Goodman To Serve Jail Term For 2018 Election Law Violations

Amos Goodman with his attorney Lindsay Lewis at the Suffolk County Court in Central Islip on Monday. T.E. MCMORROW

Amos Goodman, the former East Hampton Town Republican Committee chairman, was led out of a Central Islip courtroom in handcuffs on Monday, November 22, to start a 45-day jail sentence for his role in the forgery of dozens of signatures on election nominating petitions in 2018.

Goodman, 38, a Springs resident, had pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor charge of violating state election law and three violation level counts of disorderly conduct on May 4. He was sentenced to 15 days in jail for each of the disorderly conduct violations — to be served consecutively.

Goodman arrived at the courthouse in Central Islip with one of his attorneys, Lindsay Lewis, but offered no comment on the charges against him or his impending jail sentence.

The guilty plea and relatively short jail sentence came in exchange for District Attorney Tim Sini’s office dropping 20 felony charges that had been filed against him in December 2018 related to the forging of signatures on petitions for then Republican Party candidate Manny Vilar and for two candidates in county races on the Green Party and Independence Party tickets.

His arrest came after a post-election investigation by the district attorney’s office that also led to the arrest of former East Hampton Town Councilwoman Patricia Mansir and two Suffolk County Board of Elections officials from the North Fork, each also initially charged with several felonies related to forged signatures on political petitions.

The D.A.’s investigation followed an extensive inquiry and story by The East Hampton Press that spotlighted dozens of local residents who said their signatures had been forged on political petitions.

The Press inquiry had been spurred, in part, by Goodman himself, when he challenged petitions presented by Mansir, who was then vice-chair of the Independence Party, calling attention to the apparent forgery of at least eight signatures on petitions supporting the Independence Party’s nomination of David Gruber for the Town Board seat.

Goodman’s challenge of the Independence Party signatures succeeded in getting the party’s candidate removed from the ballot, leaving only the Republican and Democratic candidates, but quickly put the spotlight on the other petitions in the race.

A Press reporter visited the homes of more than three dozen Republican Party voters whose names had appeared on the petitions submitted by Goodman in support of Vilar’s candidacy. All but three said that they had never been asked to sign a petition in person, and that the signatures on the petitions next to their addresses were without question not their own. Only one said the signature was definitely his.

At the time, Goodman told The Press, concerning allegations that Mansir had falsified petitions: “’The notion that you would do something like this for no real reason is something I don’t understand. There are people who know how to do it right and don’t want to do it the proper way.’”

Goodman was, at the time, a notary public, a role that is described by the National Notary Association as “an official of integrity … performing a variety of fraud-deterrent acts related to the signing of documents.”

When Justice Kerr, back in May, accepted the deal negotiated between Goodman’s attorneys, Lindsay Lewis, William Keahon and Craig Fleischer, and the district attorney’s office, she said from the bench that she would allow a felony charge to be dropped in satisfaction of the guilty plea to the misdemeanor despite evidence of more serious wrongdoing.

“Although there is reasonable cause to believe that the defendant committed a felony,” she said, according to court documents, “based upon the people’s consent, in the interest of justice, that charge is reduced down to the misdemeanor election law violation.”

Goodman arrived at the courthouse in Central Islip on Monday for his sentencing with two of his attorneys. Wearing a black suit, white shirt and a red tie, he was pleasant though clearly quite nervous.

The agreed upon punishment for Goodman’s actions was a $1,000 fine for the misdemeanor conviction, and 15 days in jail for each of the three disorderly conduct violations, to be served consecutively. With good behavior, Goodman will likely be released after serving 30 days. Fifteen days is the maximum jail time for a violation conviction.

He will serve his sentence at either the Yaphank or Riverside jail facilities.

The sentencing session itself, put off until just before the Thanksgiving holiday, to allow Goodman to deal with various family and business issues, according to a statement made in court by Keahon back in May, was perfunctory.

Kerr asked Goodman if he wanted to make a statement to the court concerning his convictions. He declined. She then pronounced his sentence and a court officer stepped forward, handcuffed him and took him to an anteroom in the prisoner’s area of the courthouse, where he was allowed to briefly speak with his attorney.

Lewis would not comment afterward, other than to say, “He will be out in 30 days’ time. He is looking forward to getting on with his life.”

It is not the first time Goodman has been convicted of a crime. Between 2017 and 2018, he was arrested twice on misdemeanor charges of unlicensed driving in East Hampton. His license had been suspended many times over for numerous offenses, including multiple speeding ticket convictions, leading to those arrests.

After the first arrest, he was allowed to plea bargain down to a simple violation. However, after the second arrest in 2018, which happened just weeks before the crime for which he just pleaded guilty to occurred, he eventually pleaded to the misdemeanor criminal charge.

The case against Mansir is still pending. Her attorney, Carl Irace, who was in the Central Islip courthouse on Tuesday for an unrelated matter, said that her “case has been adjourned since May. We are working toward an agreeable resolution. The prosecution has been fair and just with us.”