Guilty… with an Explanation

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Guilty… with an Explanation

One of the curses of being a writer with a forum or a bully pulpit, is the grudge-bearer or snacker of sour grapes who will contact you and ask with varying degrees of insistence, that you make known to your audience their views on a subject of some disgruntlement to them... usually with the strict admonishment they are not to be in any way identified as the source of the information.

(Some 35+ years ago, the distinctively Noo Yawk columnist Jimmy Breslin, during an afternoon of falling off our barstools at the old Shotwell's Pump, had already identified this particular syndrome. "I want you should write that..." he called it. "They're so hot for you to carry the ball for them, they'll even buy you a beer or two.")

OtBB had such a call shortly after last week's election from someone reluctant to identify himself, but since the caller was so anxious that his message be carried forth, that obstacle quickly vanished.

The caller, a worker-bee involved with the campaign of one of the Southampton Town Democratic Party candidates this Fall, reported in some detail the organi­zation's overall dis­pleasure with November 6th's most successful Democratic vote-getter, Anna Elizabeth Throne-Holst, the lady with the pixie-esque looks and shy smile who on Election Night had finished second among the five Town Board candidates.

By the time the call had ended, there had been a description of intra-party dysfunction that rivaled that of the Town GOP at the end of the campaign, inter-party collusion that sounded like a plot-line from a '30s Warner Brothers movie, and an allegation, with an offer of proof, that bordered on the shocking.

On September 18th, Anna Throne-Holst, Democratic candidate for the Southampton Town Board, cut check #510 in the amount of $99.00 to Republican Councilwoman Linda Kabot's "Friends of Linda Kabot" political campaign. The address is listed as "P.O. Box 81, Quogue NY 11959," and it is included as a Schedule F Expenditure/Payments item under "Political Contributions."

That information was confirmed at the Suffolk County Board of Election Campaign Finance Reporting site under "32 day Pre General Report for the period 9/4/2007 to 10/1/2007."

Part of the narrative surrounding the allegation was that Ms. Throne-Holst and Mrs. Kabot were espied having lunch together in September, and that there were rumors that:

  • Following Nancy Graboski's defiant and convincing win in the September 18th Primary, Ms. Throne-Holst and her first string campaign adviser Meg Taylor concluded that in reality there was going to be only one Town Board seat up for grabs, conceding that Mrs. Gra­boski was a lock to be re-elected;
  • Ms. Throne-Holst and Mrs. Kabot had entered into some sort of mutual non-aggression pact for the duration of the campaign;
  • If Mrs. Kabot was successful in the General Election, and Ms. Throne-Holst was not, that when it came time in January to name a replacement to fill out her unexpired term, Supervisor Kabot would name Ms. Throne-Holst to Mrs. Kabot's vacated seat.

Ye Gawds and the Great McGinty! What was going on here?

An inquiry to one of the Integrity Party's co-founders, Bob Olsen, revealed no campaign expenditures for mailings, print advertising or radio spots at the time Ms. Throne-Holst's campaign wrote Mrs. Kabot's campaign that curious $99.00 check, so the lady was asked about the one seemingly solid piece of "evi­dence" that there was some fire beneath the billowing smoke.

"Linda Kabot and I were being challenged in court by Pat Heaney and Jim Drew in an attempt to deny us the Integrity Party line in the General Election. That $99.00 was a reimbursement to the Kabot Campaign for my portion of the legal fees she had ad­vanced on our behalf."

(If that seems at all inequitable, it should be remembered that Mrs. Kabot was fighting to keep her spot on the Integrity Party's Row G, which physical placement was denied Ms. Throne-Holst due to some recondite Board of Elections regu­lation related to the number of minor party lines a candidate could have; she already had gotten the Working Families endorsement, so her Integrity Party en­dorsement was incorporated onto Row E, as were the two additional endorsements for Democratic Receiver of Taxes candi­date Bruce King.)

With the issue of that smoking check ad­dressed, the rest of the innuendo and specu­lation would seem to be irrelevant, and unless more "insiders" come out publicly with state­ments that Ms. Throne-Holst doesn't play well with others in the local Democratic Party, much of what might be floating around at this juncture can probably be dismissed as the result of "sour grapes."

But the Throne-Holst brain trust has to get props for its reading of the political I-Ching at an early date and recognizing that the Town Board contest in the General Election was going to be a free-for-one-slot among the four candidates left standing: Dan Russo, Mr. Drew and Ms. Throne-Holst's Democratic running mate, Sandra Dunn.

It all comes down to something like the old gag where two men are discussing the best strategy for escaping being devoured by a ravenous lion, and one says, "You have to be a very fast runner," and the other one responds, "No, I only need to be faster than you."

Ms. Throne-Holst at this writing appears to be a lock in her run for Councilwoman unless something hideous and unprecedented tran­spires when the Absentee Ballot envelopes are being opened later today.


1. Matlynn Carville said...

Kewl. An Old Girl's Network, sans cigars, I would hope.

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