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And over at ECDems, a good day

Friday June 14 was one of those good days over at Erie County Democratic Committee headquarters. One of those days where the boss calls the local pizzeria for delivery for the entire staff, including party hats, confetti and pitchers of orangeade to wash down the food.


So what happened? Perhaps a sighting of Erie County Comptroller candidate Lynn Szalkowski? Well, no. One can’t even find her on a milk carton, much less at a public event.

So maybe release of a new poll showing a runaway lead for Bert Dunn? Not that either. Or wishful thinking that Republican legislators Hardwick and Dixon would be dropping out of their respective races? Nah!

What was big news was that the 4th District of the New York State Appellate Court dismissed the lawsuit brought on by Cheektowaga Chair Frank Max and others challenging the validity of last September’s election to Erie County Chair. The information was eagerly trumpeted on the ECDems Facebook page as soon as the decision was made public:

Erie County Democratic Town Chairs Association
So I hear the Max lawsuit is over once and for all. Finally. and Guess who is the Chairman – Jeremy Zellner

Of course it was big news, but not unexpected. But the posts kept coming, between noshing of those slices of pizza and tooting the party horns around the office conference table:

Erie County Democratic Town Chairs Association shared Erie County Democratic Committee’s status.
knew it all along, what a waste of effort. Time for these people now to show if they are Democrats of not

Tacked on to that post was this by ECDems Chair Jeremy Zellner:

Erie County Democratic Town Chairs Association shared Erie County Democratic Committee’s status.
Chairman Zellner issued the following statement in response to today’s ruling from the Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, regarding the lawsuit brought against the Party by Frank Max, Dan McParlane and John Fracos:

“Just as in the trial court, the four justices today unanimously found that there was no merit to the claims made by Frank Max, Dan McParlane and John Fracos in the suit they filed earlier this year. This ruling confirms the overwhelming vote by the duly elected committee members of the Erie County Democratic Committee at our Party’s reorganization meeting in September 2012. At the time of the vote, both candidates for chair stated publicly that they were going to unite behind the winner. It is time for the Democratic Party in Erie County to move forward together and unite behind our strong ticket, headed by Mayor Brown and countywide slate, headed by Bert Dunn.”

What Mr. Zellner omitted in the statement was that the original court review, and the appellate hearing, never actually heard arguments on the merits of the case. This case involved a meeting of the Erie County Democratic Committee last September to elect a new chair, when roughly 48% of those present voted for Zellner over Max, and that minority turned into a huge majority when a weighted vote was applied, a gross manipulation of the assigning of those weighted votes, according to Max and his supporters. The original judge dismissed the case not because of the lack of merit, but because the case was not filed in time. In other words, a technicality. The appellate judges confirmed that lack of timeliness. Case over. Fight over.

As the staffers were clearing away the pizza plates and dumping the rest of the orangeade, one more post was presented to the public, and this one went into a dark place:

Erie County Democratic Town Chairs Association
from Tim Frank, a former resident all the way from Florida in response to post about end of lawsuit by Mr. Max Confirms my suspicion… I was Executive Director at Black Rock/Riverside NHS in Buffalo. He was Chairman of my Board… got in trouble for forging signatures on petitions, went to jail, and got my Administrative Assistant in trouble by having her notarized false signatures.

Whoa, Nellie. Forgery! Jail! False! Out of the blue, a person from Florida steps forward at the exact time the appellate decision is released? Really? Read the ECDems post carefully. Who exactly got in trouble and went to jail? Was it Tim Frank, Frank Max or the Administrative Assistant? And why are we learning of this now?

Frank Max was more than eager to respond. “I was the Chair of our local Neighborhood Housing Services in Black Rock. It wasn’t a political organization and our function wasn’t to collect petition signatures for people running for office. Basically, we dealt with issues of neighborhood stabilization, matching first time homebuyers who had mortgage qualification challenges, and getting their mortgages guaranteed by HUD. I vaguely remember Tim Frank he only worked for us for a brief time, keep in mind we’re talking over 30 years ago. But nobody forged anything. Nobody went to jail. This entire allegation is beyond preposterous.”

If Tim Frank, formerly of Black Rock and now resident of Florida, has tangible information and proof regarding this revelation he shared only with Mr Zellner, then he needs to step forward and present dates and facts and evidence. If not, then Mr. Zellner needs to pull the statement off his social network feed and apologize to Mr. Max.

But will he? It’s all about unity now. Stay tuned.

Disclosure: Artvoice sports columnist Andrew Kulyk is involved as a political operative engaged in local Democratic circles. The writings and opinions contained herein are his own only. Follow Andrew on Twitter @akulykUSRT.

  • Know Saint

    you wear your obsession very sadly andrew