A North Miami Beach mayoral candidate is accusing a union of a "hate crime" over a mailer comparing him to the Sopranos — 18 months after anti-Muslim Facebook posts he shared were revealed.
The Miami Herald reported that Anthony DeFillipo, a North Miami Beach commissioner, is suing the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union for libel to the tune of $2 million — even though the union itself said they had nothing to do with the mailer riddled with spelling errors.
"We denounce these defamatory and offensive attacks against these candidates," AFSCME representative Jacqui Carmona told the Herald last week. The union also accused Hector Roos, a local political consultant, of illegally using its name.
The mailer claims didn't just attack DeFillipo — it also attacked other City Commission candidates as members of "Tony ‘Soprano’ Defilippo’s crime family."
"This is a hate crime," the candidate said. "This is an ethnic slur. This is no different than if any other ethnicity was attacked."
DeFillipo's lawyer echoed his client's anti-racist language.
"We are going to leave no stone unturned for the people responsible for this," attorney Michael Pizzi told the Herald. "They’ve attacked a culture. They’ve attacked an ethnicity. And they’ve attacked a family."
Neither men mentioned the Islamophobic Facebook posts the candidate made that were uncovered by the Miami New Times last year.
In April 2017, the New Times reported that DeFillipo publicly shared a fake news story lauding President Donald Trump and his Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch for "blocking" Islam in public schools.
"Here comes the sun!" the commissioner wrote. "America grew balls again!"
DeFillipo doubled down in the comments of the since-deleted post.
"We should [sic] be teaching any religions in this country besides standard Judeo-Christianity, as our founders wanted, and we certainly shouldn’t be filling the children with lies about Islam being a 'religion of peace' when they see the carnage on the news almost every day," he wrote, quoting a made-up statement made by Gorsuch.