Mixed Reaction to Possible Return of ‘Shameless’ Assemblyman

Reaction is divided over revelations that former Assemblyman Nelson Castro might run for the same position he had to vacate weeks ago after facing charges of perjury. (Photo by Humberto Arellano via El Diario-La Prensa)

The news that former Assemblyman Nelson Castro is considering running for the same position that he was forced to leave only a few weeks ago is spreading like wildfire through his district and stirring up conflicting opinions.

While some locals describe him as “shameless,” other residents of District 86 say he has guts. Castro represented the area from 2009 onwards.

“I would vote for him just because of his courage. Imagine carrying a hidden microphone for years, risking that it might come back to bite you in the future,” said Carlos Muñoz, referring to the recording device that Castro carried for two years when he served as an informant for the authorities in a case of public corruption.

Many people such as Ramón Estévez aren’t letting Castro off the hook for getting involved in corruption.

“You can’t trust people like that. They don’t follow the law. We’re not in the Dominican Republic,” said Estévez, a street vendor on Burnside Avenue.

Even so, Noelia López said it’s necessary to look on the bright side.

“Everyone who comes here says good things about him because of the services he provided at his office,” said López, who works at a beauty salon on Jerome Avenue.

Castro is accused of perjury for lying during a hearing before the New York State Board of Elections regarding his ability to run for the state Assembly in 2008. However, the charges will be revoked according to an agreement he made with the Bronx District Attorney’s Office for collaborating with the authorities. His role as an informant led to the arrest of state Assemblyman Eric Stevenson and two other Democratic legislators on charges of corruption.

Steven Reed, the spokesman for the Bronx District Attorney, said in a press release that “Nelson Castro was accused of perjury, and that charge is still pending. We currently don’t know of anything which would prevent us from legally seeking a public charge against him.”

According to the law, even if Castro is found guilty of a misdemeanor, it wouldn’t be an obstacle to run.

Haile Rivera, who is considering running for the seat left empty by Castro, said he was surprised by the former assemblyman’s intentions.

“He has every right to run, but I think he should focus on cleaning up his reputation first,” said Rivera.

El Diario/La Prensa was unable to reach Castro for comment.

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  1. Pingback: Scandals, Upsets and ‘Firsts’ in Council Races | Voices of NY

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