A judge finally settled the Battle of the Bronx Boss today, ruling that Assemblyman Carl Heastie’s election to Democratic County Leader was valid.
State Supreme Court Justice Robert Seewald’s decision comes almost two months after the Bronx Democratic Party’s raucous election at the Utopia Paradise Theater, which left both longtime machine leader Assemblyman Jose Rivera and Rainbow Rebellion-backed Heastie both claiming victory.
“I was always confident we would win because we did everything the right way. We played by the rules. We worked hard and we had the numbers,” said Rebel Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz. Though the September 28 meeting was commandeered by Rivera allies, who rushed the theater and speedily acclaimed the incumbent boss victor, Rebels waited patiently to start by-the-books proceedings, which included a required vote of the Borough’s district leaders.
“The judge obviously saw that we ran the meeting the right way and their so-called meeting was nothing more than a rump-session which carried no weight whatsoever,” Dinowitz added.
Neither Rivera nor Heastie was present in the courtroom today.
Michael Nieves, a spokesman for Rivera, spent time reviewing the decision with attorney Jerry Goldfeder. “No decision has been made as to whether to appeal or not,” he said.
Rivera, who held the post for five years, was out of the City for the holiday, Nieves said, and will make a statement about his decision when he returns. But Nieves seemed not to have much fight in him.
“We don’t really have much to say,” Nieves said, “other than congratulations to the other side.”