Brooklyn Borough President fires Diana Richardson – New York Daily News

Diana Richardson, a former Crown Heights assemblywoman, has effectively been terminated from her job as Brooklyn’s deputy borough president following a string of staff and constituent complaints about her behavior, the Brooklyn Borough President confirmed.
“After a series of conversations, Ms. Diana Richardson will no longer serve at Brooklyn Borough Hall as of Oct. 17, 2022. We wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors as she continues to help communities grow and thrive,” borough president spokeswoman Stephanie Guzman said in an exclusive statement to the Daily News.
Richardson, who stepped down from elected office to work in the largely ceremonial borough president’s office under Antonio Reynoso, berated and cursed at staffers, violated COVID-19 protocols and nearly came to blows with the head of an anti-violence program in Crown Heights, multiple sources with inside knowledge of the office said.
Then-New York City Assemblywoman Diana Richardson, 33, makes a court appearance at Brooklyn Supreme Court on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, where she is charged with beating her 12-year-old son with a broomstick because of his grades. Bowen was taken to the hospital for bruises on his arm. (Jesse Ward/for New York Daily News)
During that episode, which happened in April, a disagreement between Camara Jackson, the head of the mentoring and anti-violence program Elite Learners, and Richardson escalated to the point where the two women had to be separated, multiple sources confirmed. Jackson confirmed the incident, but declined to discuss the confrontation.
Insiders say that the confrontation was emblematic of her behavior in general in her role as deputy borough president.
Her tenure seemed troubled from the beginning starting with an attempted cleansing ritual by burning sage in her new office. The subsequent smoke set off a fire alarm which prompted a response from the New York City Fire Department.
In another incident, during a Haitian Flag Day celebration in Borough hall on May 18, staffers tasked with maintaining COVID-19 rules for entering the event turned away two entertainers for not being able to show proof of vaccination.
Called to intervene, arrived and ordered the staffers to allow the men into the building. She then berated staffers who had tried to bar them for not adhering to the stated policy.
Richardson was supposed to apologize during a staff meeting on May 26, but only said that her ‘words have been misconstrued,’ according to multiple sources who did not want to be named for fear of retribution.
“It is important to note that all claims of employee misconduct at Brooklyn Borough Hall are taken seriously and are fully investigated, with appropriate repercussions faced in accordance with city policy,” Guzman said. “Borough President Reynoso remains committed to Brooklyn, his staff and his constituents during this transition period.”
Diana Richardson (left) and Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso (right) (New York Daily News)
Richardson, who made headlines in 2016 after her 12-year-old son filed an abuse complaint against her with police, kept a bottle of Absolut vodka in her office and struggled with everyday tasks like email and scheduling, according to at least two people with knowledge of the inner workings of the office.
Others complained that the former assemblywoman rarely used email, told staffers to take notes off her handwritten notes — which they’re not allowed to keep — and was annoyed when staffers asked for time to do research. The deputy borough president was eventually asked to work from home in an effort to limit her interactions with the staff.
Richardson’s appointment was widely regarded as political payback after she helped Reynoso stitch together enough votes to win office.
“She went with him for borough president. They were successful. They were a good team,” Alicia Boyd, a community organizer who leads the anti-development Movement to Protect the People, said. “Richardson got a large percentage of her constituents to vote for him because she supported him. He brought her into his administration as a way of paying her back.”
Both politicians hail from the New Kings Democrats, a younger, more progressive splinter group that often spars with the Brooklyn Democratic Party.
“One thing that Diana was really good at was that her constituents really support her, even when she wasn’t getting a lot done [in Albany], they supported her,” Boyd said. “In the community, there’s a percentage of the people who like the fact that she challenged authority. They like the fact that she was not representing the traditional behaviors and that she was willing the speak the truth, quote unquote.”
Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, the leader of the county party, did not endorse Richardson for reelection after the former assemblywoman posted a long Facebook video accusing Bichotte Hermelyn and then-Borough President Eric Adams of trying to undermine her political career.
“What Diana has to understand, and most people need to understand, is that when you’re working in a political environment, you have to be nice to folks. You have to be nice with people that you may not like, you have to be nice,” Boyd said. “Diana lets her emotions get away from her sometimes.”
Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso (Jefferson Siegel/New York Daily News)
Richardson’s borough president post with Reynoso has been widely seen as a chance for her to make a fresh start, but from the beginning, it seemed like the same behavioral pattern continued.
Borough president staffers complained that she often bragged about being the most powerful woman in Brooklyn and could be dismissive and disrespectful.
Richardson started her political career on the Crown Heights Community Board and worked with tenant rights groups fighting gentrification in the neighborhood. She was elected to the 43rd Assembly District in 2015, which was an open seat.
The next year she made the news when her 12-year-old son went to the NYPD’s 71st Precinct stationhouse and filed a report, saying that she beat him with a wooden stick during an argument over his homework. Richardson was charged with assault, endangering the welfare of a child, criminal possession of a weapon and menacing, the Daily News reported at the time. The charges were eventually reduced to misdemeanors and have since been sealed.
Known for making anti-Semitic remarks, she reportedly blamed gentrification in her assembly district, including East Flatbush, Flatbush, Crown Heights and Prospect Lefferts Gardens, on Jewish people. She went on to defend Nick Cannon after the TV host was fired from Viacom for promoting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. She eventually walked back her support, though, saying she did not “condone anti-Semitism” and called Cannon’s comments “distasteful.”
Richardson did not return repeated calls and email requesting comment for this story.
Copyright © 2022, New York Daily News
Copyright © 2022, New York Daily News


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