Appeals court dismisses case vs. Arroyo

The case to knock reining City Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo off the ballot before the September Democratic primary was upended today by a five-member panel of State Supreme Court judges who heard the case on Tuesday in a Manhattan court.

The court’s Appellate Division on Wednesday dismissed challenger Julio Pabon’s argument that the incumbent should face consequences because her petitions were riddled with forged signatures. Supreme Court Justice John W. Carter last week agreed with a ruling by a court-appointed referee not to eliminate Arroyo’s candidacy, even though about 2,700 of the 3,400 signatures her team had gathered were ruled ineligible.

Pabon said he will appeal the court’s decision in the state’s highest court of appeals in Albany, and added the controversy has “helped to wake up the sleeping giant” by alerting otherwise apathetic voters to issues of the incumbent’s credibility.

“We’re like those mosquitos on the beach,” Pabon said of his campaign’s insistence on pressing the issue.

Paperwork must be filed in the state capitol by Friday, noon. Then the court will decide whether to hear the case. If it chooses to do so, Pabon’s lawyer, Donald Dunn, would present Pabon’s appeal that afternoon. The lawyer for the state’s Democrats, Stanley Schlein, will continue to represent Arroyo.