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Fair Campaign Practices Panel Rules In Yonkers Legislator Race

Ken Jenkins Photo Credit: File Photo
Nicole Benjamin Photo Credit: http://www.nicoleforyonkers.com/

YONKERS, N.Y. -- The Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee met on Sept. 30 to hear the complaints that Nicole Benjamin and Ken Jenkins filed against each other. They are candidates in the Democratic primary for the position of Westchester County legislator in the 16th District, which covers Yonkers. 

The findings of the committee in complaints against Jenkins are as follows:

  • COMPLAINT 1: Jenkins, in an email to the Black Democrats of Westchester, stated that Benjamin’s nominating petition submitted to the Board of Elections was “ripe with fraud.” FINDING: Unfair. The evidence presented did not support such a claim. 
  • COMPLAINT 2: Jenkins, in the Aug. 21 issue of Yonkers Rising, asserted that Benjamin received support from Republican benefactors. FINDING: Unfair. No evidence was presented that Benjamin had received support from Republican benefactors.

The findings of the committee in complaints against Benjamin are as follow:

  • COMPLAINT 1: Benjamin’s campaign literature stated that “Mr. Jenkins opposed the relocation of Social Services and Yonkers Family Court. He disregarded the safety and welfare of Yonkers’ families.” Jenkins claimed that this was a “distortion of my position on this issue.” FINDING: Unfair. Benjamin’s disagreement with Jenkins’ position on the relocation of Yonkers Family Court does not make the statement true. No evidence was provided supporting this claim. 
  • COMPLAINT 2: The same campaign literature stated, “Sprain Ridge Pool, Closed – Since 2011. But Jenkins blames his colleagues for the closing, while he vacationed in Aruba and ordered the vote to be held over.” Jenkins contended, “Ms. Benjamin misstates the facts then compounds this with a false attack and an invasion of privacy.” FINDING: Unfair. The statement is misleading. In addition, a private trip was not relevant to the pool closing. 
  • COMPLAINT 3: The above referenced campaign mailer stated, “As President of the Yonkers Industrial Development Agency and a Yonkers Legislator, Jenkins’ deals involving real estate contracts, tax abatements, developers, contractors, title companies, generously enrich his campaign funds to keep him in power.” Jenkins complained, “This entire statement by Ms. Benjamin engages in false or misleading attacks upon the character of an opponent.” FINDING: Fair. This rhetoric is within the realm of standard political discourse. 

The purpose of the Westchester Fair Campaign Committee is to promote a climate in which candidates conduct honest and fair campaigns. The committee does not sit as a censor of political discussion nor as a body to enforce election law or make legal decisions.

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