January 25, 2018

Appellate Division affirms Supreme Court's decision that the winning candidate for elected office was ineligible to assume the office



Appellate Division affirms Supreme Court's decision that the winning candidate for elected office was ineligible to assume the office
Szymanski v Albanna, 2018 NY Slip Op 00378, Appellate Division, Fourth Department

In 2006, Mohamed Albanna, the defendant in this action, pleaded guilty to the federal crime of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business in violation of 18 USC §1960. He was sentenced to five years in prison and three years of probation.

In his plea agreement, Albanna acknowledged that had operated an illegal money transmitting business that transmitted more than $3.5 million to Yemen over a 13½-month period, in the course of which he [1] transmitted money to Yemen from individuals who did not fully and accurately identify themselves; [2] failed to inquire about the source of the money or why it was being sent; and [3] "made false entries in a money transfer ledger to hide the identities of certain senders and recipients." Albanna also acknowledged that he failed to file required currency transaction reports for cash transactions in excess of $10,000 and that he "knew that his business did not have the required license to transmit money."

In 2017, Albanna ran for election to the office of Councilman, for the 1st Ward of the of Lackawanna and received a majority of votes. Geoffrey M. Szymanski and the City of Lackawanna, as the Plaintiffs in this action, asked Supreme Court to declare that Albanna was ineligible to assume the City office of Councilman, 1st Ward.

Plaintiffs argued that §14.9 of the City Charter provides that "[a] person convicted of a crime or offense involving moral turpitude shall be ineligible to assume or continue in any City office, position or employment." Supreme Court found that Albanna was ineligible to assume the office of 1st Ward Councilman in the City of Lackawanna.

Albanna appealed but the Appellate Division sustained the lower court's ruling.

The Appellate Division explained that because Albanna stipulated the facts recited above in the course of the 2006 criminal action and "was convicted of a crime of moral turpitude," Supreme Court properly declared Albanna ineligible to assume the office of Councilman.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:


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