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As State Senate Race Heats Up, Cohen and Latimer Duel Over Insinuations Tied to $17,000 in Credit Card Expenses Filed by Latimer Campaign

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As State Senate Race Heats Up, Cohen and Latimer Duel Over Insinuations Tied to $17,000 in Credit Card Expenses Filed by Latimer Campaign

April 23, 2012 - 11:06
7 comments

George LatimerThe battle for the 37th Senate District, Cohen v. Latimer, has all the makings of a good old-fashioned slugfest. It's only April but already the pair of political heavyweights are standing toe-to-toe trading punches. So far, it has been Cohen coming out of his corner throwing haymakers with New Rochelle Judge Susan Kettner now becoming an issue in the race.

In a press release last week, Bob Cohen, the Republican candidate to replace Suzi Oppenheimer, raised questions about $17,000 in unitemized credit card receipts on Latimer's finance disclosure reports.

The Cohen campaign specifically called on Mr. Latimer to make public the names of who he dined with on those various occasions, stating "many of which were clearly dinners for two", a not-too-subtle jab at Latimer for his close personal relationship with New Rochelle Judge Susan Kettner. Latimer is married with a wife and a child living in Rye.

Latimer declined to respond to Cohen's insinuations.

"If he has a specific attack to make, I'll respond. But so far, he has made the effort to attack me continually, and I will not indulge his campaign daily in that direction."

In state filing records provided by the Cohen campaign, Assemblyman George Latimer (D-WFP) lists five separate payments to a Chase credit card totaling nearly $17,000 over a six month period in his January 2012 filing.

Based on a recent court decision (Fox et al v. Branca), credit card filings must be fully itemized to meet the requirements of Article 14 of State Election Law, Cohen's campaign said.

"One of the biggest problems plaguing Albany politicians is their lack of transparency," Cohen campaign spokesman Bill O'Reilly said. "The people of Westchester have a legal and ethical right to know exactly where campaign dollars are being spent. Mr. Latimer has failed to follow both the letter and spirit of the state's campaign finance laws and he should amend his filings immediately to avoid any further wrongdoing."

Latimer punched back.

"There are legitimate public policy issues to discuss and that's what I intend to discuss as an Assemblyman and as a Senate candidate," Latimer told Talk of the Sound. "If he wants to discuss transparency, he can begin by telling us all who funded the attack robo-calls that have gone against me, anonymously and uncredited, since January."

There have been reports of voters throughout the 37th Senate district getting automated phone calls critical of Latimer over the past several months.

Stay tuned for what is sure to be a knock-down, drag-out, fight to the finish in a district that is almost evenly split between Republicans and Democrats.

There are 7 Comments

I like how "religion" is left blank on Lattimer's profile.

My kinda guy.

My question is how he gets away with this. He uses $17,000 of campaign funds through a credit card and does not explain how this money is spent? Under state law he must itemize this stuff and $17,000 is a lot of money, so this appears to be a clear violation of law. What law enforcement entity is supposed to hold him accountable for this?

What Hotel is he using in albany or in New Rochelle or maybe the mar"k motel. GO SUZY GO

Whatever happened on the supposedly illegal contributions Kettner made to Fertel?

There's been absolutely nothing on it in over a year. I hope it wasn’t just swept under the rug by someone in Albany, but I think it was.

I wonder what George's take on this was. He'll probably try to spin as some sort of tax cut he proposed and we got without realizing it.

Check out the 11/2/11 filing for a camapign
REFUND to SUSAN KETTNER. This is another illegal campaign contribution.

In the interest of full disclousure Latimer for Assembly contributed $2,000 in 2010 to the Committee to Elect Susan Kettner for City Judge and the Kettner family and law firm contributed $1,675 to Latimer for Assembly from 2006-2011.

Robert Cox's picture

Can you link the actual document? It actually says "refund"?

Also, is it that the "refund" is illegal or is that Latimer is giving the Kettner campaign back a donation that was illegal? Can you help me understand that? What was it about the 11-2-11 donation that was illegal? How much was the 11-2-11 donation?

I think the question was/is can either of these campaigns just return "illegal" contributions to simply end any and all responsibility and culpability on their end? The 11-2-11 issue wasn't illegal, it was returning the "illegal" contribution.

Also will anything ever come of these “illegal” donations or perhaps they were legal in the first place so we’ve been blowing our horns over nothing?

Bob, didn’t you break this story close to a year ago? If my memory is correct with the year timeframe, I’d expect that something would’ve happened by now and since nothing has, I’m assuming it all got swept under the rug. Then again, I know what happens when you assume!

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