Democrat Photo by Nathan Mayberg
ELWIN WOOD OF Roscoe, beat out challenger Patrick Casey of Livingston Manor for the District 3 legislative seat, but lost a $300,000 lawsuit against he and a business partner.
A Bittersweet Week For Elwin Wood
By Nathan Mayberg
MONTICELLO November 21, 2006 Sullivan County Legislator Elwin Wood (Democrat) officially kept his seat on the legislature yesterday when absentee ballots extended his lead over challenger Republican Patrick Casey from a 25-vote lead to a 62-vote margin for a final count of 1,260 to 1,198.
Wood’s victory was bittersweet though, because of a $300,000 judgement against him, and business partner Lori Ann Bertsch and their company Junction Common Polls, Inc, handed down a week earlier by a federal grand jury in White Plains.
The judgement was the result of a racial discrimination suit brought by Rosemarie Brown of New York City and East Branch. Brown, an African-American, operates La Petite Rose, a clothing store at 45 Stewart Avenue in Roscoe owned by Wood and Lori Ann Bertsch.
According to the suit, the two commenced eviction proceedings against Brown after she had paid her rent. Brown’s attorney, Michael Sussman, provided evidence that showed a number of instances where caucasian tenants fell behind on their rent for months at a time without having eviction proceedings placed against them. Futhermore, Wood and his partner admitted to violating their lease by failing to provide notice of delinquent rental payments and a period of time to breach any alleged failure to pay her rent.
Brown argued that the treatment of the defendants caused her “significant emotional distress, humiliation and anxiety.”
Wood responded yesterday by stating the situation was a landlord/tenant dispute and that he would be appealing the decision.
“I never purposely or knowingly have done anything to jeopardize anybody on the basis of race or color. That is not me. The people who know me, know that’s not who I am. I am looking forward to serving my district the same as I did last year. I have been working on an affirmative action plan as Chairman of the Personnel Committee.”
He also intends to continue work on changing the large parcel bill for the Town of Neversink and the disastrous flooding which has afflicted the Town of Rockland.
The District 3 legislator’s term ends on December 31, 2007.