UPDATE: Bethlehem Independence Party lawsuit dismissed

A judge threw out a lawsuit in Albany County Court brought on by an Independence Party member to invalidate petition signatures for Supervisor Jack Cunningham and his slate of candidates for the fall elections in Bethlehem.

Acting Supreme Court Justice Kimberly O'Conner ruled against attorney James Walsh, who was representing the party member, on Thursday, Aug. 6, after a witness verified her petition signature. She subsequently claimed she was bullied by a private investigator into saying she was not read an oath before signing it.

The decision approves the Independence Party ballot petitions for Cunningham, Councilman Kyle Kotary and Bethlehem Independence Party Chairman Mark Jordan for Town Board, as well as Nanci Moquin for town clerk and Gregg Sagendorph for highway superintendent.

I'm pleased with outcome but I'm not surprised, said attorney Justin O'C Corcoran who represented Cunningham's slate. "We asked to judge to formally valid the petitions, which was included in her decision."

Independence Party Councilman Sam Messina is running against Cunningham for town supervisor. His campaign suffered a similar blow last week when a Working Families Party objection against Cunningham's opportunity to ballot was dismissed by the Albany County Board of Elections.

Both he and Fernando (Fred) Di Maggio were also named on the suit against Cunningham and Kotary. Di Maggio is running for Bethlehem Town Board on the Republican and Conservative lines.

The court ruling stated that, "Any remaining arguments have been considered by the court and found to be without merit and/or rendered moot."

The stage is now set for an Independence Party primary as well as an opportunity to ballot primary for the Working Families line in September.

Walsh called the ruling "disappointing."

"The judge had ruled that she had not believed that failing to administer an oath is wrong and I think she read the law wrong," Walsh said. "I'd have to respectfully disagree with her ruling."

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