Losing New York City Council Candidate Claims Incumbent Placed a Curse on Her

Thursday, January 09, 2014
Controversial mural by David "RIMX" Sepulveda

New York City’s recent city council election produced plenty of losing candidates. But Gwen Goodwin, who finished last in the six-candidate Democratic primary for District Eight, chalked up her defeat to a little voodoo by her opponent, Melissa Mark-Viverito.


Goodwin says the three-term incumbent, who was unanimously chosen speaker of the city council on Wednesday, won the election after she put a Caribbean curse on the building in which Goodwin lives.


Goodwin received only 9% of the vote, compared to Mark-Viverito’s 35%).


Despite the large gap, Goodwin insisted that it was the mural painted on her apartment building that cost her the election, she claims in a lawsuit filed against Mark-Viverito and Eastside Managers’ Associates in New York County Supreme Court.


The mural depicts “a decapitated and wooden-sword-stabbed bird of prey, on information and belief, and 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,” her complaint reads.


The man who painted the mural, Don “RIMX” Sepulveda, had a different interpretation of this work.


“Representing the Street of the Beautiful People who work to support their families and are far away from their countries by things in life,” Rimx, who is Puerto Rican, wrote on his website in Spanish, according to Courthouse News Service. “And they are going to fly like migratory birds to follow Building their Dreams of giving to theirs that which they never had.”


The painting was produced as part of Los Muros Hablan (The Walls Speak), a project of New York City’s El Museo del Barrio and the San Juan-based cultural center El Repuesto.


Goodwin blames Mark-Viverito for the project, noting that the painting was unveiled in a public ceremony attended by the defendant a week before the primary.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Would-Be Councilwoman Squawks About Bird Hex (by Adam Klasfeld, Courthouse News Service)

Loser Pol: Rival Put a Caribbean Hex on Me (by Julia Marsh, New York Post)

Mural at the Center of East Harlem Council Race Pitting Melissa Mark-Viverito vs. Gwen Goodwin (by Simone Weichselbaum, New York Daily News)

City Council Election Results (New York Times)

Loser of Romanian Election Claims He was Defeated by Negative Energy Waves (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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