LACKAWANNA, N.Y. (WIVB) – Lackawanna City Council member Mohamed Albanna was elected in November- but a State Supreme Court justice ruled Wednesday that he is ineligible to take the seat.
Albanna won the First Ward seat on the city’s council, but Lackawanna mayor Geoffrey Szymanski has been arguing since that Albanna is not eligible for the seat due to a prior felony conviction.
Albanna was convicted 11 years ago in federal court to a five-year prison term for operating an unlicensed money transfer business. According to the city charter, a person convicted of a crime is not eligible to assume or continue in “any city office, position, or employment”.
The judge said that’s what informed her Wednesday decision, ruling Albanna ineligible to take office at the start of the year.
Albanna will appeal the decision. If the appeal is expedited and granted, he would be able to take office. If denied, the city council will have to appoint a new member to take his spot. That person would need to be registered to the same party as Albanna- the Democratic party- and from the First Ward.