CONSERVATIVES GET COURT'S OK TO MEET TONIGHT - The Buffalo News

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CONSERVATIVES GET COURT'S OK TO MEET TONIGHT

A judge early this afternoon refused to block tonight's reorganizational meeting of the strife-torn Erie County Conservative Party.

State Supreme Court Justice Vincent E. Doyle ruled that former party Chairman Fred F. Vidal has no valid legal grounds for asking the courts to halt the meeting at which his successor is to be selected.

During a noontime hearing, Joseph A. Matteliano and Gregory L. Davis, attorneys for the party, told the judge that Vidal was legally ousted at a July 19 party session.

The party attorneys also filed with the court a certificate of election that was turned over to the Erie County Board of Elections by the party following the July 19 vote.

Joseph F. Kelly, interim party chief, said the meeting he has called for 7:30 tonight in the Blarney Castle, 1856 South Park Ave., will go on as scheduled.

Vidal and his attorney, Ronald P. Bennett declined to comment after today's court session.

Doyle said he will rule by Friday on the party's bid to legally block Vidal from access to party bank accounts.

Following a closed-door meeting in his chambers Monday, Doyle rejected Vidal's bid for a restraining order blocking tonight's vote, but he agreed to hear arguments in court today.

Vidal, who planned to step down as party chairman this month, still considers illegal his July 19 ouster by a rival party faction.

Davis and Matteliano noted that the certificate of election that verified Kelly's election as interim party chairman was signed by Robert C. Simmons, the party's executive vice chairman and the candidate Vidal is backing in the reorganization vote.

The Erie County district attorney's office is investigating efforts to sabotage Kelly's election activities through a phony change-of-address form that was mailed under Kelly's forged signature and sent to the elections board in June. The elections board sought the criminal probe.

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