(Photo: Facebook/Gwen Goodwin, Melissa Mark-Viverito; Screen Grab via YouTube/MNN NYC)
Melissa Mark-Viverito (D), the woman expected to be voted in as the next New York City Council Speaker on Thursday, has been slapped with a $1 million lawsuit by a former political rival claiming that she hexed her with a big haunting mural of a bodiless rooster on the side of her building in Manhattan, N.Y.
Gwen Goodwin (D), 52, claims in the lawsuit that Mark-Viverito placed the hex on her through a black-magic mural on the side of the East 100th Street building where she resides while they were competing for the same council seat, according to a report in the New York Post.
The rooster's head sits right below the window of the apartment where Goodwin has lived since 1997.
"According to neighbors of Puerto Rican and other backgrounds, in the Caribbean culture, this constituted a curse and a death threat, as a swastika or a noose would symbolize typically to many Jews or African-Americans," Goodwin charges in the suit filed in the Manhattan Supreme Court last Friday.
Many New York Puerto Ricans reportedly practice Santeria, described as a hybrid religion based on Catholicism, voodoo-like ceremonies and animal sacrifices.
Goodwin explained that the hex caused her "emotional distress" and prevented her from running a winning campaign last year.
"This intimidated me and caused me fear. I'm a Christian. I don't believe outside my religion, but strange things were happening," Goodwin claimed.
She said right after the mural went up she developed a blood clot in her foot and a close friend began "acting crazy".
The report highlighted that the mural was painted on Goodwin's building as part an urban-art campaign launched last summer called Los Muros Hablan ("the walls speak"). It was headed by Mark-Viverito who partnered with Goodwin's landlord, Eastside Managers Associates, to get it done.
Goodwin charged, however, that Mark-Viverito worked to put the mural on her building to hex her.
"This is supposed to be a professional politician who came and graffitied the side of my building," said Goodwin in the report.
"I really felt that people needed to understand who they were giving power to as the next most powerful person behind the mayor of New York City," she added.
Eric Koch, a spokesman for Mark-Viverito dismissed the suit as the rant of a sore loser.
"These desperate and ridiculous allegations by a failed political opponent of Melissa are false, absurd and a waste of the court's precious time. It's sad but expected that Melissa's opponents are resorting to these kinds of tactics," said Koch.