A press release sent by the Democratic candidate for Dutchess County Executive, Joe Ruggiero, confirmed what Mid Hudson News has reported earlier today, that the Nazi flag spied hanging in the window of an apartment on the second floor of 776 Main Street in Arlington (in the town of Poughkeepsie) which created controversy was shortly removed after Ruggiero alerted the landlord about it.
The flag was hanging next to the building where Democratic Dutchess County executive candidate Joseph Ruggiero has his campaign headquarters located.
Ruggiero called the flag display “unconscionable” and he condemned it.
“When one segment of our community is attacked, none of can say we are attack-free. These acts of hate, symbols of hate, hide under the guise of the First Amendment,” he said. “Now we need to use our First Amendment rights and speak out against it and condemn it.”
Photo above: Joe Ruggiero
The Joe Ruggiero campaign office, located at 780 Main St, Poughkeepsie, is next door to the building, is owned by Integrity Property Management. The campaign reached out to the landlord in early September, and a representative of the landlord responded, “Unfortunately, due to the law, we cannot do anything to have the flag removed.”
Chris Orefice, president of Integrity Property management quickly responded after involvement and pressure from the press. He very promptly had the flag taken down and apologized for the display of hate speech, following press interest. The flag was a troubling sight, and its location toward a heavily trafficked public space keeps it in prime view.
Ruggiero released the following statement in response: “My two grandfathers fought in World War II to end Nazism and the fact that we have this symbol of hate displayed anywhere in America is insulting. President Trump has made it clear that he supports such bigoted behavior, but we will not stand for it. Hate has no home here, and we must speak out whenever we see its presence.”
Eloise Maxey, President of the Northern Dutchess NAACP also responded to the incident: “Swastikas and nooses are part of hate crimes. They violate our human rights and have no place in our society. They are unacceptable even though some people see them as free speech. They can invoke violence against a certain They are cruel and evil. I have reported this to the police department, and left word with the Attorney General’s office.”
Elisa Sumner, the leader of the Dutchess County Democrats posted a photo of the flag calling on Democrats to unite against this kind of hatred.
Integrity Property Management confirmed that apartment number 2 is occupied by two white males who are siblings. Orefice said that the leases for his apartments have a clause that prohibits such decorations from being displayed.
“My leases dictate that nothing more than ordinary curtains or blinds can be hung in the windows,” said the property manager. Orefice noted that the clause was initially inserted into the leases to prevent tenants from using bed sheets as window dressings.
The property manager noted that this would be the first time that the clause would be invoked to address this type of controversial window dressing.
Orefice said that he would be inspecting the apartment today and warn the tenants that the flag would need to be removed immediately or they would be facing an eviction proceeding for violating the terms and conditions of the lease.
The flag is hanging in a second-floor window that faces the parking lot behind Hurricane Grill. The same parking lot is also used for campaign workers at the Ruggiero headquarters.