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Grudge match for Castro seat

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GRUDGE MATCH

That race to fill the west Bronx seat of disgraced, wired informant, ex-Assemblyman Nelson (Speak up, please) Castro could be a real grudge match between one of the stronger candidates and Dem Party Boss Carl (The Silent) Heastie – and a potential major embarassment for him.

After Heastie, Boro Prez Ruben Diaz Jr. and the rest of the Rainbow Revolution crew toppled then-County Leader Jose Rivera for making the party all-Puerto Rican, all the time, Heastie backed local district leader Hector Ramirez to go after Castro, who was still backed by Jose.

Much to Heastie’s embarassment, Castro not only clobbered Hector, but Castro’s running mate took out Hector as male district leader.

Now Hector is in it to win it over Heastie’s candidate, Victor Pichardo, on leave as a staffer for Senator Gustavo Rivera.

Pichardo also has the backing of local Councilman Fernando Caberera, though it may not do much to help settle a political grudge Gustavo has with Cabrera for supposedly backing a Gustavo challenger in the last election.

So far, we really haven’t seen or heard much about Pichardo, not a good sign.

And it’s personal, since Hector blames Carl for being behind the city Board of Elections refusing to give him a leave of absence to run, then firing him for supposedly doing political work on board time - which Hector denies, saying they produced absolutely no evidence. We hear he and Carl got into a real shouting match over it, with Carl denying he had a hand in it.

Of course Carl has not been happy with Hector for writing to Gov. Cuomo, asking him to wait for the regular primary instead of calling a special election to fill Castro’s seat, thus denying the party boss from naming his own anointed candidate to fill the seat.

Also in the race, longtime female district leader Yudelka Tapia, who is appealing a court ruling that she owes the city Campaign Finance Board more than $100,000 in penalties and reimbursement payments from an unsuccessful 2009 Council campaign – which has nothing to do with the assembly race; Haile Rivera, and Castro-backed Kenny Nunez, who filed a weak 900 petition signatures, with a 500-minimum required.

With the race likely to come down to a three-way among Ramirez, Pichardo and Tapia, Hector says he’s got the money, the supporters and a long history with the people in the district to win – and wipe Carl’s face in it.

As for Heastie, “Carl’s not taking this race lightly,” said one county insider of Heastie’s support for Pichardo. “From the beginning, he’s been hands-on.”

MIND READER?

Just shortly after we wrote in our July 19 column about the Bronx Republican commissioner’s seat at the city Board of Elections STILL not filled, boom! The four-member Republican City Council membership holding sway at the BOE went and okayed Mike Rendino for the job on Wednesday, July 24, shortly before Mike’s wife delivered their first child, a son. Mike was new Bronx GOP chair John Greaney’s pick for the job, but the appointment had been sitting since January, with former Bronx GOP rep and BOE president J.C. Polanco also trying for a re-run at the board.

LOST IN THE SYSTEM

We tried in vain to locate the whereabouts of Pedro Espada in the U.S. Bureau of Prisons inmate locator on its website. The U.S. Marshals Service finally found him for us. Seems the BOP had him spelled Perdo Espada.

And the disgraced 59-year-old former state senator, now known as inmate 78764-053, is cooling his heels at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn before shipment to a long-term facility for looting his now defunct Soundview Healthcare clinic. Release date set for 10/19/2017.

COP CORNER

•BIG congrats to former Bronx C.O. Tom Purtell, moved up the ladder from running Manhattan South to taking over the NYPD’s Organized Crime Control Bureau, which oversees narcotics, vice, gang and other investigative units, giving “Tommy Two-Stars” a third star on those full-back shoulders.

Nice work. To Detectives Barry Sullivan and Chris Skulsky over at Bronx Homicide for closing the 2006 case of a 65-year-old woman smothered to death in her Bathgate home by invaders looking for her life savings. Armed with a recent DNA match, they not only nailed the main bad guy, but tracked down his two accomplices.

Up the ladder. Congrats to 49th Precinct C.O. Lorenzo “Andy” Johnson, upped to deputy inspector. Also to Carl Root at the 4-8 squad in E. Tremont, making the money as sergeant supervisor detective squad. Sean O’Leary of Bronx Homicide and Chris Boerke of Riverdale’s 5-0 squad upped to detectives second grade.

CONGRATS

•To longtime NY Times reporter and Bronx chronicler David Gonzalez, named to the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Hall of Fame.

•To Jim Palmer, new editor of the Riverdale Press, replacing longtime editress Kate Pastor.

BRONX BIRTHDAYS

July 26 - Cliff Stanton, City Council candidate from Riverdale.

July 29 - Soundview Assemblyman Marcos Crespo.

Aug. 6 - Longtime Community Board 6 district manager Ivine Galarza.

Aug. 6 - Anthony Ribustello, Republican co-deputy at Bronx Board of Elections.

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