By Connor Beach
Both a truck with political banners on its sides and the Christopher Columbus statue in Huntington village were reportedly vandalized over the holiday weekend.
The truck, parked on private property at the southeast corner of Main Street and Park Avenue, had two banners on its sides — one in support of Republican candidates for Huntington Town Board, and the other smearing current Councilman Mark Cuthbertson, whose picture appeared next to the words “Crooked Cuthbertson” and similar politically-charged statements.
The signs were intact Saturday night, but were found destroyed Sunday morning at around 7:30 a.m., according to property owner Dominick Mavellia.
“All I know is that it was vandalized and ripped down with a razor blade,” Mavellia said, adding that around $3,500 in damage was caused. He speculated that the person or persons responsible entered the property through a gap in the fence that surrounds it.
Mavellia said he planned to meet with Suffolk police Wednesday after deadline to file a report about the incident, but was unsure whether he would replace the signs. Reached Wednesday afternoon, a Suffolk police spokeswoman said she had no information on the incident.
Mavellia, who said he was unsure whether or not he’d replace the signs, said he positioned the truck on the property just “in time for the fall festival” to push for a “different direction for local government.”
Mavellia has been vocal in the local political scene since his proposal to build a medical office on the property, which he first put forth in early 2015, stalled last November when the Huntington Town Board opted not to vote on a zone change necessary for the project to move forward.
“When someone is in office for such a long time it creates a situation where corruption can occur,” Mavellia said.
Asked for comment on both the sign and reported act of vandalism, Cuthbertson said in an emailed statement, “People who vandalize property should be prosecuted. I am not aware of anyone affiliated with my campaign that had anything to do with this.”
In a separate incident, someone spray painted graffiti on the Christopher Columbus statue in Huntington village at around 1:45 p.m., Monday, according to a Suffolk police spokesman. The incident was reported at around 2 p.m. the same day and no arrests had been made as of Wednesday afternoon, she added.
A picture of the graffiti obtained by Long Islander News on Wednesday, shows a red circle with the letter ‘A’ inside of it, typically a symbol of used by anarchists, spray painted on the back of the statue, on Columbus’s cape.
Town spokesman A.J. Carter said that officials said the graffiti was removed Tuesday. He added that a wreath on a stand next to the statue was also knocked down, but it was unclear whether it was intentionally knocked down or blown over.
“Whether this was an act of vandalism or an act of protest we will leave to the police to determine,” he said.
Local officials convened at the Huntington village statue last week to announce it would not be removed amid calls nationwide, particularly in New York City, to have similar statutes pulled down.
There were several reports of Columbus statues across New England being vandalized over the weekend.
During Sunday’s Columbus Day parade, members of the Order of the Sons of Italy in America were handing out magnets that read, “Save Columbus Day.”
Bob Fonti, a grand marshal of the parade, on Wednesday called the act “disturbing.”
He added, “I am deeply distressed by the defacing of the Columbus statue, especially on Columbus Day. I hope that this does not continue and we’re respectful of all ethnic groups. This doesn’t reflect the Town of Huntington.”
Additional reporting by Peter Sloggatt and Andrew Wroblewski.