Sunday, June 23, 2024

NYC Dem. Faces Ethics Complaint for Bigoted Comments about Italians

'I didn’t create the woke-everyone-is-offended atmosphere... '

(Robert Jonathan, Headline USA) A leftist member of the New York City Council is facing an ethics complaint following an offensive remark he made at a budget hearing.

During a discussion about parks department funding, first-term Democrat Councilman Chi Ossé threw some shade, as it were, on Dragonetti Brothers Landscaping, insofar as whether the firm should receive further city contracts.

“I just want to say on Dragonetti. That name alone should have been the first red flag in terms of contracting with the city,” Ossé, who perhaps ironically chairs the council’s cultural affairs committee, said.

In 2022, the Brooklyn-based contractor pleaded guilty to insurance fraud and currently has 10 contracts with the city covering the five boroughs “for tree pruning, stump removal, planting and other services,” the New York Post reported.

Dragonetti has been doing business with the city since 1998.

The Democrat’s remarks prompted a formal complaint with the council’s ethics committee filed by Minority Leader Joseph Borelli, a Staten Island Republican, on behalf of the bipartisan Italian-American caucus, which has seven members in the overwhelmingly Democrat, 51-member city council.

“The members of the Italian Caucus categorically condemn the comments Council Member Chi Ossé made on the record during a budget hearing this week, in which he suggested that an Italian surname that branded a company should have led to its disqualification from ever getting a contract with the City of New York,” the group explained in a statement.

The statement added that “The Council Member’s feeble defense of his defamatory statement – that it was made in reference to a reputation that the company gained long after it had received city contracts – does not stand up to reason,” the statement added.

The caucus also insisted that no excuse exists for any council member “to make remarks that disparage an entire ethnic group and advance hurtful stereotypes.”

Elected in 2022, Ossé, who is reportedly from a wealthy, privileged background, represents a Brooklyn-area district.

According to the Brooklyn news outlet BK Reader, the “life-long Democrat, said his political role models include Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. He identifies with the progressive wing of the party and agrees with elements of the Democratic Socialists of America’s platform.”

Ossé, 25, told the New York Daily News that his commentary “had nothing to do with Italians” and “everything to do with the fact that the company has already been tarnished.”

He similarly told the Post that “The assertion that the business’s ethnic heritage, rather than criminal history and propensity for fraud, was the issue is an intentional lie and its propagation is dangerous.”

Councilman Borelli implied that the formal complaint is a means to hold Democrats to their own standards.

“I didn’t create the woke-everyone-is-offended atmosphere. But if people like Councilman Ossé demand we follow those rules, then he has to follow those rules too.”

According to what insiders told the Daily News, City Council leaders have privately told Ossé to tone down his rhetoric which apparently includes offensive tweets.

Two local Italian-American organizations have filed complaints with City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and called for Ossé to be removed from committee assignments at the least.

Ossé was one of the first officials to call for GOP Councilwoman Vickie Paladino to be booted from a committee after she spoke out against a city-funded program related to gender ideology.

“That the Council Member harbors such bigoted views is bad enough; that he feels free to openly express them in Council chambers is totally unacceptable,” Paladino asserted.

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