Tuesday, May 14, 2019

  

GOP line for Wappinger Town supervisor to be decided in primary

WAPPINGER – Town of Wappinger Supervisor Richard Thurston is being challenged for the Republican line in June's primary elections by former Supervisor Lori Jiava and filed a lawsuit to prevent it.  Thurston had challenged the validity of Jiava's nominating petitions claiming that his opponent had fraudulently obtained signatures on them. 

Thurston, an attorney, said that he had investigated the petitions after he received a complaint by a resident.  He further claims that his investigation revealed numerous other irregularities and that is why he chose to bring the suit on April 18. 

On May 9, Thurston withdrew the lawsuit after learning that several of the witnesses would have to be subpoenaed, forcing them to take time from their schedule to appear in court and offer testimony.  Thurston immediately advised the court that he was withdrawing the case to "not prolong the litigation and further involve and cause greater hardship to these residents and an employee of the town."  He said that "Instead, I will fight the battle at the polls in June."

 Jiava said that Thurston's withdrawal was "vindication."  In a prepared statement, she said "Mr. Thurston has a history of manipulating facts to serve his own ends, but this time his unfounded and completely false allegations fell flat." Jiava is the immediate past town supervisor and she said Thurston's lawsuit was "an attempt to intimidate me and waste my time and money responding to his fishing expedition." 

Jiava was represented in court by former Democratic Dutchess County Deputy Elections Commissioner Dan Miller.

Two years ago, Thurston successfully beat Jiava for the position of town supervisor. During that race, Jiava filed a lawsuit against Thurston and the board of elections. 

Regarding the two lawsuits, in 2017 and 2019, Thurston said "Her case against me was dismissed by the court for lack of evidence.  In my case against her, the evidence was there, but the time and energy I must spend continuing the litigation and the havoc it will create in the lives of those I must subpoena did not sit well with my better judgment." 

As a result of the withdrawal, Thurston and Jiava will square off in the Republican primary on June 25.  Jiava has also opened up the Democratic primary on June 25 and said "While I would be honored if our town Democrats wrote my name in on primary day, I would honestly welcome any candidate who is genuinely interested in serving the people of Wappinger, not the select few who control the local party committees through intimidation and party favors."

 

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