Tag Archives: james mcclelland

Turner, Ragusa both claim victory to lead Queens GOP


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photos

The Queens Republican Party civil war is not over, and Phil Ragusa did not reclaim his throne yet, his opponents say.

Both Ragusa and former Congressmember Bob Turner have declared themselves winners in the election to head the Queens GOP after a six hour contentious meeting on September 27.

According to Party officials, Ragusa won re-election as chair by 52 percent of votes cast by district leaders and state committee members. His challenger, Turner, garnered about 48 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.

But Councilmember Eric Ulrich, an outspoken critic of Ragusa, said Turner in fact had higher tallies than reported and had the support of “a clear majority” of voters.

There was no independent monitor in the room to count the votes, he said, and the Party’s leadership had thrown out valid proxies.

“The county’s members are using fuzzy math,” Ulrich said. “Their attempts to disqualify the proxy votes of duly elected county committee members are shameful. When every single vote is counted, it is clear that Bob Turner is the chairman.”

Both Turner and Ragusa have submitted certificates of election with the state and city Board of Elections.
Ragusa released a statement, saying he had been declared the “clear winner.”

“I am honored and humbled by the show of support given to me by Queens County Committee and State Committee members,” he said. “I will continue to lead the party honorably and faithfully and will work to unify the party so that the

Queens GOP continues to grow and become even stronger in the future.”

Turner said he was confident court litigations over the next few weeks would find him victorious.

“We know we won,” Turner said. “This is going to have to be solved at a different level.”

A similar internal battle occurred in 2011, when both Ragusa and former Councilmember Tom Ognibene claimed victory, though Ognibene was later defeated.

Ulrich, an insurgent of the Queens GOP, has long called for Turner to take over Party leadership, especially after a bombshell corruption scandal emerged this April.

Queens GOP Vice Chair Vince Tabone and Republican Councilmember Dan Halloran were among a handful of officials indicted in a bribery scheme to get Democratic State Senator Malcolm Smith on the GOP mayoral primary ticket.

Shortly after Tabone resigned from his post, more than a dozen Republican State Committee members wrote Ragusa a letter, asking him to step down, too, and allow Turner to take over.

The county boss, who was not accused of any wrongdoing, stayed on and won re-election earlier this month to his district leader post, beating back challenger and Ulrich ally Sal Bacarella.

Others elected to the Queens GOP include Robert Beltrani as executive vice chair and James McClelland as first vice chair. McClelland served as chief of staff to Councilmember Peter Koo and recently left to work for State Senator Simcha Felder.

 

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Call to address gang violence in Flushing housing projects


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Councilmember Peter Koo.

 

In the wake of the most recent shooting at Flushing’s James A. Bland House, Councilmember Peter Koo held a town hall meeting to discuss new security protocol at the Bland and Latimer housing projects.

According to reports, on Halloween, October 31, Alex Botero, 21, was shot and killed in an elevator in the Bland House, located at 40-21 College Point Boulevard. He was shot once in the head at approximately 5:45 p.m. and was later taken to New York Hospital Queens in Flushing, where he was pronounced dead, reports say.

“This was a specific meeting to discuss serious crime issues that we wanted to address,” said James McClelland, chief of staff to Koo.

The meeting — held on Tuesday, November 15 — was planned months ago, after Koo and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn put $400,000 toward new security systems at the Bland and Latimer Houses, McClelland said.

The money is allocated toward security cameras and new “smart doors” that will allow residents to swipe in and enter if they are on the lease. The new doors also prohibit those who are not legally allowed in the building from entering, McClelland said.

The new security systems — aimed at putting a halt to “ongoing gang violence that has been recently reinvigorated” — could be implemented as early as January or as late as April, according to McClelland.

Prior to the shooting in September, according to a police source, two men, both in possession of weapons, were arrested following a shooting at the Bland House on Saturday, September 10.

The source said that a man was shot in the leg. One of the perps, according to the source, was wearing a bullet-proof vest.