Saturday, June 5, 2010

LPNY Gubernatorial Nomination Controversy: Supreme Court Of The State Of New York Intervenes

Kristin Davis, Sam Sloan and Warren Redlich were the three announced candidates for the gubernatorial nomination of the Libertarian Party of New York in 2010. Warren Redlich, a Republican attorney, was considered the odds-on-favorite to win the nomination and was endorsed by former Libertarian Party State Chairs Eric Sundwall & Rich Cooper, current LPNY State Chair Chris Edes, and future LPNY State Chair Mark Axinn. Kristin Davis, former Madam to Governor Eliot Spitzer, was the highest profile candidate in the race with Roger Stone as her Campaign Advisor. Sam Sloan was a Libertarian Party activist who had been unanimously elected State Representative for the Manhattan Libertarian Party in January, 2010 and who had been endorsed for the gubernatorial nomination by the Libertarian Party of Queens County.

The Libertarian Party of New York's State Convention was held on Saturday, April 24, 2010 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Albany, New York. Before the LPNY State Convention was over, Kristin Davis would withdraw as a potential gubernatorial nominee of the Libertarian Party, threaten to sue Warren Redlich for $25,000,000 for calling her "a whore", and would promise to run for Governor as the candidate of a new Personal Freedom Party. Sam Sloan would end up successfully obtaining a Court Order from the Supreme Court of the State of New York directing LPNY State Chair Chris Edes to hand over the list of voting delegates to him so he could properly compete for the nomination. Mr. Edes ended up not complying with that Court Order and would have to answer for that on May 23, 2010 before Justice Carol R. Edmead in Civil Part 35 of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County.

Warren Redlich was almost guaranteed the nomination of the Libertarian Party of New York for Governor since his supporters would almost certainly dominate the 40+ delegates attending the LPNY State Convention due to his insider support and due to the fact that the convention was scheduled to be held in Albany, New York, which was virtually in Redlich's backyard. Realizing this advantage, both Kristin Davis and Sam Sloan sought to obtain the list of 300-400 eligible voting delegates so they could mail their campaign literature to them and encourage them to attend the LPNY State Convention to participate in the process. The list of eligible delegates was not provided to either Kristin Davis or Sam Sloan.

Frustrated by the refusal to allow her to communicate with eligible delegates, Ms. Davis called the process "corrupt", threatened to sue Warren Redlich for $25,000,000 for calling her "a whore" and withdrew from consideration the night before the LPNY State Convention was held. At that point, Ms. Davis announced she would run as the gubernatorial candidate of the Personal Freedom Party on a "libertarian platform" and the LPNY further heard word she intended to challenge the legitimacy of any petition signatures the Libertarian Party of New York submitted on behalf of Warren Redlich.

Sam Sloan stayed in the race and succeeded in getting Justice Carol R. Edmead of the Supreme Court of the State of New York to direct LPNY State Chair Chris Edes to immediately release the list of eligible delegates to Mr. Sloan no later than 5:00 p.m. on April 23, 2010. An e-mail was sent to Mr. Edes at 2:36 p.m. on April 23rd informing him that an Order was coming and Justice Edmead's Law Clerk called Mr. Edes on his cell phone to obtain immediate compliance with the Order. Mr. Edes did not comply and stated at the LPNY State Convention that on the advice of "competent counsel", he was told he didn't have to.

On May 23, 2010, former LPNY State Chair Chris Edes appeared before Justice Edmead (with current LPNY State Chair Mark Axinn as his counsel) in order to answer why he did not comply with the Order to hand over the list of eligible voting delegates to Sam Sloan. Mr. Edes admitted to getting notice that an Order had been issued but he just ignored it because he said "I don't have any familiarity with this process." Justice Edmead responded: "You have familiarity with words and they connect and make sentences. It said there's been an Order related to the election and you didn't do anything. You essentially were in non-compliance. Pretending ignorance. It's not okay."

When Justice Edmead confronted former LPNY State Chair Chris Edes as to whether he got the two messages left on his cell phone by her Law Clerk, Mr. Edes said, "My phone was on vibrate." At that point, Justice Edmead went ballistic and said to Mr. Edes, "You sound so disingenuous. If I had the ability, I would put you right in Rikers right now. You are below incredible. You're something lower than that. I would like to put you across the street in the Tombs because you belong with those people." Further on during the Hearing, Justice Edmead continued to comment about Mr Edes and said, "...he's either an idiot or he's just a liar...(he's) one or the other or both". Justice Edmead then said to Sam Sloan, "If you had moved for contempt, he (Edes) would have been on a trip for at least 48 hours in prison where he belongs for being such a liar. And God, if he's in charge of something in your party, I don't want to know about it." Mr. Axinn said, "Mr. Edes is no longer the chairman of the party." to which Justice Edmead responded, "Good. Good."

After the LPNY State Convention was held on April 24, 2010 and prior to the Court Hearing on May 23, 2010, Carl Person, LPNY nominee for Attorney General, and Dr. Tom Stevens, State Representative of the Libertarian Party of Queens County, negotiated a proposed settlement of the pending lawsuit that had been brought by Sam Sloan. At the time, it was still possible that Justice Edmead might have ordered the Libertarian Party of New York to hold a new State Convention. Sam Sloan agreed he would drop his lawsuit if the LPNY agreed that if Warren Redlich dropped out as the Libertarian Party's gubernatorial nominee, that he (Sam Sloan), would be appointed as the replacement candidate. This settlement proposal was run by LPNY State Chair Mark Axinn, who rejected it and decided to proceed to the Court Hearing instead.

Since the Court Hearing, Sam Sloan has been trying to inform the LPNY State Committee of new information regarding Warren Redlich and the possibility of actual fraud that may have taken place at the LPNY State Convention. As a result of this effort, current LPNY State Chair Mark Axinn has placed Sam Sloan, State Representative of the Manhattan Libertarian Party, on moderation hindering his ability to communicate freely with LPNY State Committee Members. The Manhattan Libertarian Party has also passed a resolution reiterating its support for Warren Redlich and directing Sam Sloan to reflect their views on this topic or resign. I doubt either will occur and I suspect this is not the last we will hear about this controversy.

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