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New York politician files million-dollar lawsuit for Caribbean hex

By:  Tupaki Desk   |   6 Jan 2014 9:02 AM GMT
A New York city council candidate has filled a million-dollar law suit against her political rival, claiming her opponent put a Caribbean hex on her in the form of a black-magic mural on her building.

Gwen Goodwin, 52, who lost the Democratic primary to Melissa Mark-Viverito in September, said her rival targeted her East 100th Street building as the canvas for a five-storey image of a disembodied rooster atop wooden ples, the New York Post reported.

The head is just below the window of the apartment where Goodwin has lived since 1997.

"According to neighbours of Puerto Rican and other backgrounds, in the Caribbean culture, this constituted a curse and a death threat, as a swastika or a noose would symbolise typically to many Jews or African-Americans," Goodwin alleges in a Manhattan Supreme Court suit she filed Friday.

Many New York Puerto Ricans practice a hybrid religion called Santeria, which is based on Catholicism but includes voodoo-like ceremonies and animal sacrifices, the report said. Mark-Viverito, a city council member, was the head of an urban-art campaign launched last summer called Los Muros Hablan ("the walls speak"), in an effort to celebrate Latino culture by painting murals on walls across the five boroughs.

She partnered with Goodwin's landlord, Eastside Managers Associates, for the project, which was dedicated Sep 1.

But according to Goodwin, Mark-Viverito's motives were pure evil.

"This is supposed to be a professional politician who came and graffitied the side of my building," the report quoted Goodwin as saying.

"I really felt that people needed to understand who they were giving power to as the next most powerful person behind the mayor of New York City," she said.

According to the New York Post report, Mark-Viverito has also faced criticism for taking taxpayer subsidies meant for low and moderate income people for an interest-free mortgage, even though her net worth is estimated at more than $1.5 million.

Goodwin said she was under emotional distress from the alleged spell that distracted her from running a winning campaign.

Meanwhile, Eric Koch, a spokesperson for Mark-Viverito, said: "These desperate and ridiculous allegations by a failed political opponent of Melissa are 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."