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Nov 5, 2009 1:07 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Wilkinson beats Zwirn; Quigley and Stanzione beat Leber and Whelan

Nov 5, 2009 1:07 PM

Republican Bill Wilkinson was elected East Hampton Town supervisor on Tuesday, defeating Democrat Ben Zwirn.

Mr. Wilkinson received 67 percent of the vote—4,587 votes to Mr. Zwirn’s 2,286, according to the Suffolk County Board of Elections.

There was a jubilant atmosphere at Republican headquarters Tuesday at the Indian Wells Tavern in Amagansett, where party faithful who had gathered to watch the returns were confident that Mr. Wilkinson’s two running mates, Theresa Quigley and Dominick Stanzione, had won Town Board seats.

By the end of the night, the numbers showed their confidence was not unfounded. Ms. Quigley and Mr. Stanzione received 4,057 and 3,590 votes, respectively, while their Democratic opponents, John Whelen and Patti Leber received 2,834 and 2,481.

“I say this is just great for the Town of East Hampton. It’s a great night for a great town,” said Mr. Stanzione.

“I say it’s wonderful. Thank you to the voters for giving confidence to us because we can do it,” said Ms. Quigley.

Ms. Quigley, 54, is an attorney with Farrell Fritz in Bridgehampton who served as town attorney during Supervisor Jay Schneiderman’s administration and Mr. Stanzione, 55, owns the arbitrage firm Colonial Capital Advisors and he played a large role in the creation of the town’s Budget Advisory Committee.

“We’ve got our town back were gonna get the answers we deserve we’re going to untangle the mess that was left behind by the McGintee years and we’re going to have good open government. I’m very happy tonight,” said former East Hampton Town supervisor and Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, who was at the Republican event.

Mr. Wilkinson, 60, a former senior vice president with the Walt Disney Company, quipped, “I’m going to Disney World” when asked what he planned to do on Wednesday.

“I think the turnout is incredible,” he said. “That’s what I’m most thankful for.”

Mr. Wilkinson said that he plans to sit down with State Assemblyman Fred Thiele to work on a plan for more deficit financing.

“Then it’s on to restructuring the town and reducing the operating budget. We have a lot of work to do in a very short amount of time,” he said.

Mr. Zwirn, 57, a deputy Suffolk County executive in charge of intergovernmental relations, called Mr. Wilkinson to concede the supervisor race after the Republican candidate took a 2 to 1 lead in early results. Mr. Zwirn was the supervisor of the Town of North Hempstead during a financial crisis in the early 1990s, and was the only candidate in this fall’s roster who had prior experience in government.

“The voters decided this one. The voters in this town sent the message that they are not happy with the way things are going,” said Mr. Zwirn. “The numbers for Bill Wilkinson were very impressive. I’ll be geared to help East Hampton in any way that I can. We all want what’s best for East Hampton, after the elections we all put politics aside.”

Mr. Wilkinson, who had been the Republicans’ designated candidate since the spring of 2008, lost to former Town Supervisor Bill McGintee by 104 votes in 2007. He was one of the first critics of Mr. McGintee’s fiscal mismanagement, a deepening scandal that unfolded since that election, which culminated in both Mr. McGintee’s resignation last month and the resignation of Mr. McGintee’s budget officer, Ted Hults, in June.

Mr. Whelan, 52, is a project manager with Stelle Architects in Bridgehampton. He is the son of Duane Whelan, who served as the East Hampton town attorney for 25 years and wrote the town’s zoning code.

“I’d be very interested in running again in two years,” he said. “I’ll be very involved, definitely. I’ll be following the town closely.”

Patti Leber, 56, is a real estate agent and the vice president of the Montauk School Board, who was a former stock broker with Merrill Lynch.

“It’s been a learning experience every step of the way,” she said. “I learned something new every day.”

Results for Prudence Carabine, who waged a write-in campaign for Town Board, will not be available until the Board of Elections certifies results.

In other races, incumbent Superintendent Scott King has etched out a 52.8 percent to 47.2 percent victory against Town Engineer Tom Talmage, in a hard fought race that centered around $2.2 million that Mr. King had discovered had been removed from his surplus lines by Mr. McGintee. Though Mr. King told reporters that he was unaware that the surplus was missing until he began to inquire about the money to the Town Comptroller’s office, Mr. Talmage insisted that Mr. King had been remiss in his duties by not informing the public that his surplus was missing sooner. Incumbent Town Justice Catherine Cahill won by a 53.3 percent margin against challenger Richard “Andy” Hammer, an attorney in private practice in Montauk.

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congratulations bill !thanks for the pen.was happy to find it had black ink!!!
By montauk resident (41), montauk on Nov 3, 09 10:58 PM
Yup..must have been those Magic pens Dominick was handing out the other day in the neighborhood!!! Whatever it takes to get people on the right track again!! YahOOOOOO!!
By gansetteer (125), East Hampton on Nov 3, 09 11:14 PM
When does the moving van arrive to take Ben Zwirn back to his home in Nassau County?
By JimmyKBond (156), Hampton Bays on Nov 3, 09 11:20 PM
2 members liked this comment
So sad. East Hampton, back to the future.
By nikola (1), Amagansett on Nov 3, 09 11:50 PM
Congratulations, Bill. Don't let the people down.
By Montaukette (46), Waterland on Nov 4, 09 2:16 AM
Bill you deserve it. And the people of our down deserve a Town board beholden to the people not the other way around. I had not been to confident of the way the election would turn out, but the people of the town suprised me and did the right thing. Thank God!
By Hummer (13), East Hampton on Nov 4, 09 8:19 AM
What a fantastic day for East Hampton. And what a great day for all voters. The Wilkinson team ran a professional, on message, positive campaign even after it was attacked with negative ads and a vicious and just plain stupid, editorial. But to see the number of people at the polls lining up on at dawn to cast their votes, watching parents give an important civics lesson to their kids as they brought them into the polls, neighbors and friends chatting away as they waited on long lines to vote, ...more
By Carole Campolo (46), East Hampton on Nov 4, 09 9:37 AM
1 member liked this comment
Carole, your enthusiasm is admirable, but I'm afraid your perception is a little skewed. If you look back at the voter turnout from the last Supervisor election in 2007, you would see that 42.7% of registered voters showed up at the polls. This year's election had a whopping 43.2% voter turnout. To me, the fact that less than 50% of our town's registered voters showed up at the polls suggests a general feeling of apathy towards the governing of East Hampton. The current party system in our town ...more
By springsgirl (16), East Hampton on Nov 5, 09 8:35 PM
Sorry to see King re-elected. I begged him to fix the potholes in our street for ages; when he refused (telling me "I don't need this crap"), he blamed ME for being a pain in the neck. Just before election time, he sent someone over to slop some tar in the holes. A lazy, sleazy job from someone who obviously thinks he is doing everyone a favor by doing what he was elected to do.
By BFeldman (1), East Hampton on Nov 4, 09 7:49 PM
Great day for Republicans in East Hampton. The Wilkinson team earned it. The results also show DePasquale and Overton got more votes on the Republican line than the Democrat line -- interesting.

And to Nikola -- you're right .... back to a financially responsible government that can preserve land, provide services and do it without breaking any laws. Back to when the Republicans last had the majority.
By eastend09 (43), east hampton on Nov 4, 09 10:44 PM
Trolls be gone!
By Hummer (13), East Hampton on Nov 5, 09 12:38 AM
This hopefully is the end of Slick Willys back room and back side politics.
By Hummer (13), East Hampton on Nov 5, 09 12:43 AM
As for Scott King: Read the comments (on the computer) after E.H. Star article. Parking his truck (with his name on it) in front of his opponent's house after he won! I won't forget that in 2 years & I will make sure everyone else knows it too. I don't want our tax dollars paying for someone who would do such a horrible thing. Shows his whole personality. He is as arrogant and mean as you all know who!
The Zwirn team showed class after their loss. King should take lessons.
By disappointed (96), wainscott on Nov 5, 09 6:16 AM
1 member liked this comment
Why would he need to? He won! Where's his incentive?
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Nov 8, 09 10:15 AM
sure sounds like stingy to me a typical no class all ##@SS.
By asurest (117), easthampton on Nov 5, 09 6:42 PM
scott has always been arrogant and a bully..don't forget scott, you went to school here!! we have heard many rude responses from his office and the bldg dept. time to take an ettiquette lesson .....it won't be tolerated by the new team...they have class, manners and compassion for their townspeople...may we all end up much happier a yr from now!! COEXEIST!!!
By gansetteer (125), East Hampton on Nov 5, 09 11:09 PM

I wish the team luck - and know that this town is going in a new direction and hopefully the waSTE IN TOWN GOVERNMENT
By pride of bonac (42), easthampton on Nov 6, 09 8:10 AM

I know that this town is going in a new direction and hopefully the waste in TOWN GOVERNMENT spending will be addressed to help the majority of the taxpayers and to gain even footing again even if some people do not agree with the necessary cuts in the budget. ---
Good Luck --- Mickey Miller
By pride of bonac (42), easthampton on Nov 6, 09 8:19 AM