In a shocking turn of events, a judge ruled in former city councilman Andy King’s favor, allowing him to stay on the ballot for the 12th City Council District June Democratic primary. King, who was expelled from the city council in October 2020, has been trying to get his seat back. Reasons for King’s expulsion included allegations of harassing staff members, accepting a kickback, and continued ethics violations.
The 12th City Council district encompasses Wakefield, Olinville, Edenwald, Eastchester, Williamsbridge, Baychester, and Co-op City neighborhoods.
Kevin Riley, who initially won the seat in a special election and then again during the regular election, is running again. Riley is considered a protege, having worked for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie prior to running for the special election, and is closely aligned with the Bronx Democratic Party Committee.
District 12 residents and community organizations are overall pleased with Riley’s tenure serving the community. But King still has a strong following in the district despite his historic expulsion from the city council.
King was initially kicked off the ballot by the Board of Elections due to a New York City charter rule § 25(a) that states: “A member of the council who resigns or is removed from office prior to the completion of a full a term shall be deemed to have held that office for a full term for purposes of section 1138 of the charter.”
The city charter does not expand to include expulsion.
In her order siding with King’s position, Judge Lucy Billings’ concludes by saying: “Board of Elections in the City of New York invalidated petitioner’s designating petitions as a candidate for New York City Council Member from the 12th Council District in the Primary Election June 27, 2023, was his ineligibility for that office under New York City Charter § § 25(a) and 1138(a). Because he did not resign and was not removed from that office in 2020, but was expelled from that office, for the reasons explained above, the court grants the petition. The court declares and adjudges that petitioner’s designating petitions filed with respondent Board of Elections in the City of New York to be placed on the ballot in the Primary Election June 27, 2023, as a candidate for City Council Member for the 12th City Council District are valid and enjoins respondent Board to place petitioner on the ballot as a candidate for that office.”
Riley and the Bronx Democratic Party cannot take his re-election for granted. Darlene Mealy, a Brooklyn city council member who lost her seat a few years ago, ran again and won her seat. There is precedent for a King comeback.
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