NYC councilman accused of suggesting mob links for contractor with Italian name: report
Chi Ossé/YouTube

New York City Councilman Chi Ossé is the subject of a complaint from the Italian-American caucus accusing him of making bigoted comments about a contractor with an Italian name, the New York Daily News reported.

“The members of the Italian Caucus categorically condemn the comments Council member Chi Ossé made on the record during a budget hearing this week, in which he suggested that an Italian surname that branded a company should have led to its disqualification from ever getting a contract with the City of New York,” the caucus said in a written statement.

“There is absolutely no excuse for any Council member, let alone the Chair of the Council’s Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations, to make remarks that disparage an entire ethnic group and advance hurtful stereotypes.”

Ossé, a Brooklyn Democrat, made the remarks on the record this week in regards to a city contractor named Dragonetti Brothers Landscaping, which was ordered to pay more than $1 million in restitution last year after pleading guilty to insurance fraud.

“I just want to say on Dragonetti — that name alone should have been the first red flag in terms of contracting with the city,” Ossé said while smiling.

In a statement addressing his remarks, Ossé said his comment “had nothing to do with Italians" and "had everything to do with the fact that the company has already been tarnished."

But members of the caucus didn't believe Ossé's claim.

“The Council member’s feeble defense of his defamatory statement — that it was made in reference to a reputation that the company gained long after it had received city contracts — does not stand up to reason,” the group said.

Read the full report over at the New York Daily News.