The NY Daily News reports: A Jewish Parks Department truck driver claims he was subjected to anti-Semitic taunts by co-workers who put on a hateful skit in Nazi regalia.
The department is investigating the allegations and said the employees accused of taking part in the Hitler parody at a Staten Island parkhouse may be disciplined.
Alan Spitalnik says he walked into a break room to see three tree pruners putting on the tasteless show for eight other workers. “They just burst out laughing,” one source said.
Two sources identified the employees as Nick Johnson, who allegedly wore a motorcycle helmet emblazoned with a swastika; Charlie Ekonomakos, said to have sported a Hitler-style mustache, and Chris Mullusky, described as wielding a flaming aerosol can.
“This is ridiculous. I’m not commenting,” Ekonomakos, 23, said outside his house.
Mullusky, 48, refused to discuss the accusations and Johnson could not be reached for comment.
A representative from the Parks Department’s equal employment opportunity office visited the Forestry Division’s Staten Island headquarters and questioned the skit participants and witnesses.
“He gave us all a tongue-lashing … he said that this is unacceptable,” one source said. “[He said], ‘If I had it my way, they would be fired on the spot.’” Parks Department spokesman Phil Abramson said the probe “may lead to disciplinary action,” but wouldn’t comment further.
Spitalnik was upset that after he complained he was transferred out of the Forestry Division against his wishes for safety reasons, one of the sources said. He told a fellow employee he feels like he’s being punished for the incident.
“When Alan was talking to me, he said it’s a horror on Staten Island, it’s the regular routine,” an insider said.
Spitalnik, who wears a Star of David around his neck, claims his religion has made him a target in the past.
Earlier this summer, Spitalnik complained to supervisors that Mullusky told him he’d like to shove him and his mother in a microwave oven. A source said no action was taken.
After he walked in on the skit, the three men apologized to Spitalnik. “They said, ‘I’m sorry, it was a joke,’” one of the sources said.
Sorry may not cut it. A Parks Department source said the men could be suspended or fired if the allegations are substantiated. “The Parks Department does not tolerate prejudice of any kind,” Abramson said.
(Source: NY Daily News)