Flower Hill Trustee and mayoral candidate Kate Hirsch said in an email to Mayor Brian Herrington, her opponent, that she would cease her campaign if village staff members were fired and harassment charges against her were dropped.
The email, provided to Blank Slate Media by Herrington, was sent July 8, just over two months before the village election being held on Tuesday.
“In a good faith effort to resolve the litigation I recently commenced (and other costly legal matters currently pending) please consider this an Offer to Compromise,” Hirsch wrote in the email.
The message is the latest in a nine-month election cycle that has following the rescheduling of the village elections, originally planned for the spring.
Herrington, who took office after the death of Mayor Robert McNamara in April, is running for mayor under the Flower Hill Party banner, with incumbents Deputy Mayor Randall Rosenbaum and Trustee Gary Lewandowski on his slate. McNamara, who was running for a trustee position under the same party label at the time of his death, will remain on the ballot under the rules of an executive order, and the party has said that resident Claire Dorfman would be appointed should he win.
Under the Liberty Party banner, Hirsch, who has been a trustee for three years, is running for mayor, with residents Diane Turner, Jay Silverman and Jeffrey Greilsheimer rounding out her slate.
February saw Hirsch challenge the Flower Hill Party’s petition to have it thrown out, only for the Nassau County Board of Elections to rule in the party’s favor. Hirsch then filed an ethics complaint against Flower Hill’s chief election officer, village Administrator Ronnie Shatzkamer, alleging that she was assisting the Flower Hill Party in its campaign, with both Shatzkamer and Herrington denying the allegations.
It was following this that the village announced that harassment claims had been filed against Hirsch, and last week the rest of the village board voted to admonish Hirsch following an investigation into the claims.
In addition, in early July Hirsch filed an Article 78 proceeding against the village over efforts to dismantle the Planning Board, which was discontinued on July 22.
The investigation and Article 78 case are indirectly mentioned in the message as part of Hirsch’s proposed terms for the deal, which consist of Herrington removing Shatzkamer from her role as village administrator or from any other employment by the village; that he would terminate the village’s contract with the Roslyn-based law firm Leventhal Mullaney & Blinkoff, whose partner Jeffrey Blinkoff serves as the village’s attorney; that the village would pay $6,000 to cover her legal fees; and that any ongoing investigations against Hirsch be terminated or concluded. A parenthetical addition to the last term states that Herrington would agree “not to allow any further frivolous investigations to be instigated.”
In exchange, Hirsch proposed that she would withdraw her ethics complaint for election interference, drop her Article 78 case and “cease all campaign activity leading to the Sept. 15, 2020 election.”
The message closes by stating that the offer would be valid until July 15.
“If I have not heard from you by [July 15], I will assume you are not interested and we will press forward in all respects,” Hirsch wrote.
“I think this was a completely inappropriate offer that was looking for us to tamper with an independent harassment investigation, fire employees, and compensate her for expenses related to a lawsuit she had just filed in return for her ending her campaign and ethics complaints,” Herrington wrote in an email accompanying the document.
“In my 30 years litigating cases I have never had an adversary disclose confidential and privileged communications – until Brian Herrington did so,” Hirsch wrote in a statement to Blank Slate Media. “He acknowledges the communication was made in a separate case but then speciously attempts to tie it to the bogus investigation of me he conducted using over $30,000 in taxpayer funds. It is not a secret that I think the Village Administrator and Village Attorney both should be removed from office as I have an ethics complaint pending against both of them and the current mayor. Brian Herrington is a man of no principles and does not have the moral character needed to be a leader. He is a lobbyist and a political hack who is beholden to special interests. I have no interest in his attempt to create issues where none exist.”