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Ms. Noramie Jasmin served as Mayor of Spring Valley, New York, from December 2009 to April 2013. On August 7, 2015, she was convicted of Federal extortion and fraud offenses and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of four years. The charge involved her misusing her position as Mayor to enrich herself. Fresh out of Federal confinement, Ms. Jasmin is embarking on an inspiring comeback (who does not love comeback stories?) to reclaim the position of Mayor of Spring Valley. One of her opponents in the upcoming Democratic Primary, Mr. Vilair Fonvil, tried to have her disqualified from the race, going to Court to stand for the proposition that those with Federal felony convictions are disqualified from running for Mayor. What follows is the story of scrappy perseverance, the story of why Ms. Jasmin remains on the ballot, and how Mr. Fonvil was disqualified.

Clip of SDNY press release announcing 2015 sentence for Noramie Jasmin for her conviction for extortion and fraud charges
Clip of 2015 SDNY press release announcing Noramie Jasmin’s sentence – there can be no comeback unless there is something to come back from

The New York Post Report on Mayoral Campaign Lawsuits in Spring Valley, NY

The New York Post covered the story of the litigation in the Democrat mayoral primary in Spring Valley, New York, in an April 14, 2021 article. Below, I retell the story, with certain commentary added in order to key readers in on what a beautiful comeback story this is.

Mr. Fonvil went to court to have Ms. Jasmin disqualified from the ballot. His reason for denying the people of Spring Valley the chance to return their fallen-champion to glory? According to his arguments, people with Federal felony convictions are disqualified from seeking office in New York. Without that conviction, what would Ms. Jasmin have to come back from? Someone hates inspiring stories.

Ms. Jasmin was not content to fade from the race. She counter-sued Mr. Fonvil. Her rationale? Mr. Fonvil had been convicted of New York State felonies, so she said that he was ineligible to run. Take that!

These two just cannot spend enough time in court.

A Pair of Decisive Legal Victories for Noramie Jasmin

Both cases went to Court. Comeback fans will be excited to read that the litigation resulted in dual decisive victories for Ms. Jasmin.

New York State Supreme Court Justice Paul Marx concluded, based on New York law, that Mr. Fonvil “is clearly and unequivocally ineligible” to run for Mayor of Spring Valley. The reason, according to Justice Marx, as reported by the New York Post, is that the pertinent statute expressly applies to persons with State felony convictions. What then of Ms. Jasmin? Justice Marx found that the statute did not apply to her, because “nowhere within the statute are federal crimes mentioned.”

You go girl! The comeback continues. Thus always to people who stand athwart beautiful comebacks.

Noramie Jasmin’s Attorney Weighs In

Ms. Jasmin and her legal team are not the types to gloat over a spectacular legal victory. They handle success with the exactly the level of grace and magnanimity that one who has read this far might expect.

Ms. Jasmin’s attorney, Mr. Ali Najmi, said of Mr. Fonvil:

Mr. Fonvil should learn not to throw stones from a glass house.

Ali Najmi

Right on! No, seriously. There is nothing inaccurate about that. Mr. Fonvil should have considered his own circumstances before moving to disqualify Ms. Jasmin. That is not a moral argument, but rather an argument in favor of his self-interest. In other words, an argument in a language that both he and Ms. Jasmin understand well. Did no one make this case to him? What about Ms. Jasmin’s track record in public life suggested that she would do anything other than bury the political opponent trying to disqualify her? Mind-blowing stuff.

Mr. Najmi continued:

This case illustrates the current state of the Public Officers Law and the difference between a federal conviction and state conviction on one’s eligibility for public office.

Ali Najmi

A powerful State supremacy statutory structure. Only our felony convictions disqualify you, not those icky feds.

(For the record, I take no position on the merits because I have not read anything about the case or the dispute other than the New York Post article.)

Coming Back to Comebacks

Ms. Jasmin’s quest for redemption through the endorsement of her constituents at the upcoming primary continues. Ms. Fonvil succeeded in becoming a laughing stock. To be sure, Ms. Jasmin’s political liabilities are a bit more severe than having a terrible campaign website. I know not whether her comeback attempt in a Mayoral election will be more successful than Mr. Anthony “Carlos Danger” Weiner’s in 2013 – he is now being heckled in Bryant Park instead of completing a second term presiding over the largest City in the United States. To be sure, Mr. Danger’s indiscretions were a bit more morally icky than Ms. Jasmin’s, despite his shorter term of confinement, and I compare them only in the sense that these indiscretions are behind their respective comeback attempts.

Comebacks and Cinderella stories often come up short. Mr. Danger’s failure was the norm, not the exception. Marion Berry was the exception, not the norm.

But regardless of whether Ms. Jasmin ultimately regains the Spring Valley Mayor’s Office next year, no one can take her spectacular legal victories away from her. Hers is the story of a woman who ran for Mayor after serving time in prison for her conduct as Mayor, and she managed to get an opponent whose attempt to to disqualify her from the ballot disqualified himself.

That, my readers, is a beautiful story.

New York politics at its finest.