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City Council hopeful George Smith hasn’t even begun the policial career he’s vying for and he’s already been slapped with sexual harassment charges.
But that’s not going to stop him from running for the surprisingly contested Republican line in Park Slope’s 39th Council District.
“We’re still going full steam ahead,” said Smith a day after the New York Post reported that he had been arrested in Long Island late last year on misdemeanor sex abuse, harassment, forcible touching and sexual misconduct charges.
If convicted, he could receive up to a year in jail, officials from the Nassau County District Attorney’s office said.
While officials would not say who Smith allegedly attacked, the candidate said that the charges -- which he claim are bogus -- were filed by his estranged wife.
“We’re coming out with the truth,” he said, alleging that the charges stem from an incident involving his wife and her new boyfriend, who he claims is a registered sex offender.
“All this was over protecting my four-year-old daughter,” he said. “[My wife’s boyfriend] had given her a bath so I called the police on him. But the police came and arrested me because my wife had made these phony allegations against me.”
News of his arrest surfaced after a rumor spread that Smith had provided the restraining order his wife had filed against him as proof that he lived in the Borough Park end of the district when opponents tried to kick him off the ballot three weeks ago.
Smith disputed that rumor, claiming that he had provided his divorce papers, not a restraining order.
“I don’t care about what garbage comes out, I feel I did what’s right,” he said, referring to the complaints he filed about his wife’s boyfriend.
The validity of his claims could not be confirmed as this paper went to press. Smith did provide the name of the alleged boyfriend, who was listed in the New York State Registered Sex Offender Database in Nassau County.
The offender, who is not being named by this paper, was convicted of sex abuse in the first degree back in 1996 for having sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl, according to the registry.
But no matter what Smith alleges, the criminal charges against him are valid. Nassau County prosecutors confirmed that he will be answering them in court on September 8 -- exactly one week before registered Republicans in the 39th District go to the polls to choose between him and candidate Joe Nardiello.
So goes one of the zaniest Republican races in Brooklyn, which is already a rare find. It’s even rarer in the 39th Council District, where Democrats outnumber Republicans by a wide margin and neither candidate has a chance of actually replacing Bill de Blasio in the City Council.
While word of his arrest was put out to smear him, Smith said that the New York Post story actually did the opposite.
“I got 150 calls from people after the story ran,” he said. “They all said, ‘George, we know it’s not true and I support you.’ They donated $3 to $4,000 to my campaign.”
Nardiello said that he was “taken aback” upon hearing about Smith’s arrest history, which also includes a stint in a jail cell for both robbery and impersonating a police officer in the late 1990s. (Smith did not comment on this arrest but told the Post, “You make a mistake...everybody deserves a second chance.”)
“I was outraged that someone can run as a candidate with this on his record,” he said. “He has a lot to answer for.”
Nardiello said that he was also surprised that Smith was once again playing the injured party.
“That’s low,” he said. “To blame the victim and claim victimization is beynd my confrontation.”
“I guess on September 15 voters will have to choose between a candidate they can believe in or a candidate in which you don’t know what to believe,” he said.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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