Manh. Elections Commish Makes the Daily News
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NYDailyNews.com Blogs October 6, 2011 By Celeste Katz
F-Bombs At The NYC Board Of Elections?
Bronx Republican Elections Commissioner J.C. Polanco is casting a vote for Manhattan Democratic Commissioner Gregory Soumas to step down from the board after what he said has been a series of vitriolic attacks and threats of beatdowns.
In an email to his fellow commissioners obtained by the Daily Politics from an outside source, Polanco wrote that after the board's Sept. 27 meeting:
"As I awaited an elevator to return to work, Secretary Soumas approached me and said, "don't ever f---ing come near me" and went on to say, "I will f--- you up any time any day; let's go outside right now so I can f--- you up" and proceeded to call me a f---ing a----- and I better not write any checks my mouth can't cash."
Polanco also claims Soumas has been verbally abusive to other members of the elections staff and that it's time for him to resign to end what has become "a terrible hostile working environment."
He specifically says in the letter that he declined to go to the authorities about what he said was not only verbal abuse but "threats to kill me." Reached by phone, Polanco confirmed he wrote the email, but declined to discuss its contents or personnel matters at the Board.
Called this afternoon, Soumas appeared taken aback by the allegations and denied them entirely: "I don't want to comment because it simply isn't true. It's bizarre. It never happened. It's absurd. There are no eyewitnesses to this, because it didn't happen." Soumas said all that happened was that he and Polanco had a disagreement during an executive session about a union matter that then spilled over into a political issue about a Bronx Republican employee at the Board of Elections.
Afterward, Soumas said he and Polanco met at the elevator, and he asked Polanco to "get the f--- away from me." That, he said, ended the matter as far as he was concerned. "It's certainly crazy. How do you respond to something like this? It's purely political -- and there's a history among the Bronx Republicans of doing things like this," he said.
Polanco responds, "I am appalled at Commissioner Soumas' remarks, especially those referring to the Bronx Republicans. I want to thank the members of the Citizens Union and our legal staff that followed up with me after witnessing the incident to make sure I was ok. It's a shame that the hardworking men and women of the Manhattan Democratic Party and [county] Chairman Keith Wright have this bully as their commissioner."
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