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Bullying Tactics Against Huntington Matters Group

 

The Greater Huntington Civic Group, Inc. has come out in support of Huntington Matters, a fellow civic organization that has been the target of legal threats by Sanford Neil Berland, of Sanford Neil Berland, PLLC and husband of Huntington Town Councilwoman Susan A. Berland. The Group is calling for an immediate retraction of the threat of legal action levied against Huntington Matters, as well as various individuals, for Facebook posts that Mr. Berland claims are, in part, “false and defamatory.”

“This is now the second time during this election season that Sanford Berland has trampled on the rights of the citizens of Huntington Town,” said Steven Spucces, president of the Greater Huntington Civic Group. “These scare tactics are nothing more than smoke and mirrors aimed at keeping concerned citizens from having free and open discussions about Ms. Berland’s record and the serious issues facing our Town. Mr. Berland is using the law like a weapon to scare people into not discussing his wife’s record as a councilwoman. What’s worse is that he is totally dismissing the constitutional rights granted to us under the First Amendment, which guarantees free speech. These irresponsible actions do not bring the community together to discuss the real issues facing Huntington Town; instead, it tears our community apart. This outrageous bullying has to stop!”

In August, Mr. Berland filed a lawsuit challenging the validity of petition signatures gathered by Andrew Merola and William Naughton in their bid to become candidates for the two seats up for re-election on the Huntington Town Board. A candidate is required to submit 1,000 valid signatures. Defending such a lawsuit can cost tens of thousands of dollars, according to Mr. Merola, which can leave a challenger with no choice but to withdraw a bid. Susan Berland is the incumbent candidate, and petitions submitted by Keith Barrett, who has been widely identified as the Huntington Democratic Committee’s second chosen candidate, were not challenged by Mr. Berland.

“Mr. Berland’s legal threats have only been made to squash any challenges to his wife’s re-election campaign,” said Mr. Spucces. “His actions fly in the face of a robust political process aimed at truly serving the citizens of Huntington Town. Instead, those behind such legal bullying are only out to serve themselves.”

The Greater Huntington Civic Group Inc., a 501c(4) organization, was formed to support any and all endeavors that strive to create a better quality of life for all who live and work in Huntington Town.

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