Two crooks want to become mayor of Spring Valley in Rockland County — but only one is eligible to run, a state judge ruled Wednesday. In an only-in-New York story, former Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin, who was ensnared in a federal corruption scandal
Published: 2021-04-14 10:48 pm
Corrupt ex-mayor of NY town running for old seat thanks to state loophole
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Two crooks want to become mayor of Spring Valley in Rockland County — but only one is eligible to run, a state judge ruled Wednesday.

In an only-in-New York story, former Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin, who was ensnared in a federal corruption scandal tied to former state Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, is running for her old job after serving four years in prison.

Jasmin was found guilty in 2015 of mail fraud and extortion.

She got caught peddling her support for a local community center in exchange for $5,000 cash and 50-percent ownership in the development.

But that’s only half the story.

One of her wannabe opponents in the Democratic primary, Vilair Fonvil, a former Spring Valley trustee, was convicted of felony state crimes for stealing $11,000 from a summer camp program run by the village. The crimes included grand larceny, corruption and official misconduct.

Fonvil went to court to knock Jasmin off the ballot, arguing her federal felony conviction barred her from running for office under state and federal law. He has appealed to overturn his convictions.

Jasmin counter-sued — saying the law makes Fonvil ineligible to run because he was convicted of state felony crimes.

State Supreme Court Justice Paul Marx ruled that a loophole allows federal convict Jasmin to run for office again despite her crimes, but prohibits Fonvil from doing so.

New York state law bars criminals convicted of state felonies from running for office, but but allows federal convicts such as Jasmin to run.

(image)
In 2015, Jasmin was convicted on mail fraud and extortion, serving four years in prison.
Mary Altaffer/AP

“Fonvil is clearly and unequivocally ineligible,” Marx said.

But “nowhere within the statute are federal crimes mentioned,” the judge added.

Legislation has been introduced to also make federal cons ineligible to run — but it is not currently in the law, Marx said in his 15-page ruling.

Jasmin got the last laugh.

“Mr. Fonvil should learn not to throw stones from a glass house. This case illustrates the current state of the Public Officers Law and the difference between a federal conviction and state conviction on one’s eligibility for public office,” said Jasmin’s attorney, Ali Najmi.

Smith, a Queens Democrat, was sentenced to seven years in prison for corrupting the political process by trying to buy his way onto the Republican ballot in a crooked bid to become mayor of New York City.

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