Campers' parents file suit against town over election letter

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HEMPSTEAD -

Angry parents filed a class-action lawsuit against the Town of Hempstead, claiming the the privacy of their special needs children was violated after political letters were mailed to several families.

The parents say the Town of Hempstead runs the nonprofit Camp Anchor program that their special needs children attend. They say a town official recently sent a letter to campers' families, urging them to re-elect Town Supervisor Anthony Santino on Election Day.

The letter was signed by Hempstead Town Attorney William Muller and his wife, Diana. It said their son, Richard, attends Camp Anchor and that activities there were "only made possible" because of Santino.

The families and their lawyer say information about their special needs kids is supposed to be private, and that their identities and medical information are protected under state and federal law. But somehow, the parents say, Muller was able to obtain the private information to further Santino's candidacy for re-election.

“To use other special needs children's information for politics is really hurtful,” said Milagros Vicente, of Valley Stream.

The lawsuit, filed online Sunday, will be physically delivered Monday to the Town of Hempstead, Santino and Muller.

In a statement, the town said, ”Mr. Muller acquired such a list, in his capacity as a private individual, in response to a properly executed Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request."

But the attorney for the families says the information does not fall under the FOIL Act.

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