De Blasio’s City Council Speaker Pick Accused of Hexing Rival

New York Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito speaks at the unveiling of the PETA Vegetarian Icon Postage sheet on November 21, 2013 in New York City.
Melissa Mark-Viverito. Photo: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

East Harlem councilwoman and Bill de Blasio ally Melissa Mark-Viverito, who will likely be voted City Council Speaker next week, has a very weird lawsuit on her hands: Gwen Goodwin, who ran an unsuccessful primary campaign against Mark-Viverito back in September, claims that her former rival cursed her by having a mural of a colorful, decapitated rooster head installed on her building.

The painting, which was placed on Goodwin’s 100th Street home about two weeks before voting day, is part of Los Muros Hablan, a public art campaign headed by Mark-Viverito. The project’s stated goal was to celebrate Latino culture but, according to Goodwin’s Friday filing in Manhattan Supreme Court, Mark-Viverito’s intentions were far more sinister: “According to neighbors of Puerto Rican and other backgrounds, in the Caribbean culture, [the rooster] constituted a curse and a death threat, as a swastika or a noose would symbolize typically to many Jews or African-Americans.”

This intimated me and caused me fear. I’m a Christian. I don’t believe outside my religion, but strange things were happening,” she added, citing a blood clot in her foot and a friend who started “acting crazy.” 

In a statement, a spokesman for Mark-Viverito said Goodwin’s story is, “False, absurd and a waste of the court’s precious time…It’s sad but expected that Melissa’s opponents are resorting to these kinds of tactics.” Meanwhile, Goodwin’s website currently claims that Mark-Viverito won the September election “through massive tampering.” We assume she means the non-magical kind.

Mark-Viverito Accused of Hexing Rival