An appellate court has reversed a decision by the Westchester County Board of Elections putting Michael Giordano back in the mix for the upcoming Harrison receiver of taxes election.
The 2nd Department of the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division validated Giordano’s appeal on Aug. 22, qualifying him to run in a primary against Rosa Mastrogiacomo-Luongo, the Republican Party-backed candidate.
However, despite the victory, the candidate will face one more hurdle in certifying his bid for office—an upcoming ruling by the New York Court of Appeals, which will be a final determination in the case.
“Why can’t we just let the people vote on Sept. 12 and decide who is qualified and deserving of the job?” Giordano told the Review. “I guess this is what politics is all about.”
Earlier this month, Giordano, who currently works in the Harrison tax receiver’s office, challenged the county Board of Elections’, BOE, determination in state Supreme Court that resulted in him being removed from the ballot. After the court upheld the BOE’s decision, Giordano filed another appeal with the appellate court.
The candidate was removed from the primary ballot after more than half of the objections filed with the BOE by a Harrison resident were upheld, some of which contended that the signatures Giordano collected did not correctly list the proper municipality which he was bidding for office.
In total, the BOE sustained 200 objections of 377 that were filed, leaving Giordano short of the required 285 signatures needed to trigger a primary against Mastrogiacomo-Luongo.
Other objections suggested that the candidate is not a resident of the town/village of Harrison and that he received petition signatures from residents that are not registered in the Republican Party.
In July, Giordano’s candidacy was called into question after the Review discovered that he also owns a home in the village of Brewster in Putnam County in addition to his residence at 14 Woodside Ave. in West Harrison.
Previously, Giordano told the Review he spends most of his time in Harrison. However, on tax forms, he has indicated that his primary residence is his Blossom Lane property in Brewster.
Under that address, Giordano collects a School Tax Relief Exemption, known as the STAR exemption, which he’s received since 2001.
According to the New York state Department of Taxation and Finance, multiple-property owners in the state must collect a STAR exemption only on the property they consider their primary residence, defined as the location where they spend the majority of their time.
The receiver of taxes race has grabbed the spotlight in this year’s Harrison elections, where the mayor, town clerk and two members of the Town Council are up for re-election.
If the appeal is upheld, a Sept. 12 GOP primary between Giordano and Mastrogiacomo-Luongo will take place, with the winner then opposing Maria Mioli Pennella, a registered Republican running on the Democratic line, and Helen Pesce, running as an independent candidate, in the general election.
The position of receiver of taxes is elected to a four-year term and pays an annual salary of $101,050.
As of press time, a court date has not been scheduled with the state Court of Appeals.