Aug. 16, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
Republican Councilmember Vickie Paladino has posted a video of herself confronting an alleged squatter in College Point.
The video, which was posted to Paladino’s Twitter page yesterday, captures the lawmaker in a heated exchange Monday with a man outside a house in the vicinity of 20th Avenue and 146th Street. The footage shows the man repeatedly shouting obscenities at her in front of the partially boarded-up house, and at one point he blows smoke from a joint into Paladino’s face.
The man, according to Paladino, has been living in the house even though its occupants have been served with an eviction notice by the city. It is unclear when the notice was issued and how long the man has been living there.
“This will not stand on my watch,” Paladino wrote alongside the video post that has been viewed more than 80,000 times. “Homeowners have rights and our neighborhood deserve[s] better. More action coming.”
There’s a known squatter house in my district at 20th Ave and 146th street in College Point. This morning I viewed the house and confronted the squatters personally.
This will not stand on my watch. Homeowners have rights and our neighborhoods deserve better. More action coming. pic.twitter.com/8Qtr6y5cnr
— Councilwoman Vickie Paladino (@VickieforNYC) August 15, 2022
The video begins with Paladino on the sidewalk looking at the house while the man – who is smoking a joint and inside a car — begins to reverse out of the driveway of the house.
The man asks Paladino from inside the car if he could help her with something.
“Yeah, this is a disgrace, it’s a disgrace” Paladino says, pointing her finger at the house and then walking toward the car. The house appears to be in poor condition with two of its front windows covered with wood.
The man replies, “Go fuck yourself,” to which Paladino then responds, “go fuck yourself, how’s that?”
Paladino then stares at the alleged squatter through the car window.
“You got an eviction notice… you’d better make sure you get out because we won’t have these goings-on in this neighborhood,” says Paladino, who represents Council District 19 in northeast Queens. “It won’t happen, it just won’t happen.”
The man then responds by quietly saying: “I’m sorry.”
But Paladino was not done with the conversation and the man’s half-hearted apology was not deemed enough.
“You’re not sorry,” Paladino retorts. “What are you [drug] dealing out of this house?”
The confrontation then heats up.
The man gets out of the car and walks toward Paladino while adjusting his sagging shorts. He has a joint in one hand and a cell phone in the other.
“Why don’t you do me a fucking favor and get the fuck over there,” the man says, indicating he wants the lawmaker to move away from the front of the house.
She then tells him that he is threatening an elected official before she moves a few steps backward.
As the man turns away Paladino then asks him what he has in his mouth.
He then quips back and blows smoke in her face before saying “weed.” He also appears to blow smoke in the direction of the woman recording the incident.
“It’s legal… go fuck yourself,” the man says to Paladino and the woman.
Paladino told the Queens Post that she was prompted to confront the man after speaking to concerned constituents about squatters in the district. She said she is unafraid of tackling issues such as squatting directly.
“Squatters are a problem throughout our city, thanks to years of bad policy, and my district has not been immune,” said Paladino, who is one of five GOP lawmakers in the 51-member city council.
“I have heard from my community and have been actively working with civic leaders and law enforcement to restore the integrity of our neighborhoods. This is a hands-on job and I will not be intimidated.”
Democratic Councilmember Robert Holden took to Twitter late Monday and praised Paladino for confronting the alleged squatter.
Holden, who represents District 30 in central Queens, also called for the alleged squatter to be evicted and arrested.
“That squatter isn’t a victim and needs to be evicted immediately,” Holden tweeted.
“The landlord and neighborhood are the victims. He should also be arrested for harassment and maybe operating a vehicle under the influence. Good for @vickiefornyc for standing up to him.”