Assemblyman Ball’s Campaign To File Defamation Lawsuit, Ethics Complaint
The campaign office of Assemblyman Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) announced today that it will pursue a lawsuit against Westchester County Legislator “Tax Hike Mike” Kaplowitz (WF, D – Katonah) for defamation of character. On April 16, an attorney representing Ball’s office sent Tax Hike Mike a “Cease and Desist” order, requiring the Legislator to recant false allegations against Ball and to publicly apologize by April 30. Tax Hike Mike failed to meet each requirement, and Ball says he will not tolerate pernicious campaign tactics.
Jim Coleman, Chief of Staff for Greg Ball, announced the lawsuit outside the Westchester County Office Building in White Plains, NY. Coleman visited the County Office to file a formal ethics complaint against Tax Hike Mike.
“Tax Hike Mike has had more than two weeks to respond to our Cease and Desist order,” Coleman said. “Tax Hike Mike was offered fourteen days to reconsider the proven inaccuracy of his allegations and revisit his method for concluding a cost that exceeds the truth by more than 5000%. He refused this opportunity. Tax Hike Mike’s failure to respond to our request demonstrates malice toward the good name and service of Assemblyman Greg Ball and complete disregard for the facts. Tax Hike Mike’s numbers seem designed solely to produce a high dollar figure in his pursuit for negative headlines against Assemblyman Ball”
In addition to the lawsuit, Coleman delivered to Westchester County Attorney Robert Meehan a letter requesting an ethics investigation against Tax Hike Mike.
“On behalf of Assemblyman Greg Ball, I request that County Attorney Meehan investigate Legislator Kaplowitz for intentional and malicious ethical failings and that the Westchester County Board of Legislators take immediate disciplinary action against Legislator Kaplowitz, including official censure,” Coleman’s letter reads. “And, I request that Legislator Kaplowitz immediately resign from his appointed position as Chairman of the Legislative Committee on Government Operations, Efficiency, and Savings as a result of his malicious behavior unbecoming of his appointment.”
The complaint concludes that Tax Hike Mike’s malicious defamation of Assemblyman Ball amounts to action unbecoming an elected member of the Board of Legislators and the appointed Chairman of the Legislative Committee on Government Operations, Efficiency, and Savings. The complaint additionally calls attention to a “New York State Senate Report Card” posted to Tax Hike Mike’s official government web site, which Ball’s office calls clear campaign material.
“The Senate Report Card is clearly campaign material paid for and distributed at the public’s expense,” Coleman said. “It is self-evident that in these two instances, Tax Hike Mike has intentionally acted in a manner unbecoming of his elected position on the Westchester County Board of Legislators and of his appointed position as Chairman of the Legislative Committee on Government Operations, Efficiency, and Savings.”
On April 14, Tax Hike Mike accused Greg Ball’s Assembly office of improper mailing and presented the Assemblyman with an invoice for $38,304.06. However, Tax Hike Mike’s invoice for three mailings exceeds the Assemblyman’s entire assembly mail budget, including the purchase of single stamps for individual constituent responses. Tax Hike Mike’s accusation also includes unfounded, inaccurate pricing of $0.94 for each piece as well as inaccurate household totals for each town.
Coleman also delivered the ethics complaint was to Kenneth Jenkins, Chairman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators, and James Maisano, Minority Leader of the Westchester County Board of Legislators.