Binghamton City Council President Alleges Harassment Stemming From Council Meetings

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NOTE: This story contains language some readers may find offensive.

Updated: 8/9/21 – 9:20 P.M.

VESTAL, NY (WSKG) — Former Binghamton Mayoral Candidate Tarik Abdelazim was charged with second degree harassment stemming from a formal complaint from sitting Binghamton City Council President Sophia Resciniti.

Tarik Abdelazim speaking at the special city council meeting last month where Sophia Resciniti alleges she had been threatened. (Vaughn Golden/WSKG)

Abdelazim pleaded not guilty to the charges in Binghamton City Criminal Court on Friday. Second degree harassment is a violation, technically not amounting to a crime.

In a deposition Resciniti, a Republican, said Abdelazim called her a “fucking bitch” and yelled at her at a city council meeting last month. Resciniti said Abdelazim also said to her “do you want us over to your house again?”

The latter was a reference to a city council meeting in March after which several people showed up at Resciniti’s house, according to a statement from Binghamton Mayor Rich David at the time. She also referenced this in her deposition.

In addition, Resciniti received a court order of protection against Abdelazim last week.

“While I respect every person’s right to free speech, many lines were crossed at a recent City Council meeting,” Resciniti wrote in a statement to WSKG on Monday. “We cannot tolerate harassment, intimidation and threats at any level but especially if there are threats to us personally, to our homes and families. When those lines are crossed people must be held accountable.”

Abdelazim, who served as executive assistant to Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan and lost his bid for mayor in 2017, denied threatening Resciniti.

“The complaint by City Council President Sophia Resciniti is factually inaccurate, legally without merit, and is a troubling attempt to intimidate me and others into silence,” Abdelazim wrote in a statement to WSKG. “I will be contesting this charge and defending my first amendment rights, and am confident both the charge and the temporary order of protection will be quickly dismissed.”

Both parties are scheduled to appear before a judge on Aug. 20.

Abdelazim was one of around a dozen people who attended the special city council meeting last month to consider a resolution spending funds from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) toward repairs to the city council roof. The meeting did not include an opportunity for public comment and several people spoke up interrupting the meeting, eventually causing council to temporarily adjourn.

Dozens of people, including Abdelazim, showed up to last week’s city council meeting to comment on the roof repair resolution, which had passed along party lines four to three.*

 

*This story has been updated to reflect the correct vote tally.