T. MILTON STREET SR. stays on the ballot.
That's what Common Pleas Judge Chris Wogan ruled yesterday after concluding that the lawyer who filed a challenge to Street's candidacy for mayor of Philadelphia had failed to meet his "huge burden."
Attorney Kevin Greenberg, who represented Joseph Coccio Jr., secretary-treasurer of the Transit Workers Local 234, said he would discuss with his client the possibility of appealing Wogan's decision to Commonwealth Court. An appeal must be filed within 10 days of yesterday's ruling, Wogan said.
Greenberg argued that Street should be tossed from the May 19 Democratic primary ballot because he lives in Moorestown, N.J., with his common-law wife. The law, he said, holds that a candidate lives where his spouse lives.
Street, who represented himself, vehemently denied ever spending a single night at the woman's home during the past three years and insisted that he has lived in a rental property, on Firth Street near 23rd, in North Philadelphia, since 2011.
A candidate must live in the city for three years to be eligible to seek office.
Even though on Friday while testifying, Street said the woman in question was his common-law wife, he changed his tune yesterday and said that she was not.
Wogan sided with Street anyway, noting that New Jersey stopped recognizing common-law marriage in 1939 and Pennsylvania stopped recognizing such unions on Jan. 1, 2005.
"I'm just happy. Now I can get back to campaigning and address the issues I'm campaigning on," Street said after emerging from the Delaware Avenue courtroom surrounded by supporters and reporters.
Although the challenge was filed by Greenberg on behalf of Coccio, Street said rival mayoral candidate state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams is actually behind the challenge. Williams' motive, said Street: racial politics.
"If I'm off [the ballot], he'll be the only black candidate with notoriety, with name recognition," he said. "[Doug] Oliver doesn't have name recognition. So, he wants me off the ballot."
Coccio's union has endorsed Williams.
When told of Street's comments, Barbara Grant, Williams' campaign spokeswoman, said, "What we're focused on is running the best possible campaign and getting the senator's views out so people get to know him and help him become the next mayor of the city."
Greenberg denied he was working for Williams and said the judge's rulings yesterday and Friday are grounds for an appeal.
"I believe the judge believes he's correct, I just think he's wrong," Greenberg said.
On Friday, Wogan ruled that Street could remain on the ballot despite having signed an affidavit on the March 10 filing deadline claiming to be a Democrat when he was registered as an independent.
In other campaign news, 8th District City Council candidate Greg Paulmier withdrew from the race yesterday after being challenged by Tyrone Barge.
That leaves incumbent Councilwoman Cindy Bass unopposed in the race for the northwest district that includes Chestnut Hill, Mount Airy, Germantown and Nicetown.