Zellner, a Lenihan protege, took 57 percent of the vote in a meeting this Saturday, but Max's legal team is prepared to say that the vote count was improperly weighted after recent re-districting.
"The result was an unfair rigged election," Max attorney Peter Reese tells WBEN.
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Atty. Peter Reese, representing Frank Max
from Hardline, The WBEN Politics Program (Sunday 10am-12noon)
Jeremy Zellner, assumes Victory
"Our fundamental position is that Commissioner Ward abused his discretion," Reese says.
Ward denies any wrongdoing, saying that re-districting made for adjustments in several places.
"It was not manipulation. There were changes, and we are going to do more changes over the next two years," Ward says.
Max tells WBEN that Reese and others will ask a federal judge to overturn the result "as soon as humanly possible", with court filings expected as soon as Monday.
"We anticipate a multi-pronged challenge that will include state lawsuits, federal lawsuits and administrative remedies that will include filing a complaint with the state committee," Reese says.
Zellner-- speaking with WBEN's Dave Debo on the Hardline politics program (Sunday 10am-12noon) -- said he assumes he is the victor and plans on having talks with Gov. Cuomo and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, about healing party rifts. But he also says his victory was a rebuke for the outside forces that tried to control the election.
"Yesterday's elections showed one thing. that this party does not belong to any elected official or any one person.This party belongs to the nearly 2,00 committee members who constitute our Democratic committee. And I don't think they are going to be pushed around by anybody, but it is time to put everything that has happened in the past ten years aside. It is time to move forward with a clean slate," said Zellner, who served as Lenihan's executive director in charge of day-to-day party operations. .
Earlier this year, Lenihan was urged from office by Cuomo's forces, hoping to end some of the squabbles between Brown, Lenihan and other factions. He announced his retirement only to rescind it on the day it was to have started-- then later quit the party's top job, setting the stage for this weekend's disputed election between Max and Zellner.
While both pledged to not officially lobbying committee members, Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy is a Max supporter, and county executive Mark Poloncarz is a Zellner ally.
The ballots from this weekend's committee meeting are held by Deputy Party Chair Stephanie Miner. Miner, the mayor of Syracuse, was called in to supervise Saturday's meeting at Max's request.