By Jillian Jorgensen, the Observer
She won’t be endorsing Rob Astorino any time soon.
Dhyalma Vazquez, a top official in the Westchester and Yonkers Independence Parties, blasted Rob Astorino as a “fucking racist liar” in response to his comments alleging party corruption as the root cause of an ongoing legal battle over his failed bid for an endorsement when running for re-election as Westchester County executive.
Mr. Astorino is being accused in a lawsuit in federal court of improperly seeking to pack the Independence Party with his own supporters in order to sway the endorsement his way. Some 4,000 voters, many tied to Mr. Astorino, have already been knocked off the party rolls by another judge.
In a recent radio interview, the now-gubernatorial candidate insisted those voters were doing what Zephyr Teachout is doing in her primary bid — “running petitions to support a campaign that is not supported by the party bosses,” who he blasted as corrupt and despised.
But that’s not how Ms. Vazquez, vice chair of the Westchester Independence Party and chair of the Yonkers party, tells it.
“He’s a FUCKING RACIST liar! Up until the last moment he begged for the endorsement!” Ms. Vazquez wrote in an email to the Observer last week, in response to a query sent to a party e-mail address seeking comment on Mr. Astorino’s radio remarks.
Ms. Vazquez wrote that Mr. Astorino had a proxy offer her and another party member “‘ANYTHING’ we want. We refused!”
“He’s a liar! He needs to be prosecuted for raiding our party!” she wrote.
In addition to the lawsuit the party has brought against Mr. Astorino over the endorsement fracas, Ms. Vazquez has personally sought to sue him and another county official — alleging she was demoted and eventually lost her long-held county job for declining to endorse him and for objecting to a staffing plan she believed would demote minority workers and promote white supporters of Mr. Astorino, hence her charge of racism.
“I can’t stand it, because I have worked for the county 24 years, and because I did not give him the Independence Party line I was fired, and because I spoke on behalf of my minority workers, I was fired,” Ms. Vazquez told the Observer in a telephone interview.
But a federal judge dismissed Ms. Vazquez’s complaint against Mr. Astorino and terminated him as a defendant in the lawsuit July 18, after he argued he had legislative immunity over staffing decisions as county executive and that Ms. Vazquez had not proven he was personally involved in the matter.
“I’m not stopping — I’m going to continue to sue him,” Ms. Vazquez insisted. “What he did was against the law.”
Mr. Astorino’s camp continued to blast the party in response to Ms. Vazquez’s comments and her lawsuit.
“The Westchester County Independence Party stands for nothing but the enrichment of its leaders. Before Rob Astorino, no one ever said ‘no’ to these thugs. They will say or do anything to try to remain relevant, but the voters of Westchester proved last year that their ballot line is no longer a factor,” Bill O’Reilly, a campaign spokesman, said.
But Ms. Vazquez maintained that nobody in the party ever asked Mr. Astorino for anything, particularly no-show jobs.
“If I wanted a no-show job, if I wanted something from him, I could have gotten it — but I don’t do that,” she said. “I am so angry it makes me cry.”
Ms. Vazquez has made news before — in connection with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, when she alleged in her job as county executive that a housekeeper for Janet DiFiore, at the time leading the governor’s ethics panel JCOPE, was improperly receiving welfare benefits.