Community Board 9 votes to keep member after accusations of anti-Semitic remarks

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Sam Esposito was up for removal from Community Board 9, but saved after a 34 to 10 vote to keep him.THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes
Sam Esposito was up for removal from Community Board 9, but saved after a 34 to 10 vote to keep him.

LIAM LA GUERRE AND MAGGIE HAYES

Controversial Community Board 9 member Sam Esposito is here to stay, which sent several other members walking out the door.

A vote to remove Esposito from the board was shot down at the November meeting, 34 to 10.

Rumors of infighting circled the board for months, beginning in June with the potential removal of District Manager Mary Ann Carey.

“I would like the board not to be as divided as it is, and concentrate on the issues,” Carey told The Courier prior to the vote.

But at the November 12 meeting, the main point of issue was Esposito.

Multiple board members alleged Esposito made anti-Semitic remarks following a lunch meeting, in which said members felt their food was not “glatt kosher,” a higher standard than average.

Esposito shot back at Wallace Bock, Jan Fenster and Evelyn Baron. Bock responded, and wrote a letter to have Esposito, who has been on the board for decades, removed.

However, Esposito claims he was being targeted for his longtime support of Carey.

“I am in no way prejudiced against anybody,” he said. “All they are trying to do is get back at me for sticking up for Mary Ann Carey. This has nothing to do with the board.”

At November’s meeting, as the vote for removal approached, Esposito and Chair James Coccovillo screamed back and forth across the room.

“This is personal, Jim. This is about Mary Ann,” Esposito said, standing from his seat.

Coccovillo said he was adhering to “a demand” for Esposito’s termination.

“Do you want to sit down? There’s a little sign of aggression when you stand up,” he said. “There’s no reason for yelling out.”

After the votes were counted and Esposito was off the chopping block, he turned to his neighbors and said, “of course we won.”

Wallace Bock then stood up and addressed Coccovillo.

“I cannot in good conscious consider to sit on a board that condones the behavior of Sam Esposito. I resign,” he said.

Fenster and Baron followed him out the door, but offered no comment on their own resignation.

 

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