Mercurio Responds

Just got off the phone with Joe Mercurio, who says he shouldn’t be the one taking the blame for Virginia’s doctored mail piece, and who will be appearing on NY1’s Road to City Hall tonight to tell his side of the story.

The bottom line: he says the piece was “printed over my objections,” and that Fields saw before and after versions of the flier.

The piece, originally designed in March, went through a dozen drafts, he said. They were circulated to Fields along with her top political and government staffers.

“Before and after versions of the piece with the Anglos and with the Asians was circulated to her chief-of staff, her deputy borough president, her, and the treasurer,” Mercurio said.

Mercurio originally objected to the flyer, he said, because he thought it wasn’t a good use of campaign cash. He also said the photograph, and the photoshopped Asians, were put in as a placeholder, and that he wouldn’t have used a photograph that included political staffers who hadn’t endorsed the candidate.

“It never should have went out for reasons that had nothing to do with the two stock photos,” he said.

Mercurio said he thought the piece was on hold.

“Then one day I get a phone call from Al Handell at Astoria Graphics saying [campaign manager] Chung Seto and [treasurer] Milton Wilson sent him over a low resolution .pdf for a run of printing…. Milton called me and insisted that I get the artwork from Winning Directions. It had to be done, it had to be done then. Winning Directions was gracious enough to send over the artwork.”

A Fields aide disputed Mercurio’s version, and said she had not seen before and after versions of the photograph.

To the extent that this is all a big deal, the central issue seems to me to be whether Virginia saw the before and after versions of the flyer, and if she did, why she didn’t mention that at Wednesday’s press conference.

And beyond that, the question is who will capitalize on a mess that will surely make it very hard for Virginia to go anywhere but down. Can Ferrer revive his support among black voters? Can Miller or Weiner make inroads?

And how hard is Kevin Sheekey laughing? Mercurio Responds