2 Elected Officials File Complaint Against Man in Anti-Immigrant Rant

Stock SectorMay 17, 201812min9

2 Elected Officials File Complaint Against Man in Anti-Immigrant Rant

Elected officials filed a complaint against Aaron Schlossberg, a Manhattan lawyer who they said spewed a racist rant at Spanish-speaking workers.Creditvia Facebook

May 17, 2018

Representative Adriano Espaillat, a New York Democrat who was born in the Dominican Republic, said on Thursday that he had filed a grievance with the court system against a man, believed to be a lawyer, who spewed a racist rant at Spanish-speaking workers in a Manhattan lunch spot.

The grievance named the man as Aaron Schlossberg, a lawyer in Midtown Manhattan, said Candace Person, a spokeswoman for Mr. Espaillat. Ms. Person said the name is based on social media and “credible reports.” Mr. Schlossberg did not return a phone call left at his office, she said.

Ruben Diaz Jr., the Democratic Bronx borough president, joined Mr. Espaillat’s complaint.

“We are not reaching out to the bar association to get this young man disbarred or to ruin him,” Ms. Person said. “This is more of a grievance.”

In the letter addressed to the chief attorney of the grievance committee, Jorge Dopico, Mr. Espaillat and Mr. Diaz wrote: “The audacity to profile and verbally assault innocent bystanders and customers in a public commercial location is a violation of our civil society. We watched Aaron’s video and we were disgusted.”

In a statement, Mr. Espaillat said: “We are sending this grievance to say that you cannot engage in xenophobia, bigotry, hate and get away with it. Such behavior should never be tolerated.”

On Tuesday, Mr. Schlossberg’s verbal assault was captured in a video that was widely shared and condemned on social media. He was angry that staff members preparing food were speaking Spanish to customers, when, he said disdainfully, they “should be speaking English.” He threatened to call the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to deport them, assuming that they were undocumented immigrants merely because of the language they spoke.

“It’s America,” he said, scoffing. “I will be following up, and my guess is they’re not documented. So my next call is to ICE to have each one of them kicked out of my country.”

Mr. Schlossberg did not return phone calls or email messages from The New York Times on Wednesday.

According to the New York State Unified Court System, Mr. Schlossberg was admitted to the bar in 2003 and had no record of public discipline. He is the founder of his own firm.

The administrator on the 14th floor of his Madison Avenue office would not comment about the incident on Wednesday and asked a reporter to leave because it was private property. The restaurant is directly across the street from the lawyer’s office, having just opened a month ago.

In addition to the state grievance, New York City’s Commission on Human Rights said it was aware of the episode, but could not comment further. The commission investigates claims of harassment and discrimination, including such episodes in public places. It can fine violators up to $250,000 in civil penalties for what it calls “willful, wanton, or malicious violations of the law and award compensatory damages to victims, including emotional-distress damages and other benefits.”

The commission said that it does not ask about immigration status when people call with complaints.

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