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Skate Park Owner Called Cops After Fight Over City Council Campaign Sign

By Nicholas Rizzi | August 16, 2013 12:08pm
 Workers from Lisa Giovinazzo's staff allegedly yelled at kids who took down campaign signs on a skate park on Thursday.
Skate Park Owner Called Cops Over Campaign Sign Fight
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STAPLETON — A Staten Island City Council candidate and a Stapleton skate park launched a war of words Thursday after the skate park owners called the cops to complain about a feud over a campaign sign posted without permission on the park's wall.

According to 5050 Skatepark co-owner Angelica Popolano, a campaign worker for Republican Mid-Island City Council candidate Lisa Giovinazzo put a large sign on the building at 354 Front St. without permission on Thursday.

When children from the summer camp took down the sign, one of Giovinazzo's staffers allegedly yelled at the kids, calling them "rowdy" and threatening to have the park shut down — all while the would-be councilwoman looked on from across the street, Popolano said.

“He was really loud to the kids,” Popolano said, adding that she called the cops to get rid of the aggressive staffer and a threatening companion. “The kids got really upset.”

Giovinazzo vehemently disputed the account Thursday.

"I can't think of anything further from the truth," Giovinazzo said. "Nobody was yelling. I don't know why they're attacking my campaign."

Giovinazzo confirmed that her campaign was holding a press conference across the street Thursday, and added that they hung their sign up on the skate park's fence so a TV camera could get a shot of it. The skate park owners told them to take it down, she said.

She added that none of her staffers yelled at kids. She said she was surprised to see people on Facebook posting about the incident Thursday and attacking her campaign.

But Popolano said that even when the cameras and Giovinazzo packed up and left, two men stayed and continued to harass the staff and kids. She said she eventually had to call the cops.

"Those guys just kept staying there, they were not willing to back down," Popolano said.

Giovinazzo confirmed that Popolano's side called the cops. But she said they were only called because of the sign, not because of anybody threatening children. The NYPD did not respond to requests for a police report about the incident.

Giovinazzo said she suspected the skate park owners and riders were trying to attack her campaign because they didn't believe in her positions, especially her support of stop-and-frisk.

"I'm a mother, I wouldn't be going after a campaign with children," she said.