Campaign controversy heats up in Nassau Co.

October 19, 2011 2:14:41 PM PDT
A campaign controversy in a small, legislative election on Long Island is turning into a federal case.

Campaign workers for one candidate for the Nassau County Legislature were caught on tape using racial slurs against workers for an opposing candidate.

"This is not a shallow matter, this is serious," said the Civil Rights lawyer.

With a civil rights lawyer now on their side, campaign workers for democratic candidate Carrie Solages tell reporters what happens in a shocking video proves the federal government now needs to oversee the Nassau County Election.

In the video, campaign volunteer, Vinnie Prisco, who works for the 8-term incumbent, John Ciotti, taunts the Solages campaign when they demand he remove Ciotti's signs from their headquarters.

Prisco was not allowed to put them up there.

But instead of cooperating, Prisco flips them the finger, as Solages' sister, Mickey, is rolling her camera.

Then, the insults got even worse.

"She's a pig," Prisco said in the video.

First there was name calling and then there was racism.

"We'll put them on the back of the bus, where they belong," Prisco said in the video.

"The reality is, this man got caught with his pants down, but he didn't care," the lawyer said.

Wednesday, John Ciotti continued to do damage control, by showing up at their news conference.

"No, ask him to step outside because he is not welcome here at this time," the lawyer said.

"I was here to apologize for the actions of a campaign volunteer that should've never happened, that were despicable and deplorable," Ciotti said.

Actions, his opponents insist are systemic in Nassau County.

In fact, in a video taken two years ago, the same crowd of Ciotti hecklers shouts down his former opponent.

"He told my sister, who was 21 years old at the time that he was going to bury her," said Nina Petraro-Bastardi, a former Ciotti opponent.

Just as Ciotti's opponent now says he and his family are even more fearful.

"I feel in fear for my life and the life of my baby sister," said Carrie Solages, (D) candidate for Nassau County Legislator.