Judge gives go-ahead to Zimmer - Injunction denied

Judge gives go-ahead to Zimmer
Injunction denied

June 30, 2007 Jersey Journal

HOBOKEN - Councilman Chris Campos suffered another loss yesterday when a state Superior Court judge denied his request for an injunction to prevent Dawn Zimmer, who defeated him in the 4th Ward runoff, from taking office tomorrow.

Campos will challenge the results of the June 12 runoff in a trial set to begin July 30. He went to court yesterday hoping to keep Zimmer from being sworn in until the case is settled.

Campos's attorney, Alex Booth, argued that Zimmer's swearing in should be postponed because of an important July 18 council meeting, which cannot be pushed back. Decisions made at this meeting, Booth said, could not be changed even if Campos were to eventually be reinstated.

But Judge Maurice Gallipoli, sitting in Jersey City, ruled that the request for an injunction had to show that "irreparable harm" would be done if Zimmer were allowed to take office - a standard Campos did not meet.

In an interview yesterday, Zimmer said she was "really pleased" with the judge's decisions.

"It insures that the people of the 4th Ward will be fully represented throughout this legal process," she said. "If the judge had decided differently, the 4th Ward would have gone without any representation until Campos completed his legal challenge."

According to a complaint filed by Campos, eight absentee ballots were wrongfully rejected and 12 - including votes by people who do not live in the 4th Ward - were counted illegally. Three residents were also wrongfully prevented from voting and one provisional ballot was wrongfully rejected, Campos claimed.

Campos also accuses the Zimmer campaign of distributing "things of value" in exchange for votes. According to the court complaint, at least six 4th Ward residents received envelopes containing scratch-off lottery cards and separate printed labels that said, "Don't gamble with your future. Vote Dawn Zimmer for Council! Vote 1B on June 12th!"

Asked about the specific accusations, Zimmer declined to comment.

Campos lost by eight votes, 893 to 885. Zimmer's nearly 100-vote margin from absentee ballots pushed her over the edge.

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