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Ball Threatens Assemblyman Katz With Legal Action

State Senator Greg Ball is threatening to sue Assemblyman Steve Katz if he continues to say Ball is under investigation for misusing campaign funds.
State Senator Greg Ball is threatening to sue Assemblyman Steve Katz if he continues to say Ball is under investigation for misusing campaign funds. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Mike Lubchenko
Assemblyman Steve Katz
Assemblyman Steve Katz Photo Credit: File photo

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- The war of words between State Senator Greg Ball and Assemblyman Steve Katz is continuing.

Ball, through his lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, sent Katz a letter threatening him with a lawsuit if he continues to imply Ball is under investigation for misusing campaign funds.

On Thursday, while announcing his re-election bid for the 94th district, Katz, according to News 12, said Ball was under investigation by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for abusing campaign funds, per a follow-up to an investigation by the Moreland Commission.

Ball has denied the allegations. On Friday, Ball announced he would not seek re-election and would return to the private sector.

In the letter, Tacopina lashed out at Katz, calling his comments "scurrilous."

"If you again make any such defamatory comments against Senator Ball, you will be answering for them in a courtroom," Tacopina wrote. "This is a legal battle in which you do not want to engage, as it will make the ordeal of your marijuana arrest pale in comparison."

Katz was arrested last year and charged with marijuana possession. The charges were dropped in exchange for him performing 20 hours of community service.

The assemblyman has become an advocate for marijuana since his arrest and is hoping to get medical marijuana legalized in New York. Ball opposes medical marijuana.

The letter refers to Katz's conduct as intentionally malicious and that punitive and compensatory damages would be sought if he spoke out again.

"Sen. Ball has faithfully dedicated himself to the well-being of his constituency for many years, and we will not permit you to smear his good name with impunity," Tacopina wrote.

Tacopina has previously represented Alex Rodriguez, Lilo Bracanto and Michael Jackson, among other high-profile clients.

Ball and Katz were previously allies, but in 2012 Katz announced he would primary Ball for his senate seat. Katz later declined to run.

Katz said that his statement was public knowledge and had been reported in the press.

"If Senator Ball is angry about this story, he and Mr. Tacopina should direct their letters to the New York Post, City and State, Daily News, et al and not to me," Katz said.

Ball represents District 40, which includes Cortlandt, Peekskill, Mount Kisco, New Castle, Lewisboro, Pound  Ridge, North Salem, Somers and Yorktown in Westchester as well as three towns in Putnam County.