David McKay Wilson | Rockland/WestchesterJournal News | Feb. 20, 2024

As the first case filed under the New York Voting Rights Law, a legal challenge to Mount Pleasant’s at-large voting system carries with it great hopes for the town’s growing Hispanic community.

It also brings with it the possibility of huge liabilities for Mount Pleasant taxpayers, following the Town Board’s decision to hire a former Republican National Committee chief counsel at $1,375 an hour to defend the status quo in one of the GOP’s remaining bastions in Westchester County.

The rate charged by attorney Mark Braden is at least four times what private attorneys on retainer typically charge Hudson Valley municipalities. Braden’s associate at BakerHostetler will receive $875 an hour, according to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Law.

The town hired Braden, a Republican legal superstar with the chops to go the distance, in a proceeding that raises federal constitutional issues and could reach the U.S. Supreme Court….

The Mount Pleasant case, which was brought by six Hispanic voters in Sleepy Hollow, alleges that the town needs to adopt a district-based or ranked-voting system so that the town’s Hispanic voters have an opportunity to elect one of their favored candidates….

If the Sleepy Hollow plaintiffs prevail, the town will pay the legal fees of Braden’s legal team as well as the costs incurred their attorneys from Abrams Fensterman in White Plains: [Robert] Spolzino and Westchester County Legislator David Imamura, D-Irvington.