HARLEM — A lawsuit claiming State Sen. Bill Perkins cheated to get on the ballot for a Feb. 14 election to represent Harlem on the City Council has been dismissed.
Voter Karim Chapman, who lives in Harlem and backs one of Perkins' opponents, filed a suit mid-January claiming Perkins skirted the rules by collecting more than 700 signatures to appear on the ballot prior to Mayor Bill de Blasio announcing the special election to replace Inez Dickens on Jan. 3. Dickens was elected to the state assembly. It is a violation of the rules to collect signatures before a race has been announced.
Chapman supports Marvin Holland, the political director for the Transportation Workers Union Local 100.
Chapman's lawsuit also claimed that Perkins’ petitions were “permeated with fraud,” alleging signatures were forged and some were signed by voters who did not live in the district, among other claims.
But Judge Arthur Engoron dismissed the claims and ruled last Thursday that there “was no organized or systematic fraud” by Perkins or his campaign and “no credible evidence was presented” by the petitioner that the campaign “actually participated in any fraud or that his independent nominating petition was permeated with fraud.”
Since Perkins filed his petitions first, he will appear at the top of the ballot among nine candidates.
Holland said he was “disappointed” by the ruling.
“Allowing Perkins to continue his campaign despite any evidence of fraud does the voters a disservice,” he said.
“We deserved better from Perkins and the courts. If the courts won’t uphold the integrity of the process, the voters will.”
Richard Fife, Perkins’ campaign manager, said the suit was “frivolous” and noted many of the other objections raised by Holland’s campaign fell short last week at a Board of Elections hearing.
"It's no surprise that the judge found that Marvin presented no credible evidence and he lost all of his challenges, but disappointing that he wasted everyone's time in this short election by having his lawyers file these frivolous actions to knock everyone off the ballot,” said Fife.
“Now we look forward to having the people decide and providing real leadership on the important challenges facing our community. "