Candidate for county Legislature says he was threatened by a fellow Republican days after announcing primary bid

On March 14, Mattituck businessman Greg Williams announced he would run as a Republican for the Suffolk County Legislature. Three days later, at 8:42 a.m., Mr. Williams received a text message from William Mann, an employee of the Suffolk County Board of Elections.

While largely incomprehensible, the text contained what Mr. Williams saw as a direct threat. He provided the text to The Suffolk Times. It read: “We need to talk you [expletive] on me as a problem and there’s a problem I’m going to challenge every [expletive] petition signature you get I didn’t want to do this on a text I’m coming to you we’re going to have this face-to face and don’t worry your pistols not big enough you and me at work through too much [expletive] together for you to do this.”

The “this” Mr. Mann is referring to is Mr. Williams’s announcement that he would run a primary against the GOP’s anointed candidate for the Legislature, Catherine Stark.

“They didn’t screen me for the position,” Mr. Williams said in an interview, referring to the Republican committee. “They didn’t want me to run. But I believe I have every right to run. This is what democracy is.”

Mr. Williams served on the Southold Town Board of Trustees and ran unsuccessfully for the Town Board in 2021. He is the owner of Country Time Cycle in Mattituck.

The seat on the Legislature will be open in the fall election, after its current holder, Legis. Al Krupski (D-Peconic) opted not to seek reelection and to run for Southold Town supervisor. The county Democratic committee nominated former Riverhead Town councilwoman Catherine Kent for the soon to be vacant Legislature seat.

Mr. Williams said he reported Mann’s text message to the Southold Town Police Department. A copy of the police report shows that an officer interviewed Mr. Williams. The officer also made multiple attempts to reach Mr. Mann at his Skunk Lane home in Cutchogue, to no avail.

The police report states: “Numerous attempts were made to locate Mr. Mann that were unsuccessful. Today (March 20) undersigned received a call from an attorney Richard Stafford who stated that Mann had retained him in case of any legal matter. Undersigned advised Stafford that Mann is to refrain from any and all contact either himself or a third party. Stafford would advise Mann of same.”

Mr. Mann, a Republican, is listed as a “general employee” of the Suffolk County Board of Elections, making $115,000 a year. Exactly what he does there is not spelled out in state online records. In December 2018, he was arrested and charged with forging signatures on nominating petitions in what the district attorney’s office said was a “brazen scheme” ahead of the 2018 election.

Mr. Mann faced a top charge of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, a felony, the DA announced. Mr. Mann was accused of misrepresenting himself to Green Party voters in July 2018 while collecting petitions for countywide judge positions.

The Suffolk Times reported in October 2019 that the charges against Mr. Mann were dropped to disorderly conduct by a Suffolk District Court judge.

Reached Monday at the BOE office in Yaphank, Mr. Mann said “no comment” and hung up when asked about his text message to Mr. Williams. Mr. Stafford did not return a reporter’s calls for comment.

In an email Monday, Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley said the matter was also referred to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office. “Neither us or the DA’s office felt it was a chargeable offense,” he said.

For his part, Mr. Williams said the text frightened him and his family, in particular the reference to “pistols.” He said he will continue his campaign for the Legislature.