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Apr 19, 2018 3:59 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

East Hampton Democrat Turns To The Court Over Committee Elections

Apr 24, 2018 5:02 PM

Rona Klopman filed a lawsuit this week asserting that Jeanne Frankl, the soon-to-be retired chair of the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee, has been manipulating lists of committee members—an action Ms. Klopman, who is seeking to replace Ms. Frankl, says could rig the process of electing a new committee chair.

Ms. Klopman said on Thursday that Ms. Frankl has been manipulating the lists to advance her preferred candidate, Cate Rogers. Because committee members’ votes are weighted by the number of recent voters in their election district, reshuffling members without their consent allows Ms. Frankl “to pack the more heavily weighted [election districts] with her supporters, while moving people who oppose her to less important ones (or taking them off the list entirely),” says an affidavit filed on Tuesday, April 17, in State Supreme Court in Riverhead.

“It’s a biased election,” Ms. Klopman said. “In 10 years I’ve been a member I’ve never seen this.”

According to Ms. Frankl, the committee received a letter on Tuesday from an attorney for the County Democratic Committee that seemed to clear the path for her to resign at a meeting on Wednesday and schedule an election for her replacement at the next regular meeting on May 16. However, the next day she was served with the Article 78 from Ms. Klopman, which asks the court to determine the “true current membership” of the committee not only for the election of a new chair, but also for future business such as the committee’s endorsement for a Town Council candidate in the fall.

“So it’s temporarily postponed” while committee officials seek legal counsel, Ms. Frankl said of her retirement and the election of a successor.

Ms. Frankl defended changes to the lists of committee members, saying that it is an ongoing process to ensure that the people representing each district “can do the work,” whether that means knocking on doors, making phone calls, attending meetings or serving on a committee, especially as people grow older.

“This is the process that I have followed and it has not been followed in order to fix the elections,” she said. “I want to say very firmly nothing occurred with a view to slanting the results in an election.”

It was “a rather unpleasant argument,” Ms. Frankl said of the situation with Ms. Klopman, but she added that it was “wonderful” that two people wanted the position in the first place this year, when at some points in the past there had been not a single person who wanted to take it on.

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"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely".
By Colt (37), Wainscott on Apr 19, 18 5:17 PM
Thank you, Lord Acton.

By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Apr 19, 18 5:19 PM
1 member liked this comment
What is with these people
By PatrickKing (15), Sah Harbor on Apr 19, 18 5:21 PM
1 member liked this comment
OK-- i say this as a friend. PLEASE STOP IT!! Lee Zeldin is the target here. not each other. work it out. Not one penny should be spent on lawsuits among Dems. Bad enough we have a primary.
By jackiemay (23), east hampton on Apr 19, 18 5:35 PM
1 member liked this comment
A look at Ms. Klopman's history as a failed candidate reveals a distressing pattern that raises serious questions about her motives and the validity of her claims. Often the simple answer is the correct one: Ms. Klopman is a poor candidate who lacks public support and seeks to fault others for her repeated losses.

1) In 2017, Ms. Klopman was a Democratic candidate for East Hampton Trustee. Her candidacy was unsuccessful.

2) In 2015, Ms. Klopman ran for the same position (Trustee) ...more
By LI Consumer (5), Suffolk on Apr 19, 18 8:58 PM
2 members liked this comment
Her background says everything!!
By Mate (55), Southampton on Apr 20, 18 12:12 PM