An appellate court ruling to put Michael Giordano back in the running for the Harrison receiver of taxes election will stand, as the New York Court of Appeals dismissed the case on Aug. 30.
With the 2nd Department of the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division’s decision serving as the final determination in a case that has garnered significant attention locally, Giordano can now officially run in a Sept. 12 Republican primary against Rosa Mastrogiacomo-Luongo, the party-backed candidate.
Giordano, who currently works in the Harrison tax receiver’s office, will have little time to turn his attention to the upcoming primary, however. But the winner of that race will move on to the general election and face Maria Mioli Pennella, a registered Republican running on the Democratic line, and independent candidate Helen Pesce.
Joe Angilletta, Mastrogiacomo-Luongo’s campaign manager and uncle, said a primary doesn’t help his niece, but they’re still confident the candidate will win. “We’re going to keep on fighting and we’re going to let the people decide who’s best for the [position],” he said.
Last month, in state Supreme Court, Giordano challenged the Westchester County Board of Elections’, BOE, determination that ended up with him being removed from the ballot. After that court upheld the BOE’s decision, the candidate filed an appeal with the appellate court.
Giordano was initially removed from the primary ballot after more than half of the objections filed with the BOE were upheld, some of which contended that the signatures Giordano collected did not correctly list the proper municipality where he was seeking elected 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 Republican primary.
Several other objections maintained that Giordano is not a resident of the town/village of Harrison and that he received petition signatures from residents that are not registered in the town/village Republican Party.
Giordano’s candidacy was first called into question in July after the Review discovered that he owns a home in the village of Brewster in Putnam County in addition to his residence at 14 Woodside Ave. in West Harrison.
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.
With an upcoming primary now certain, the spotlight will continue to shine on the receiver of taxes race this year. As a result, there has been a recent slew of vandalism of some of the political campaign posters.
On Aug. 28, Mastrogiacomo-Luongo filed a report with the Harrison police over the destruction of some of her campaign billboards. One of her billboards was completely smashed while another was covered in vulgar graffiti depicting male genitalia.
“Despite being told this happens every year to many political candidates, it is still heartbreaking to see such a personal attack on me,” Mastrogiacomo-Luongo told the Review.
The position of receiver of taxes is elected to a four-year term and pays an annual salary of $101,050.
Police Chief Michael Olsey and Giordano could not be reached for comment, as of press time.