Update, 3:20 p.m.: Queens County Democrats spokesman Mike Reich denied the accusations Monday afternoon, saying Lancman's morning email was an outright fabrication.
"He's shooting from the hip and making up stories. I guess he's afraid, but it seems pretty desperate to make these kind of accusations without any proof whatsoever," Reich said. "Shame on him, because it's an absolute lie."
Reich said he hasn't personally spoken to Gottlieb since last December, and that the latest candidate in the district is not a plant to divide Jewish voters, as Lancman said Monday morning.
"I can assure you of this, I can say it absolutely, the Queens Democratic organization has nothing to do with the candidacy of Mr. Gottlieb," Reich said.
In a primary campaign that definitely had the potential to get ugly, accusations were flying Monday morning as a fourth potential candidate has reportedly lumbered into the race in the Sixth Congressional District.
Jeff Gottlieb, a long-time Queens Democratic operative who works for the office of state Sen. Joe Addabbo, is gathering signatures to enter the race, becoming the fourth potential Democrat. Already in the running are party nominee Assemblywoman Grace Meng, Assemblyman Rory Lancman and City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley.
, who was initially seen as the natural choice for the newly-drawn district, which includes Forest Hills, Flushing, and parts of Bayside and Kew Gardens.
The entrance of Gottlieb raised the hackles of Lancman, who saw Gottlieb’s bid as little more than an effort on behalf of the Queens Democratic Party to split the Jewish vote and ensure Meng is the nominee on Primary Day, June 26.
Lancman’s campaign released an e-mail on Monday morning, calling Gottlieb a plant, and saying the Queens Democratic machine was reacting badly to his decision not to step aside for Meng.
“The County organization is panicked by the strength of my candidacy,” Lancman said, “but cynically fleecing Jewish voters with a sham candidacy by a longtime party hack is particularly appalling. Voters will rightfully see through this charade, and the party insiders responsible for this hatchet job should be ashamed of their attempt to deny the Jewish community a fair and legitimate election.”
Lancman pointed out that Gottlieb had previously been collecting signatures for Meng before suddenly deciding to enter the race himself. A call to Gottlieb has not yet been returned.