2003-07-30 / Front Page

Rival Campaign Worker Arrested For

Death Threats To Monserrate
by john toscano

While the city was still trying to cope with the trauma caused by the murder of City Councilmember James Davis last week, his colleague, Councilmember Hiram Monserrate, reported to police that a volunteer for a rival candidate had made repeated death threats against Monserrate and members of his staff.

Monserrate (D–Corona), like Davis an ex-cop, identified the person who made the threats as Julio Abreu. Abreu was arrested after the lawmaker reported the threats to police at the 110th Precinct in Elmhurst on July 9.

Monserrate said Abreu a Corona resident was a member of Luis Jiminez campaign staff. Jiminez is challenging Monserrate for the Democratic nomination in the September primary.

Monserrate said, "After the tragedy that took the life of my friend and colleague, Councilmember James Davis, it is clearly necessary to take all threatening behavior seriously. I am relieved to know that the NYPD has apprehended the suspect and look forward to resolving this matter and continuing my work on behalf of the community."

Abreu has been charged with making terroristic threats, a felony, and harassment. The charges carry a sentence of seven years in prison if Abreu is found guilty.

Davis, of Brooklyn, was shot to death last Wednesday by Othneil Askew, who was contemplating challenging Davis in the primary. The shooting occurred on the balcony of the Council Chamber on the second floor at City Hall as Monserrate and other councilmembers prepared for a council meeting. Askew was in turn killed by Police Officer Richard Burt, who was on temporary duty with Council Speaker Gifford Miller’s security detail.

Monserrate said the threats by Abreu were made over the past month against himself and members of his staff. On June 24, Abreu allegedly stopped Juan Gomez, a volunteer in Monserrate’s campaign, and accused him of ripping down several of Jiminez’ campaign posters, a police source said.

The next day, he allegedly called Gomez and threatened to shoot both him and Monserrate. He said he had a gun and would use it, the source said.

Then on July 9, Abreu allegedly called another Monserrate aide, Louis Lugo, and repeated his threats. Lugo contacted detectives after Davis was shot last Wednesday and both he and Monserrate went to report the threats to police.

Monserrate said he had given police two tapes of calls made by Abreu.

"I’m relieved they arrested him," Monserrate said.

Jiminez refused to make any comment on the alleged threats and referred all questions to his attorney.

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