Volunteer campaign worker accused of racism

October 18, 2011 3:07:45 PM PDT
A volunteer campaign worker is accused of racism against an opposing campaign for the Nassau County Legislature.

It begins with a volunteer for Nassau County Legislator John Ciotti, posting campaign signs, where they are not allowed at the campaign headquarters of Ciotti's opponent, Carrie Solages.

It was all captured on camera by Solages sister, Mickey.

"You know this is private property, do you have permission sir?" Mickey asked.

"Yes, I do," the volunteer said.

"From whom?" Mickey asked.

"From the owner of the building," the volunteer said.

"Really, who's the owner of the building?" Mickey asked.

"Don't worry about it," the volunteer said.

But the volunteer, 38-year-old Vinnie Prisco, of Valley Stream, would soon give both candidates plenty to worry about.

First, making racist comments to an African American woman on the street who criticized what he and a friend, were doing.

"That's despicable, despicable, absolutely despicable and disrespectful," the woman said.

"Call animal control so we can arrest them," Prisco said.

Call animal control so we can arrest them, he says, then he taunts the Solages camp and dares them to take the signs down.

"You're so tough, why don't you rip 'em down now?" Prisco said.

"They sat here and said those words to me, they were purposely intimidating me," Mickey said.

But it gets worse with name-calling.

He calls her a pig, even flips her the finger and then he says:

"Don't worry, we will put them on the back of the bus, where they belong," Prisco said.

Is it a headache for John Ciotti? You bet.

"It sickened me, it's an embarrassment to myself, to my campaign workers and to the constituents of Nassau County," Nassau County Legislator John Ciotti said.

He says Prisco has now been let go.

Meanwhile, county democrats point out that this is not the first time Ciotti's camp has tormented an opponent.

Video of his opponent from two years ago shows hecklers and Prisco allegedly there as the candidate tried to talk.

Ciotti says he is not aware of any bad behavior in the past.

Meanwhile, Vinnie Prisco was not at his home Tuesday, but his neighbors told Eyewitness News they've talked to him since this latest video emerged.

"That if he could take it all back, he would and that he's very sorry. He said, 'I don't even know what came over me,' he said," said Estelle Quarta, Prisco's neighbor.