Ex-candidate's attempt to unseat council winner runs into stumbling blocks

Judge refuses to bar Long Reach results

May 09, 1999|By Alice Lukens | Alice Lukens,STAFF WRITER

The losing candidate in last month's race for the Long Reach village seat on the Columbia Council has hit several hurdles in her efforts to unseat the winner.

On Thursday, Howard County Circuit Judge Raymond J. Kane Jr. thwarted Deborah Tolson's attempt to remove incumbent Cecilia Januszkiewicz from the Columbia Council. He denied her an ex parte injunction -- or refused to remove Januszkiewicz without hearing the defendant's side of the story -- because of "insufficient evidence."

Tolson had also requested a preliminary and permanent injunction, but Thomas M. Meachum, lawyer for the Long Reach Community Association, said Friday that she made errors that rendered her complaint invalid.

He said she improperly hand-delivered a writ of summons to the co-defendants, the Columbia Association and the Community Association. Maryland law does not allow the complainant to serve a summons.

Meachum also said Tolson delivered one summons to the wrong person, handing it to Long Reach Village Manager Sarah B. Uphouse, who was not designated to receive legal documents.

"There's really nothing for us to do until she properly serves us," Meachum said, adding that her mistakes are "correctable" if she refiles the complaint.

Meanwhile, he said, Januszkiewicz will continue to sit on the council.

Tolson, who is representing herself, could not be reached for comment.

She lost the April 17 election by 13 votes and has requested a recount. She believes that some voters were wrongfully turned away from the polls. Tolson filed her request for injunction Wednesday.

John Snyder, chairman of the Long Reach election committee, has said the panel stands by the election results but is investigating Tolson's allegations.

"Our responsibility in this investigation is to our neighbors in Long Reach, and we are proceeding deliberately on our course," he said.

Pub Date: 5/09/99

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