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Ferreras blames Monserrate for harassment

A spokesman from the office of City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst) said her tires have been slashed and she has received vulgar notes — harassment which her office alleges is from Hiram Monserrate, her former boss when he held her seat.

“It’s kind of a desperate time for him and he’s trying to get elected,” said Seth Barron, a spokesman for Ferreras, “and essentially he’s a bully.”

Mike Nieves, campaign manager for Monserrate, who was running for the state Assembly, denied any harassment.

“We have nothing to do with that,” Nieves said. “And quite frankly it’s an abuse of city resources to protect someone who has no need of protection.”

Monserrate was ousted from his state Senate seat in February after receiving a misdemeanor conviction for assault against his girlfriend, Karla Giraldo, with whom he later reconciled. Before becoming a senator, Monserrate was a member of the Council and Ferreras worked as his chief of staff and campaign manager.

Barron said for at least last three weeks Ferreras and her office have been harassed. He said Ferreras’ tires have been slashed and vulgar notes have been left on her car. The office also has received a number of calls from people who immediately hung up and dog feces have been left outside the office, Barron said.

Barron said the chief of security for the Council has changed the locks at Ferreras’ office, and there has been a police presence monitoring Ferreras’ house and office as well as watching out for the councilwoman when she attends events.

“We’ve just monitored who comes in and out,” Barron said of security at the office. “We’ve been careful.”

The office believes Monserrate or people working for Monserrate are behind the threats because of an incident July 31 when Monserrate showed up uninvited to a street renaming in Corona presided over by Ferreras, Barron said.

“Hiram Monserrate and his people came and were very aggressive,” Barron said.

Nathan Smith, campaign spokesman for the primary campaign of Monserrate’s Democratic opponent, Francisco Moya, condemned the harassment.

“This is not a one-time incident — it clearly reflects a pattern of behavior that endangers all women who come into contact with him, even as strong an advocate for women’s safety as Councilwoman Ferreras,” Smith said. “Yet Hiram Monserrate continues to refuse to accept responsibility for his actions.”

Nieves said Ferreras should know from her time working for Monserrate that he does not threaten the opposition.

“It’s not our style. She knows better than that,” Nieves said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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