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Council hopeful Igor Oberman claims co-op activist sent him cockroaches by mail

Council hopeful Oberman claims co-op activist is postal pest

Brooklyn Daily

What began as a tit-for-tat over ducking debates ended with a disturbing revelation about a special delivery — of cockroaches.

In a war of words with an opponent about refusing invitations to candidate forums, the campaign of Council hopeful Igor Oberman excused his absence from one debate on the basis that one of the organizers had been harassing him.

“He was sending him cockroaches in the mail,” said Chelsea Connor, Oberman’s director of communications.

The disgusting disclosure came during a political slap-fight between Oberman and rival Ari Kagan after Oberman unleashed a torrent of vitriol against Kagan, a fellow Russian, for declining an invitation to debate on Boris Tenzer’s Russian Television Network show, firing off a press release entitled, “Lying Hypocrite Ari Kagan Refuses to Debate Igor Oberman.”

Kagan’s people immediately shot back, calling out Oberman on his own absence from two other recent candidate forums — one sponsored by Brooklyn Family and Housing Services, and another by the Cooperative Community Organization — and demanded an explanation for Oberman’s two previous no-shows.

The Oberman campaign explained his absence from the Brooklyn Family and Housing Services event simply enough.

“He’d never heard of it,” said Connor, “and he was not invited.”

But Oberman could not possibly have attended the forum hosted by the Cooperative Community Organization, Connor said, because he has a restraining order against one of the organizers, Mark Silvermetz.

“There’s a person at the Cooperative Community Organization who Igor has an active order of protection against, who organized the event,” said Connor. “He was sending him cockroaches in the mail.”

Attending that forum would have violated that restraining order, according to Connor, by placing Silvermetz within the off-limits radius around Oberman from which he has been banned by a judge. Conner even claimed that Silvermetz was actually arrested two months ago for entering the forbidden zone that surrounds her candidate.

Silvermetz admitted delivering an envelope of cockroaches to Oberman last year, but said that he was merely offering them as evidence of a pest infestation in the boardroom of Trump Village’s Section 4, where Oberman is president and Silvermertz was formerly a member of the co-op board.

“They would find them during board meetings and the women would shriek, and either me or the attorney would run around and try to kill it,” Silvermetz said. “It disrupted board meetings.”

Regarding the arrest, Silvermetz claimed that later that year, Oberman lured him into a situation where he’d violate the order of protection, in a ploy to get the order extended.

Silvermetz was invited to the co-op office to collect his dividend in shares he owned at Trump Village, and he was surprised to see Oberman there waiting for him. Upon seeing Silvermetz, Oberman alledgedly signaled a cameraman to snap shots of him violating the court order.

“Igor whistled to a guy with a camera, and he sent the pictures to the police,” said Silvermetz.

Silvermetz, who suffers from bone cancer, said that Oberman has made a habit of attacking and smearing people at Trump Village who are critical of him, and that he frequently targets the old and the crippled.

“He goes he against older and disabled people,” he said.

Other residents have also complained of Soviet-style tactics from the Russian-born attorney.

As for the Boris Tenzer invitation that started it all, Kagan eventually agreed to be interviewed for the Russian Television Network show. But he had initially declined because fellow Democratic primary contenders Theresa Scavo and Chaim Deutsch were not invited to participate in the Russian-language forum, according to Kagan’s campaign manager Jake Oliver.

“There are four democrats running,” Oliver said. “You can’t pick and choose who you’re inviting to the debate.”

In making the point that English-speaking candidates could participate in a Russian-language debate, Oliver cited a debate between Councilman Lew Fidler (D–Marine Park) and Russian-speaking Republican candidate David Storobin, which aired on that same network in 2012 when they were running in the special election to replace disgraced state Sen. Carl Kruger, noting that the hosts provided Fidler with a translator.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.

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Reader Feedback

allan feinblum from midwood says:
The candidates do not represent the views of voters living in the 48th CD. Each candidate is flawed and have no real program to meet the needs of the impoverished or unemployed. They will not work effectively in the City council with other Council members who represent Bed Stuy, Brownsville, and east New York. I am running as a write-in candidate because I believe depending of party bosses and donations from real estate interest is not my thing. I will depend on my program to reform the criminal justice system, acquire treatment for the mentally ill rather than being sent to Rikers iSLAND AND THE SOLITARY CONFINEMENT OF 23 OUT OF 24 HOURS IN A CELL WHICH AWAITS THEIR ARRIVAL These candidtates will continue the failed job that Mr. Nelson did for so many years in office.
Sept. 3, 2013, 3:10 pm
sylvia from coney island says:
how can a candidate who claims that he will fight for all, especially the elderly and disabled, be afraid and jail a crippled man? Oberman is a liar and those who will vote for him will experience his brutal tactics. Beware of the true Commie.
Sept. 3, 2013, 6:26 pm
Seva from Coney Island says:
City Council candidate Oberman harasses disabled neighbors!!!
Who will vote for him? Thank you, Mr. Mixon for the useful information.
Sept. 3, 2013, 7:21 pm
Sandy from Trump says:
Shame on the reporter. How can he publish an article without doing a fact check? Mr. Litvak is the organizer of C.C.O. and has nothing to do with a disabled Mr. Silvermetz. Mr. Litvak did invite Mr. Oberman, who declined to come because of a schedule conflict. He was having a carnival, where he promoted himself and only himself. Shame on the writer of this story. Mr. Mixon, get your facts straight before you paint a picture of Mr. Oberman, being afraid for his life, instead of dealing with real issues that face millions of co-op shareholders. Shame
Sept. 3, 2013, 9:14 pm
Julia from Brighton says:
Igor Oberman, a candidate for City Council gets cockroaches...What a lie! He got that mail over 18 months ago when he was not running for any office.
Mr Oberman organized a Carnival at Trump Village on Aug.11th, and did not attend any debates because was busy with spreading out his agenda flyers...
Mark Silvermetz is a handicapped guy who is constantly harassed by healthy ego-centric Oberman. Mark won a case in the Supreme Court against Oberman...
Sept. 3, 2013, 10:23 pm

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