Things Get Ugly in Somerville

It’s been a long time since we’ve had a really competitive mayoral race in this town, with Tom Menino most recently dismantling (with minimum effort) challenger Maura Hennigan in 2005. Naturally, this is an affront to Boston’s raucous political history, and it’s forced fans of bloodsport politics to turn to other towns to get their fix. Like Somerville, where a supporter of Rick Scirocco—a man with a decidedly checkered past—has allegedly threatened the mayor, sparking a gloriously nasty townie back-and-forth between the campaigns. The kicker? The guy threatening the mayor also happens to be the mayor’s godfather. The complete Somerville News coverage after the jump.

The Somerville News’ website only had an abridged version of the story that ran in the paper, so I asked the editor, George Hassett, to send along the complete article. Here it is. The News at its scrappy, muck-heaving finest. Enjoy!

Mayor gets police protection after threat
By George P. Hassett

Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone was accompanied by an armed police officer Friday after his godfather, a staunch supporter of an opposing campaign, allegedly made threatening remarks against him, according to multiple sources close to City Hall.

Lenny DiCicco, a volunteer with Richard J. Scirocco’s campaign to unseat Curtatone as mayor, allegedly said, “Don’t stand too close to the mayor this weekend,” to another person who reported the remark to Curtatone’s staff. As a result of the comment, police were notified and an officer was assigned to a paid detail guarding Curtatone Friday, according to the sources. Police would not release any information about Friday’s police details. Jacklyn Rosetti, a spokeswoman for Curtatone, refused to comment on the situation and denied requests to speak with the mayor were denied.

DiCicco said he is enthusiastically supporting Scirocco over his godson, but never made any threats. It is, he said, a case of words being twisted by Curtatone supporters with political motives.

“What I said was, ‘You guys need to come over to our side, because we’re going to bury this guy.’” DiCicco said he was speaking to Daniel Spinoza, a longtime Curtatone backer, and was referring to the election, not an act of violence.

However, Spinoza twisted the words to make the remark sound more ominous, according to DiCicco and Scirocco. Scirocco said the comment was simply part of the banter between two longtime acquaintances with different political allegiances.

“The old Italian guys like to bullshit each other and bust each other’s chops,” he said. “That is all this was. This is just bullying stuff by Joe’s people, they like to play dirty. They just want another zing on my campaign.”

DiCicco said the innocent banter turned serious when two Somerville police detectives showed up at his home. “That’s when I knew someone was trying to pull a cutie,” he said.

The detectives were satisfied with DiCicco’s explanation for the alleged threat and laughed with him about the situation, he said. “They knew it was nothing,” he said.

However, the incident has encouraged DiCicco to oppose Curtatone more than ever, he said. “I got a million things against {Curtatone}. There is a lot of stuff nobody knows about this guy that I know. Now it’s time for me to start throwing some bombs,” he said.

DiCicco said he was a close friend of Curtatone’s father but he had a falling out with the mayor because of family feuding. He said he now supports Scirocco because of Scirocco’s work with kids in the city’s Little League baseball organization.

Scirocco said Curtatone is wasting valuable police manpower by reportedly assigning a police officer to protect him after DiCicco’s alleged threat. Jacklyn Rosetti, a spokeswoman for Curtatone, refused to comment on the situation.