By Sabina Mollot
The congressional seat representing New York’s 12th District that’s been held by Carolyn Maloney for a quarter century now has truly proven to be the hot seat. In a June primary, she is facing two candidates: Suraj Patel, a former employee of the Obama administration who owns a dozen motels with his family and other partners, and Sander Hicks, a small business owner and former independent publisher. Then there’s Peter Lindner, a computer programmer who ran against Maloney in 2016 and was hoping to do so again.
However, on April 24, Patel filed lawsuits against Lindner and Hicks, which according to a spokesperson for Patel, is charging insufficient and invalid petitions.
In the case of Lindner, Patel’s rep, Lis Smith, added, “The Lindner campaign failed to file the required number of signatures to be on the ballot this June 26. Unfortunately, the Board of Elections won’t enforce its own rules unless another candidate demands it, which we have. We look forward to a spirited election where Democrats have a real choice for Congress for the first time in a decade.”
Meanwhile, in addition to the lawsuit, on Tuesday, Lindner was booted off the ballot following a hearing at the Board of Elections. He had attempted to resolve a challenge relating to his petitions but failed due to not having nearly enough petitions. According to a BOE employee, he had under 500 valid petitions, but needed 1,250. He also had problems with his amended petition cover sheet, modifying a statement to add the word “perhaps.” At this point, Lindner can only appeal the decision in court.
Asked by Town & Village if he intended to do so, the answer was a definite maybe.
At first he said voters could expect to see his name on the ballot, but then indicated they may not. “I’ll think about it,” he said. “I’m a fighter, but I have my limits.”
This response wasn’t just in response to the BOE’s decision, but the lawsuit, for which he is due in court on May 8.
Prior to the Tuesday hearing, Lindner told T&V he had done his petitioning and was running for the same reason he was the last time. At that time, Lindner, a longtime resident of Union Square, said Maloney and her staff weren’t responsive or helpful when he had a complaint about a federal judge he believed — and still believes — is corrupt and who Lindner wants to see impeached.
When running in the 2016 primary, Lindner attempted to get the incumbent candidate booted off the ballot for entering the wrong zip code on her petition documents, and she, in turn, challenged him for not having nearly enough signatures to qualify. However, in the end, the Board of Elections determined they could both run and Maloney ended up winning with nearly 90 percent of the vote.
As for the suit against Hicks, the candidate told T&V he got nearly 2,100 signatures when petitioning and believes the petitions are “airtight.” Instead, Hicks believes that the challenge is due to his and Patel’s political differences on Syria.
The candidate said he doesn’t believe “corporate media” reports about Assad bombing Syria and has marched against the United States’ bombing of the region.
“So, when Trump bombed Syria April 12, our campaign was passionately against this insane, illegal act of war,” said Hicks. “Baby-faced millionaire Patel is confused about Syria, so his petition challenge is based on his hurt feelings from losing our last debate. This campaign is a rebellion against the pro-war corporate Democrats. We are the only one different.”
A spokesperson for the Maloney campaign declined to comment on the lawsuits or the BOE’s decision.
The 12th Congressional District represents the East Side of Manhattan and parts of Queens and Brooklyn. Patel lives in the East Village, Hicks lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and Maloney is on the Upper East Side.
Correction: In earlier version of this article stated that Hicks lives in Queens. He is a Brooklyn resident, though he owns a small business in Maspeth, Queens.