Westchester Legislature chairwoman sues board to stop vote to remove her

A state Supreme Court judge granted Catherine Borgia a temporary injunction just 10 minutes before Wednesday's special meeting was scheduled to begin.

Jonathan Gordon

Apr 26, 2023, 10:36 PM

Updated 392 days ago


Westchester Legislature Chairwoman Catherine Borgia is suing the rest of the board to prevent its members from voting to remove her from her leadership position.
A state Supreme Court judge granted Catherine Borgia a temporary injunction just 10 minutes before Wednesday's special meeting was scheduled to begin.
Borgia claims the county charter as well as the rules governing the Legislature do not give the board the legal authority to remove her, according to the lawsuit.
"The BOL is moving to hold this meeting and to suspend the aforementioned rules in violation of the Charter and of the Rules of the BOL, and in doing so, will take action that is illegal and will irreparably harm Borgia," reads one part of the lawsuit.
She is asking the judge to declare the special meeting illegal and permanently ban the board from holding a future vote to remove her.
Her attorney Michael Tawil declined News 12's request for further comment.
Before the lawsuit was filed, the board was expected to vote to have her removed as chair for her alleged handling of reports that a former legislative aid solicited sex from a minor.
On Tuesday, Borgia refused to step down despite a bipartisan call from her colleagues to do so.
The allegations against former legislative aide Anand Singh were brought forward by a group called OBL Global, which produces videos it claims exposes child predators.
The 31-minute video posted on YouTube on April 12 appears to show Singh sending lewd messages and pictures with who he thought was a 14-year-old girl but who was really a decoy.
Singh allegedly drove from New York to New Jersey last December to meet the decoy but was confronted by the video's creators instead.
Borgia allegedly knew about the allegations against Singh in December after two legislators received emails regarding the incident, according to the resolution presented but not voted on Wednesday.
According to the resolution, one legislator forwarded that email to Westchester's Department of Public Safety, but Borgia took no further action with the employee.
Singh was allowed to continue working in person between the original email and when Borgia fired him on April 13 after the video went public, according to the resolution.
Legislators say Borgia has been unavailable in the days since firing Singh, has been less than forthright about the situation, failed to consult with county departments, and did not communicate with other board members to protect them, staff and guests, according to the resolution.
Singh has not been charged with any crimes, but the Westchester District Attorney's Office is reviewing the case.
Borgia called on the Justice Department to investigate.
Vice Chairwoman Nancy Barr is expected to replace Borgia on an acting basis if a vote takes place. Barr led Wednesday's meeting in Borgia's absence.
The board would have 60 days to select someone to fill out the remainder of Borgia's term as chair which runs until the end of this year.
Borgia has maintained she followed the law and board rules after she learned about Singh four months ago and accused legislators of being misogynistic and attacking her for political gain.
Borgia was selected as the chair in January 2022 and was already set to leave the board once her third term ends at the end of the year because of the county's law on term limits for legislators.
The judge is expected to rule by Friday at 2 p.m., and lawmakers tentatively plan to reconvene Wednesday's meeting on Friday at 4:00 in the legislative chambers depending on the outcome of the case.

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