9 village elections, 9 uncontested races

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Nine seats in the Villages of Lake Success, Great Neck and Kings Point are up for election in Tuesday June 17’s village elections – all of which are uncontested. 

In Lake Success, planning board member and managing partner of the Inn at Great Neck Alan Mindel will be running unopposed for trustee Paul Glantz’s seat. 

“When I was asked, I felt a responsibility to be available for it,” said Mindel, who’s lived in the village since he was one-years old. “I’ve had a very long history in the community.”

Glantz has chosen not to run for re-election, according to village officials. 

Efforts to reach Glantz for comment on his decision not to run were unavailing.

Voting will take place on Tuesday, June 17 from 12 to 9 p.m. at Lake Success Village Hall, which is located at 318 Lakeville Road. 

Mindel said he was asked to run by Lake Success resident Bill Zimmerman, who had intended to run for the board but pulled out at the last minute. 

Mindel, who has served on the village’s planning board, said his family moved to Lake Success in 1972. Today, he lives in the village with his wife, Kara, and their three daughters.

“The same area where my children hang out, I was hanging out as a kid,” Mindel said. “I learned how to swim here, I learned how to play golf, I learned how to play tennis here.”

After graduating from Benjamin M. Cardozo Law School, Mindel began his practice as a real estate and transaction attorney.

That practice was brought to a halt in 2000 when his parents asked him to take over as a managing partner of the Inn at Great Neck, which they have owned since its opening in 1995. 

“The hotel was going through some difficulties so they asked me to take six months away from my practice and take over it,” he said.

Fourteen years later, Mindel is still the managing partner of the hotel, located at 30 Cutter Mill Road. 

Mindel is also a managing partner at Four Points by Sheraton in Plainview, Viana Hotel and Spa in Westbury and the Adria Hotel and Conference Center in Bayside, which are all owned by his family.  

Mindel said he occasionally represents clients – mostly friends and family – in court on a pro-bono basis.

Glantz was appointed to the board in 2009 by Village of Lake Success Mayor Ronald Cooper to replace former Trustee Gary Gambetta. 

Glantz has served as the liaison to the village’s police department and runs Glantz Iron and Metals Inc.- his family’s 104-year old scrap metal broker business.

In addition to Mindel, Cooper is running unopposed for a fifth term as mayor and Deputy Mayor Stephen Lam and Trustee Fred Handsman will be running unopposed.

Cooper served on the board of trustees for eight years before becoming mayor.

Cooper was a managing member of the Ernst and Young account firm before his retirement. He is the treasurer and a member of the executive committee of the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City.

Lam has been a member of the Board of Trustees for more than 20 years and has served as deputy mayor under Cooper and former Mayor Robert Bernstein. 

Handsman is running for his 10th term on the Board of Trustees and is the board’s liaison to the village’s public works committee.  

In Great Neck, trustees Barton Sobel and Norman Namdar will be running unopposed. 

But running unopposed has not meant no opposition in the village, as a last-minute write-in campaign last year threatened the seats of Village of Great Neck Mayor Ralph Kreitzman and two other trustees.

“I would not like to think of any race as uncontested,” Sobel said last week.

Kreitzman, Deputy Mayor Mitchell Beckerman and Trustee Jeffrey Bass narrowly won re-election last June after a write-in campaign was organized by community activist Rebecca Rosenblatt Gilliar, which resulted in hundreds of Great Neck residents lining around the block to vote for candidates who had not previously announced their candidacies.

Kreitzman defeated challenger Pedram Bral 325 to 232. Deputy Mayor Mitchell Beckerman took 316 votes and Trustee Jeffrey Bass got 320 votes, with opposition trustee candidates Christine Campbell and Anne Mendelson receiving 226 votes each.

Sobel, a resident of the village for 15 years, said while he encourages people to vote in the village elections, he said the write-in campaign was something that hurt the village. 

“I don’t think they’re doing a service to the voters and to the residents when they do that,” he said.

He said that a repeat of last year’s campaign was something that is in the back of his mind, but was not a major concern.

Voting will take place at the Great Neck House, located at 14 Arrandale Avenue from Noon to 9 p.m.

Sobel was elected to the board of trustees in 2010 after former Trustee Edna Guilor-Segal stepped down.

Segal had also recommended Sobel to serve on the village planning board, the position he held before becoming trustee. 

At the same time, Sobel had been recommended as a member of the nominating committee for the Great Neck Public Library and as a member of the Great Neck Park District’s Advisory Committee for the Children’s Play Garden at the Village Green.

Sobel works as an attorney at his own private practice. He has been married for 17 years and has four children. 

On the same night as the write-in campaign former village Trustee Mark Birnbaum, husband of Nassau County Legislator Ellen Birnbaum (D-Great Neck), was elected as the village justice. 

Kreitzman appointed Namdar, who had served on the village’s board zoning appeals for nine years, to fill Birnbaum’s seat, which had one year remaining on his term. 

“The mayor thought it would be better service for the community,” Namdar said. “It was at the time I thought it would be something I could do as a service.” 

Namdar, who has lived in the village for about 16 years, said he has enjoyed his term on the board and wishes to continue. 

“I respect the mayor and the members of the board,” he said. “All of the applications that come before the board, they’re handled very properly.”

Namadar currently works part-time as a structural engineer for DMB Enginerring Firm in Woodbury. Prior to that he was an engineer at Gennat Flemming. 

He has a wife, three kids and eight grandchildren. 

He added that he hopes there’s “more grandchildren coming.”

In Kings Point, Mayor Michael Kalnick, Deputy Mayor David Harounian and Trustee Sheldon Kwiat are running unopposed. 

But last minute write-in candidates have announced their candidacy in one recent village election. 

Real estate attorney Mojgan Sasson and cardiologist David Schifter declared their intentions to wage a write-in campaign against then trustees Peter Aron and Ron Horowitz a week before the 2011 village elections.

Sasson and Schifter said they decided to run after the village board implemented a 9.8 percent village tax increase. 

A total of 452 votes were cast in the election with Aaron receiving 222, Horowitz 226, Sasson 58 and Schifter 29.

Sasson then went on to challenge Kalnick for the position of village mayor in the 2012 election while Schifter and Kings Point resident Freydoun Elnekaveh challenged Harounian and Kwiat.

Kalnick won 816 to 489. Harounian and Kwiat received 830 and 828 votes, respectively, while Schifter and Elnekaveh received 491 and 441 votes, respectively.

Village residents can cast their vote from 12 until 9 p.m. at Kings Point Village Hall, which is located on 32 Steppingstone Lane.

The village’s public relations firm, Ryan and Ryan PR Inc., provided statements for all three of the candidates. 

Kalnick is seeking his 17th term as Kings Point’s mayor, having previously served as trustee and deputy mayor. 

Kalnick, in Ryan and Ryan’s statement, said he wishes “to continue to use his vast experience in village government as mayor of Kings Point to ensure the village continues to thrive.”

A resident of Kings Point for more than 40 years, Kalnick has also chaired the village’s board of zoning appeals and the Great Neck Fire Alert Company’s Length of Service Award Program. He is also the current chairperson of the Water Authority of Great Neck North. 

A graduate of New York University School of Law, Kalnick is a partner at the law firm of Kalnick, Klee & Green LLP in Manhattan. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Pennsylvania. Harounian, a resident of Kings Point for more than 40 years, is seeking his sixth term on the board. 

A statement from Ryan and Ryan says that Harounian wishes to “serve the community he holds so dear to his heart.” 

“As a village trustee, he plans to carry out his commitment to maintaining the area as one of the best places to live in America, practicing fiscal responsibility, upholding an open door government and preserving the excellent quality of life enjoyed by the residents,” the statement said. 

Harounian in March was offered a plea deal to have sexual harassment charges against him held in abeyance for six months. 

The agreement, called an “adjournment upon contemplation of dismissal,” was granted by Nassau County First District Judge Susan Kluewer during a brief bench trial in which Kluewer agreed to drop the case for six months on the condition that the 75-year-old Harounian completes 14 hours of community service and “stay(s) out of trouble.”

“I’m very happy with it and I’m fine with it,” Harounian said in an interview about the plea deal.

Harounian in a January interview said he does not believe the charges will have an impact on his chances of winning.

“Why should it?” Harounian asked when questioned about the potential impact of the charges on this re-election campaign.

Harounian allegedly made sexual comments to Cronin during services at Temple Israel of Great Neck  on Oct. 26, 2013.

After Cronin went to the police, Harounian was given a court summons for harassment in the second degree.

Cronin’s attorney, Marvin Kornberg, has said that multiple people saw Harounian make sexual comments to Joanna Cronin, a 43-year-old Great Neck woman, and force Cronin’s “own hands to her breasts, touching her breasts during services.”

Melvin Roth, who represented Harounian after the summons was issued, rejected the allegations at the time, saying Harounian had never harassed Cronin.

“They’re not true at all. They’re completely baseless. Never happened. We’re going to fight it vigorously in the courts,” Roth said. “I don’t know where she’s getting these allegations from.”

Harounian appeared in First District Court on Nov. 7 on charges of harassment and was issued an order not to harass or commit any crimes against Cronin.

Harounian, who was born in Iran and moved to the United States at the age of 19, is the owner of Harounian Rugs International, a rug manufacturing business located in Manhattan.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University. 

Harounian has served as the vice president and first vice president of Temple Israel of Great Neck and is currently the temple’s chair of the President’s Advisory Board. 

Harounian also served on the village’s architectural review committee before being elected to the board of trustees. 

In December of 2013, Harounian created the Persian-American Business Leadership Council, an organization that strengthens “the bonds between the vibrant immigrant ethnic group and the broader American business community,” according to a press release.

Harounian helped to start Keren Hayeled, an institution that works with orphans around the world to offer rehabilitation and educational services.

Kwiat is seeking to extend his more than 30-year stay on the board. 

Ryan and Ryan’s statement says that Kwiat, the village’s architectural review board chair and president of his family’s diamond jewelry firm, wishes to work to improve the village’s police force. 

“He would like to further develop the village’s important emergency response plan by continuing to work with county and federal agencies on matters of public safety,” the statement said. “Additionally, Kwiat plans to maintain the close, friendly and supportive relationship the village has established with the United States Merchant Marine Academy.” 

Kwiat has also served on the board of governors of the Gemological Institute of America for 12 years, the executive board of directors of the Diamond Manufacturers and Importers Association, the board of directors of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee and chairs the board of directors of the Jewelers Security Alliance. 

He has previously served as the vice-chair for Young Adult Institute/National Institute of People with Disabilities.

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