As many of have met or at least been in the same room as the (soon to be former) Congressman from NY-13, I thought the following would bring a nice close to his tenure representing us…
1998: Rep. Vito Fossella, new in Congress, votes to impeach President Clinton.
May 1, 2008: Vito Fossella is kicked out of Washington, DC’s Logan Tavern for excessive drunkenness, following a party at the White House in honor of the Super Bowl champion New York Giants
Shortly after, he is arrested for driving while intoxicated in Alexandria, Virginia. When asked about his destination, Fossella informs police that he is “going to visit his sick daughter”. This is especially noteworthy because his family lives in New York City.
Mr. Fossella was asked to recite the alphabet between the letters D and T. “The subject immediately started and said ‘A, B,’ ” the officer wrote in his report.
After the officer explained the test again, Mr. Fossella started: “D, E, F, H, G, H, I, J, L,” and then was able to finish.
Mr. Fossella swayed when he stood on one leg and stumbled when asked to walk nine steps heel to toe and turn, the report said.
Fossella also contested the testimony of Alexandria police officers, including the more lurid charge that he threatened to defecate on the station floor if he was not allowed to use the bathroom.
Fossella is bailed out of jail by Air Force Lt. Col. Laura Fay.
May 2, 2008: Fossella holds a press conference in which he revises his story, changing the word “daughter” to “friend”. Sheesh, what could he have been thinking? “Daughter!” Ha!
May 5, 2008: Speculation begins swirling about the relationship of this mystery woman, Laura Fay, to the Congressman. Folks start asking questions about why exactly Fossella though he had a daughter in Northern Virginia. Notably, Fay refuses to tell who her child’s father is.
May 7, 2008: Laura Fay calls multiple friends and relatives in an effort to prevent them from revealing details about her baby’s paternity.
May 8, 2008: Fossella admits in a press conference that he is the father of Fay’s 3-year-old daughter.
Democrats start looking for strong Staten Island-based candidates to succeed the doomed congressman.
May 10, 2008: Despite entreaties from the Republican Party to step down, Fossella declines to step down as a candidate.
May 19, 2008: Vito Fossella steps down as a candidate, choosing to spend more time with one of his families.
The Post reports that Fossella also carried on an extramarital affair during law school, in which he lied about being married.
May 21, 2008: First-choice Republican Dan Donovan decides not to run.
May 23, 2008: Second-choice Republican Andrew Lanza decides not to run.
May 24, 2008: Third-choice Republican Stephen Fiala decides not to run.
May 27, 2008: Democratic City Councilman Mike McMahon officially gets in.
June 15, 2008: Following the untimely passing of GOP nominee Frank Powers – a genuinely tragic moment in this saga – the Staten Island GOP nominates this guy:
“If Straniere is the nominee, there will be prominent people who will be front and center opposing him,” said Guy V. Molinari, the former Staten Island borough president who spent years building the Republican Party on Staten Island. “This man was a candidate for various offices for 20 years, and he brought nothing but grief to the Republican Party,” he said. “We threw him out of office and got him off of Staten Island. And we don’t want him back.”
Say hello to Bob Straniere.
November 4, 2008: Even as John McCain wins NY-13, Democratic City Councilman Michael McMahon wins election to the United States House of Representatives, winning 61% of the vote to 33% for Republican Bob Straniere. This is the most lopsided margin of any seat switching hands.
December 8, 2008: Fossella is sentenced to five days in jail.
So I guess, all in all, I want to thank you, Rep. Fossella. Not for your years of “exemplary service”, but for making Staten Island hospitable to a Democratic Representative.