A New York State judge dismissed a lawsuit alleging voter fraud in the tiny upstate hamlet of Fleischmanns, but he said the case is now being investigated by law enforcement agencies, according to a court document.
The lawsuit — which alleged that scores of voters who didn’t live in the village illegally cast absentee ballots in a March 15 election for two trustee seats — was dismissed largely on a technicality, Judge Brian Burns wrote in his May 26 decision.
The case, first reported by The Post, alleged that a group of Orthodox Jews were trying to fraudulently “take control” of Fleischmanns’ government, in part, to push through zoning and development laws that favored their projects.
“The court notes that petitioner’s allegations of election fraud are serious in nature and does not lightly dismiss their petition,” Burns wrote.
But he said he had no choice.
“Although the New York elections law, under these particular circumstances, does not allow for a full review of the allegations in the civil court, it appears that the allegations are being actively investigated by various law enforcement agencies,” Burns wrote.
The suit asked that the winning candidates — Aaron Goldring and Yesmin Sarabia — be removed from office until a thorough investigation could be completed, but that request, Burns said, “fell outside this court’s authority.”
Only the State Attorney General can remove elected officials from office, he added.
The two candidates who lost the election, Elizabeth Hughes and Daniel Halpren, and filed the lawsuit may still get justice, their lawyer, Daniel Belzil, told The Post.
“We are more optimistic now than ever that these agencies will act to protect our fundamental democratic rights and prosecute those responsible for the crimes of false registration, illegal voting, and other crimes so that this does not happen ever again in New York state,” Belzil said in a statement.
Belzil is resident of Fleischmanns and ordinarily represents insurance policy holders.
“The Court found that because our Village already swore in the candidates, these candidates can now only be removed from office by the Attorney General in a different proceeding, nothing more,” Belzil added. “Judge Burns clearly appreciated the seriousness of what happened in our Village and “put the ball in the court” of County and state agencies to investigate.”
A spokesperson for New York Attorney’s General’s office confirmed to The Post that it “was looking into the matter” in Fleischmanns.
Goldring’s and Sarabia’s attorney, James Curran, did not respond for comment.