Queens GOP Leadership Debate Heads To Court

Staff Writer

The first court hearing to decide the Queens GOP Party leadership was heard in court earlier this week.

The two sides have gone to court after a dispute over a Sept 27. reorganizational meeting, which saw Republican Leader Phil Ragusa retain the position over former U.S. Rep. Bob Turner.

The vote has been challenged over concerns about how the meeting was run, including the vote being held on a weekday afternoon, which allegedly prevented some members from attending the meeting.

According to Robert Hornak, the party’s executive director, although nothing of note happened at the first court hearing, the sides will reconvene on Nov. 7 to discuss more specific legal actions the Turner side is taking to overthrow Ragusa. Hornak was not present at the hearing.

He added that the opposition is allegedly hoping to have some proxy votes counted that were submitted after the deadline set for the vote in addition to their complaint about the time of the meeting.

“It seems to me they’re throwing stuff against the wall and hoping it sticks,” Hornak said, adding he has no doubt the court will find the meeting was organized in the proper manner and Ragusa will be declared the winner.

Last week, Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) accused Ragusa’s side of stifling support for Turner at the Sept. 27 meeting. Others countered that Ulrich and his associates were bullying the opposition and disrupting the meeting.
Ulrich declined to comment on the court case. Tom Ognibene, a former councilman and lawyer who is representing Turner in the case, could not be reached for comment as of press time.

Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127,, or @luisgronda.