NEW YORK — Two influential Brooklyn political insiders apologized Friday after attending a crowded party flouting public safety restrictions that currently prevent people from gathering as the city's rate of coronavirus infections continues to steadily increase.
Deputy Brooklyn Borough President Chaplain Ingrid Lewis-Martin and Carlo Scissura, head of the New York Building Congress, both appeared in photos obtained by The Daily News, which first reported Lewis-Martin and other guests were mingling in a crowd where no one appeared to be wearing masks.
"I apologize for my lapse in compliance with COVID-19 precautions," Lewis-Martin said in a statement. "As a public figure in Brooklyn, I know it's my responsibility to lead by example. I urge all New Yorkers to wear masks whenever they are in close proximity to others and to follow the public health guidelines from our health professionals."
The event was attended by several Brooklyn politics power brokers, including former Brooklyn Democratic Party Chairman Frank Seddio, who gathered to celebrate Scissura's birthday.
The gathering drew a sharp rebuke from City Hall.
“This party was asinine, counterproductive and insulting to all New Yorkers," Mitch Schwartz, deputy press secretary for Mayor Bill de Blasio, said in a statement. "Every attendee should apologize and then match their words with actions. City Hall expects them to start by holding responsible, virtual Thanksgiving celebrations next week.”
Scissura is head of the New York Building Congress, a powerful construction trade organization.
“This is a particularly trying time and there were shortcomings that I regret," Scissura said in a statement. "I greatly appreciate the gesture of my friends to throw me a surprise party, but we all must follow strict protocols so we can get past this pandemic."
According to a spokesperson, the party was primarily held outside and guests temperatures were taken when they arrived. The New York Building Congress was not involved in the planning of the party.
Despite that, photos show Lewis-Martin and Seddio huddled in close proximity as party guests around them ignore social distancing rules. Seddio did not return a request for comment.
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