March 29, 2011
WILMINGTON JOBS CREATION EVENT SCENE OF STRANGE ROW INVOLVING CONGRESSMAN'S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR TONY McEWEN, WHO INSULTS McINTYRE'S CHALLENGER.
Seventh District Congressman Mike McIntyre hosted a “Jobs Creation Summit” today at the northern campus of Cape Fear Community College near Castle Hayne.
Reports from the event said it was not well-received, and a number of people left early.
Wilmington resident Del Pietro, Democratic candidate in the 2012 NC Seventh District primary, was in attendance. He said earlier that he was going to be looking for a job – McIntyre’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The most exciting activity took place backstage at the meeting, as reported by WWAY-TV3 News of Wilmington:
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- During Rep. Mike McIntyre's jobs summit today, one of the Congressman's staffers made some interesting comments to us.
After he saw Del Pietro, a Democrat who plans to challenge McIntyre in the primary, talking to our crew, McIntyre's economic development director Tony McEwen pulled them aside.
McEwen told us Pietro is "crazy," "shaky," "schizophrenic" and "not all there."
Pietro says McEwen is trying to destroy his reputation because he knows he is a serious contender to beat the Congressman.
"I think average folks like us should be able to run for public office without having to endure dirty politics," Pietro said.
"Quite frankly this is exactly what the folks in this Congressional district and across America are exhausted by. Our political system can be very dirty, and this is clearly an indication of that."
When asked about McEwen's comments, McIntyre's Chief of Staff said in an e-mail to WWAY, "(A)ny comments Tony McEwen made with regard to the subject manner you referenced were not authorized by, nor reflective of, this office."
When asked if he, the Congressman or McEwen would like a chance to talk on camera or by phone about what was said and Pietro's reaction, Mitchell e-mailed back, "We have no further comment. Thanks."
END OF WWAY-TV3 NEWS CONTINUITY
Verne Strickland, USA DOT COM:
After the incident, we contacted candidate Del Pietro for an exclusive interview. Here is part of what he said.
Pietro: “The slanderous attack that Tony McEwen used against me with a WWAY reporter is just very unfortunate. I fully plan to pursue all legal avenues to put a stop to this. It’s just completely inappropriate.”
VS: How did this happen to erupt like this?
Pietro:“All I did was say hello to the WWAY reporter who was there. And after that the WWAY news director told me the reporter was pulled aside and told of all these slanderous remarks. WWAY called me immediately to get my comments on it, and it was such a serious situation that I was asked to go down to the station and get a face-to-face interview.”
VS: What are you considering in the wake of this incident?
Pietro: “I’m going to be pursuing all avenues in terms of civil litigation against Tony McEwen and the congressman. Tony is a representative of the congressman, and is doing the congressman’s dirty work, and basically the congressman is accountable for Tony’s remarks. They are baseless and it’s saddening that the congressman and his staff would stoop to this level.”
VS: You said that Mr. McEwan has run afoul of federal law?
Pietro: “Yes, he’s a federal employee covered by the Hatch Act, as I understand it, and he is not supposed to be campaigning while he is working in any way, shape or form. That’s the way I understand the law, and he clearly violated that law. When he made those remarks, he is technically campaigning against me. That’s an issue that’s to be reported to the Federal Government."
VS: What does the Democratic Party have to say about all this?
Pietro: “Tony is the State’s third vice chair of the party, and I was just told by a local Democrat that the party is going to put forth a resolution at our convention asking him to resign his office. This will be at either the county or the district level.
“This is just very dirty politics, and it’s uncalled for. They should be able to campaign on substance, but apparently if they don’t feel they can beat me on substance, they will just resort to these types of attacks.
“A call was made to the congressman’s office by the chair of the Democratic Party for the Seventh District, Melvin Williams, making him aware of what transpired, and explaining that I’m looking for a sincere apology from the congressman and Tony McEwan, and also asking for disciplinary action against Tony for slanderous comments.
“I am in consultation with an attorney right now to discuss what my legal options are in terms of filing a civil suit against both Tony and the congressman. This wasn’t typical political rhetoric, this was a direct slanderous attack, and I’m not going to tolerate it.”