Letter from Rockland County District Attorney candidate Vic Alfieri to the Rockland County Times
At your request, to clarify the events you ask about:
First off, let me tell you why I am running. When I was sitting as a judge or before that when I was an assistant district attorney, or public defender, I used to jump out of bed: I couldn’t get to work fast enough. I knew I was doing something important. I was helping people who really needed my professional assistance to resolve their disputes; to hold an offender accountable for injuring another person; to assist someone charged with a crime who may very well be innocent and protect him/her from the abyss of a criminal conviction. I felt needed and relied upon. And I loved that feeling. I want to feel that ‘good’ feeling again. I only seek to serve once again to regenerate that feeling of doing good for my community. So I became a candidate for District Attorney.
Months after I had unofficially announced I was a candidate, Kristin Stavisky (Rockland Democratic Party chairwoman, Board of Elections chairwoman, and sister of fellow candidate for DA, Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski) and Nicole Doliner (Democratic candidate for Clarkstown supervisor) requested a meeting with me. Doliner told me over phone the meeting was about the DA race. “We can’t lose this position,” she said. That statement made me wonder: Did she think we would lose If I was the candidate?
Haven’t I previously won eight elections? So I looked forward to the meeting. Meeting dates were set then canceled, and we finally met on November 1 for lunch my records and text messages show. The meeting took place on November 1 at Citiline in New City. At that meeting they, Kristin Stavisky and Nicole Doliner, tried to convince me to drop out of the DA race and run for either the Legislature or the Town Board with their support. I told them no, I was running for DA. I asked Kristin to step down from the DA race as she was conflicted with her brother running and being the Election Commissioner and chair of the Democratic Party. She got up from table in a huff, said she was insulted, but soon returned. I made it clear I was running for DA and was not interested in running for the Legislature or Town Board.
On November 8, while I was at an St Paul’s/St. Ann’s Church Usher Training for an ‘Active Shooter,’ at 6:57 p.m. I received an unusual text message from David Carlucci: “Do you want to meet for dinner tonight?”
He has never asked me to meet him for dinner like this. I left the training early because his request sounded important and he had long before pledged his support of my candidacy for District Attorney. At the meeting at a restaurant in Nyack he began the conversation with, “Would you be interested in a high position in the District Attorney’s Office.” I told him, “Yes, I am running for it now: District Attorney!” He said, “No, I mean if you could have a position in the District Attorney’s Office…”
I shut the conversation down immediately. David was my friend, or so I thought, and I knew he was getting into dangerous, illegal territory. To me, in my opinion it was clearly an attempt at offering me something for dropping out of the race. Then another friend of his showed up and the conversation changed. If David had asked, “Why don’t you think about seeking a position in the District Attorney’s Office, rather than run for District Attorney?” I would have had a different view of the conversation, but to me, in my opinion, the statement constituted the initiation of an offer being conveyed.
After this conversation and a walk to another restaurant I sensed he was dropping his support for me so I asked him if he was supporting Zebrowski. He told me he was. I told him, “But David, he is totally unqualified to be District Attorney.” David replied, “But he is a lawyer.” I said, “Yes but, my foot doctor doesn’t do brain surgery!”
I believe that that ended the conversation.
Soon after, at a Christmas party in early December at the Pearl River Hilton for the Filipinos of Rockland (F.O.R.), Ken Zebrowski showed late and stayed for a short time. I was going from table to table introducing myself and asking for support. I said hello to Zebrowski and his only comment to me was, “So you are not interested in running for the Legislature or the Town Board?” I told him, “No.” He did not mention Carlucci or the ‘offer’ at all.
Kristin Stavisky announced she was removing herself from the District Attorney race as Election Commissioner and delegated the job to two long time members of her office. However both had carried petitions in support of Ken Zebrowski for DA. Now in court, the Board of Election Team: three attorneys, Kristin Stavisky and subordinates are working hard to challenge my petitions and are making great headway in that effort, to the extent that if I am not allowed to add back certain good signatures, I will be off of the ballot after Wednesday’s session.
We have suffered some adverse rulings and may have to rely on the appeal process. How can a chairperson of the Democratic Party, who advocates for her candidate-brother, be simultaneously the person who supervises the election, and is trying to throw off a candidate in her own party who clearly has the required number of signatures to be in this race! How is that Democratic? How is that democracy? Why are my rights not protected by the Commissioner of Elections, who is, after all, a public servant?! She may say that “well, it is my job is to make sure that the election rules are followed to have a fair election.”
I agree, but when you have advocates for one candidate doing that job, led by a partisan chairperson, can we really have confidence in that process?
The point of the foregoing is that when you have the improperly motivated leaders of a party seeking to encourage a candidate to drop out of a race for office to give a close relative a benefit, and failing his/her dropping out of the race, they act vigorously by commencing a legal proceeding to remove him/her, the only conclusion, in my opinion, one can reach is that the fairness of the proceeding is called into question.
Legal proceedings require fairness. The parties and public rely on that. That is why the American Justice System is the best in the world. Because if disputes are not resolved in a court system that everyone has confidence in because it operates fairly, they are decided in the streets. Just look around at other countries without a fair court system to see how they resolve their issues.
The problem I face in addition to the above, is seems nobody cares. The local newspapers don’t care. They don’t even cover the trial now taking place. Not one word in the Journal News.
Does anybody care that perhaps the most qualified candidate in this race, with 40 years criminal justice experience, 28 years as a judge, who presided over or tried criminal cases in every type of court in the Criminal Justice System, who has experience as a former assistant DA and former asst. public defender, may be chucked off of the ballot and put out of this race because, a candidate with little or no experience doesn’t want to face me in a primary race?
Sometimes, lately, it looks as if I will never be able to resurrect that ‘good’ feeling again.
Democratic Party candidate for Rockland County DA
Alfieri later sent the following clarification: “Regarding the conversation with David referred to in my previous email, I want to be clear no offense was committed, it just appeared that the conversation was headed that way. That was my interpretation and it could be wrong. I have always found David to be an honorable forthright individual and that impression has never changed.”