Brooklyn Democrat faces bipartisan accusations of anti-Italian bias after comments about landscaping company

1 week ago 3

A Brooklyn Democrat councilmember in New York City is facing bipartisan accusations of anti-Italian bias over comments he made about a landscaping company.

Councilman Chi Ossé, a 25-year-old Democrat from Brooklyn, was accused of anti-Italian racism after his comments about Dragonetti Brothers Landscaping, a firm that had to pay out $1 million in restitution after pleading guilty to insurance fraud last year.

"I just want to say on Dragonetti — that name alone should have been the first red flag in terms of contracting with the city," Ossé said in a Monday council hearing.

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Chi Osse

Councilman Chi Ossé, a 25-year-old Democrat from Brooklyn, was accused of anti-Italian racism after his comments about Dragonetti Brothers Landscaping, a firm that had to pay out $1 million in restitution after pleading guilty to insurance fraud last year. ( (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images))

Two days after, a video clip of his remarks made its rounds around the Big Apple’s political scene and drew the scalding accusations of racism from a pair of his Italian colleagues from both sides of the aisle: Republican Councilman Joe Borelli of Staten Island and Democrat Councilman Bob Holden of Queens.

Borelli told Fox News Digital on Friday that Ossé "made an off-color offensive joke, and unfortunately, the standard that politically correct progressives like him demand is one of zero tolerance."

"This isn’t the first time he has said or tweeted offensive things, so the rules must apply," Borelli said. "Hate has no place here."

Borelli previously told the local press that Ossé’s comment was "a racist statement uttered in the course of official business on the council floor."

"I’ll bet all the salt in the sea that there will be no consequence for it," he added.

"We must stand together as a city and unequivocally reject hate and bigotry in all its forms. Ossé’s comment at a City Council hearing comparing Italians with organized crime is reprehensible and disgusting and has no place in our society," Holden said.

Two days after, a video clip of Ossé's remarks made its rounds around the Big Apple’s political scene and drew the scalding accusations of racism from a pair of his Italian colleagues from both sides of the aisle: Republican Councilman Joe Borelli of Staten Island and Democrat Councilman Bob Holden of Queens. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

"It is disturbing to see him repeatedly display bigotry and racism, and it’s time for him to apologize for his comment, take sensitivity and bias training, and pledge to do better in the future," he added.

Ossé responded to the accusations by pointing to Dragonetti Brothers Landscaping’s criminal record, saying his comments "had nothing to do with Italians" and "had everything to do with the fact that the company has already been tarnished."

Borelli and Holden also pointed to Ossé’s history of racial comments about White Americans, including public tweets, as evidence that the Dragonetti comments are not a one-off. Borelli called them a "pattern."

"A cis white man should not be the next speaker of the Council," Ossé tweeted in June 2021.

"Is this white culture?" Ossé tweeted in June 2019 of a White woman drunk dancing at a wedding.

Ossé also called the NYPD’s strategic response group (SRG) as a "goon squad" earlier this week.

"I can specifically call the SRG a goon squad because they specifically are a squad of goons - like that lunatic party you decided to join," Ossé tweeted.

"At least the SRG are loyal to themselves," he continued. "You are loyal to nothing."

Both Borelli and Holden are members of the council’s Italian-American Caucus.

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The Brooklyn Democrat did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

Houston Keene is a politics writer for Fox News Digital.  Story tips can be sent to Houston.Keene@Fox.com and on Twitter: @HoustonKeene 

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