S. Farmingdale water district mailing heats up election campaign
BY JOIE TYRRELL
The front page of a recent mailing from the South Farmingdale Water District to its customers touted the assets of commissioner Kurt Ludwig.
It boasted that Ludwig, a North Massapequa resident, not only "hit the ground running his first year in office... he crossed the finish line in first place!"
But Ludwig is running for re-election as commissioner for the water district, and the taxpayer-funded mailer that went out last week just days before Tuesday's election violates campaign laws, says his opponent, Craig Heller.
An attorney for Heller filed suit Friday in Supreme Court in Nassau County asking for the three commissioners of the water district to pay the costs of printing and mailing as well as to prevent them from sending out any other mailings that are political in nature.
"You can't send out a mailer a week before the election and say 'Look at what a great job this guy is doing. Congrats on a great first year. We wish you many more.' If that is not a piece of campaign literature, I have no clue what is," said Steven Schlesinger, the attorney representing Heller, the Democratic challenger.
Ludwig did not return a call seeking comment at his office in the public information office of the Town of Oyster Bay. Leonard Constantinopoli, business manager of the water district, said he had not seen the suit and therefore could not comment on it.
He did say the position is a part-time one, with two public meetings a month and commissioners are paid a $100 stipend per meeting. Their term is three years. They are also eligible for health insurance, he said.
According to the water district's Web site, Ludwig is serving his first term as commissioner for the South Farmingdale Water District.
Schlesinger, who serves as law chairman of the Nassau Democratic County Committee, said Heller has the support of County Executive Thomas Suozzi as part of his effort to consolidate these special districts.
The water district serves 5.4 square miles including South Farmingdale, North Massapequa, some areas of Bethpage and some areas in Seaford.