When your boss calls a reporter a “lying piece of shit,” what can you say? This was the predicament faced by City Councilwoman Inez Dickens’s spokesman, Simeon Banister, on Monday.
The New York Post published an article Monday morning saying that Dickens, an old-fashioned Democratic machine pol, and her sister Delores Richard, owe $265,000 in unpaid fines for poor conditions, back taxes, and water bills on four apartment buildings they own in Harlem. A fairly incredible piece of information about a sitting councilwoman.
Seeking comment like reporters are supposed to do, a Postie visited her apartment, and that was when Dickens abruptly unleashed her vitriol and slammed the door shut.
Dickens, by the way, is the chairwoman of the council ethics committee. She has been spoken of as a top candidate for City Council Speaker. Her website touts her as “highly respected … a tireless fighter for basic civil and human rights, justice, equity, inclusion and diversity.” She also serves on the committees on Health, Land Use, and Rules, Privileges & Elections, and the Land Use Subcommittee. Hmmm.
The Post‘s M.L. Nestel reported that Dickens’s buildings have been slammed with violations for mold, fire damage, faulty lighting and electrical outlets and unlicensed construction work. A former tenant and a neighbor slammed the condition of the buildings.
It’s not the first time her property woes had come up. She narrowly avoided having her debts sold to a private collection agency back in May, according to the Daily News.
Getting back to Banister, we e-mailed him twice to see whether he would have any further comment on Dickens, her buildings, and her potty mouth. No response, which is not surprising. After all, what can you say about a sitting councilwoman who would respond that way?
We also e-mailed City Council spokesman Jamie McShane to see whether the council will consider some kind of sanction against Dickens for the apparent neglect of her buildings and her treatment of the reporter. We didn’t hear back from McShane, either.
For now, let’s just call it another feather in the cap for our beloved local pols and would-be pols–the indicted (too many to name here), the embarrassed (Anthony Weiner, the “sexter,” and Eliot Spitzer, the “patron”), the oversharers (Christine Quinn) and the indicted pagans (Dan Halloran). And now we have Dickens, the unnecessarily profane.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 30, 2013