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Bianco, Paganelli & Peters to Remain on Independence Line

Update: This article has been updated with statements from Tom DeChiaro, Michael Grace and Giulio Cavallo.

YORKTOWN, NY-- Councilman Nick Bianco, candidate for Town Board Dave Paganelli and candidate for town supervisor Don Peters will remain on the Independence Party ballot line after the court ruled in their favor Friday.

The suit, brought to the court by candidate for supervisor Michael Grace, and candidate for Town Board Tom DeChiaro, alleged that Bianco, Paganelli and Peters had signed the certificate of acceptance for endorsement from the Independence Party prior to the date which they were actually endorsed.

Guy Parisi, lawyer for Bianco, said the court ruled in their favor because it had exceeded the statute of limitations. Parisi said the last date to bring the proceeding was July 28, and although it was filed with the court on that date, it wasn't actually served to the candidates until that Saturday, and the Board of Elections that Monday.

"The proceeding was not timely, and it was dismissed entirely," he said. "The decision of the Board of Elections stands, which is putting them on the ballot."

Bianco said he was happy with the judge's decision.

"This was another frivolous lawsuit by Tom DeChiaro and company," he said. "This guy likes to sue, and that's his right. But it's also our right to win or to lose."

In a letter authored by DeChiaro and Grace, they said they were disappointed with the court's decision and stressed again that they were in disagreement with the ways of the Independence Party, not the candidates.

"Our decision to file the action was not primarily directed at the respondent-candidates," they said. "Its objective was to expose the practice of the Independence Party which holds back its official endorsements of candidates for public office until the last day before signatures are due for filing. Doing so allows the Party Leadership to withdraw the endorsement at the last moment even though the unwitting candidate has been represented to the voters as the endorsed candidate for some months."

Prior to the decision by the courts, Dr. Giulio Cavallo, Chairman of the Independence Party for Westchester called the lawsuit laughable.

"I laughed when I heard about this lawsuit. This is so frivolous. I don’t even know who these guys are, and they are out of their mind,” he said. “There is nothing in the law saying I have to endorse them differently. I do this the same way at the state level. I did it the right way this year, and I’m going to do it the same way next year.”

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