In a hotly contested receiver of taxes race in Harrison, the Westchester County Board of Elections has ruled that candidate Michael Giordano will not be able to force a Republican Party primary ballot in September after finding his petitions invalid.
Giordano filed a challenge to the county Board of Elections’, BOE, determination in state Supreme Court, However, on Aug. 7, the court validated the BOE claims and rejected Giordano’s appeal, bringing his controversial candidacy to an end.
Doug Colety, the Republican commissioner of the BOE, said the candidate was removed from the ballot after more than half of the objections that were filed by a Harrison resident were upheld; some of which included petition signatures that incorrectly listed the proper municipality and signatures from residents that are not registered in the Republican Party.
The BOE sustained 200 objections of 377 petitions in total, leaving Giordano short of the required 285 signatures needed to trigger a primary against Rosa Mastrogiacomo-Luongo, the Republican Party’s endorsed candidate. Giordano, who currently works in the Harrison tax receiver’s office, collected only 177 valid petition signatures.
“Everything about [Giordano] running for the position is inappropriate at this point, from collecting the STAR exemption in Brewster to pretending to live in West Harrison,” said Joe Angilletta, Mastrogiacomo-Luongo’s campaign manager and uncle. “This is not what a public servant should be. It’s a smack of dishonor at every level.”
Earlier this month, Giordano’s candidacy was called into question after the Review discovered that he owns a home in the village of Brewster in Putnam County in addition to his home at 14 Woodside Ave. in West Harrison.
Despite claiming to live in West Harrison while his wife and children live in Brewster, Giordano indicated on tax forms that his primary home is his Blossom Lane property in Brewster.
Under that residence, he has been receiving a School Tax Relief Exemption, known as the STAR exemption, 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 focus will now shift to the general election where three candidates will battle for the elected position, which pays $101,050 annually.
Rosa Mastrogiacomo-Luongo will face off against Maria Mioli Pennella, a registered Republican, who is running on the Democratic line, and Helen Pesce, who has launched a run for the seat as an independent candidate. Pesce’s petitions to run as an independent candidate do not need to be submitted to the BOE until Aug. 21.
Giordano could not be reached for comment, as of press time.