By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Campaign staffers of U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-Bay Ridge-Staten Island) are on edge in the wake of an attack on the lawmaker’s Staten Island re-election headquarters over the weekend.
Grimm, who is running for a second term in congress, maintains two campaign headquarters – one on each side of the Verrazano Bridge. On Sept. 23, members of his campaign staff arrived at the headquarters at 2582 Hylan Boulevard and discovered that the office had been vandalized and burglarized.
Two large chunks of cement and smaller rocks had been thrown through the windows, according to Grimm, who said the vandals broke three vertical window panes. Making matters worse, the vandals also entered the office and corrupted the computer files, erasing the hard-drive of the campaign computer server, which contained confidential campaign files and polling data, Grimm said.
The break-in follows a recent series of thefts of “Grimm for Congress” lawn signs from the yards of supporters as well as the theft of a small billboard, the congressman said. In one instance, a video was recorded of a middle-aged woman walking a dog and stealing signs. Grimm said his campaign plans to release the video to the pubic so that the woman can be identified and prosecuted.
Grimm called the vandalism “a disgraceful act of cowardice that is beneath the people I represent.”
Police are investigating the break-in. There are no suspects at this time.
“In 2010, campaigns across the nation were fueled with high levels of passion, yet even then we never saw anything as dirty or disgraceful as this. Even though this is not an official office, this heinous act represents an assault on democracy and the political process, more so than it does on me as person or a candidate. I do believe this is a politically motivated crime, and will continue to work closely with the NYPD in identifying and prosecuting those responsible,” Grimm said.
In addition to the New York Police Department, the U.S. Capitol Police have also been notified of the incident.
Grimm is running for re-election in 11th Congressional District. The district covers Bay Ridge in Brooklyn and the entire borough of Staten Island.
Grimm maintains a campaign office on Third Avenue in Bay Ridge, one that he shares with fellow Republicans state Sen. Marty Golden and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis.
Nathan Smith, campaign spokesman for Grimm’s Democraticf opponent, Mark Murphy, issued a statement following the vandalism.
“There is never any place for violence or vandalism in an electoral campaign or political debate. We hope that the police quickly apprehend whoever was responsible for this criminal act and prosecute all parties involved to the fullest extent of the law” Smith stated.