation, the case is finished."

Hardwick said in a brief phone interview with Newsday that he is "done" with the case, and that he thinks the village's future looks bleak without him.

Hardwick said Kennedy's administration must focus on rebuilding from superstorm Sandy.

"My town's in trouble," Hardwick said.

Hardwick was elected in 2009 along with trustees Kennedy and Piñeyro, but the two trustees quickly became his adversaries during the village's oft-contentious public meetings. The village board is now entirely made up of members of the Unity Home Rule Party.

Another Unity Home Rule member, Vincent R. Cacciatore, was certified as the village's judge, replacing Stephen Drummond, whom Cacciatore defeated.

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