Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s longtime Republican opponent has labeled the left-wing legislature a “creator of the crime wave” — but in fact the GOP candidate’s own family has been part of the surge in illegal activity she has lamented.
A Snopes investigation earlier this year revealed that Tina Forte has a long history of flirting with the violent margins of the political right: She posts social media photos of herself with the leader of the Proud Boys gang, shares QAnon-flavored slogans, and takes even participated in events surrounding Donald Trump’s January 6 rally that culminated in the US Capitol’s bloody rampage. But as a candidate for Congress, Forte has profiled herself as a more conventional Republican, playing off her small-business background and appealing to fears of rising crime rates, which she has blamed for bail laws passed by New York State after the progressive golf has been liberalized four years ago.
“AOC and its socialist allies have pushed for the defunding of our police force and the disastrous bail reform policies that have increased crime in New York,” Forte’s website states. “Tina and her husband started a soft drink delivery route and then built their own beverage distribution company. Now they not only create jobs, but also enable others to start their own businesses.”
Forte returned to these themes during appearances in conservative media shortly after she won the Republican nomination for the predominantly Democratic seat, which spans parts of Queens and the Bronx.
“I grew up here, I have a business here, I raised my family here. I can see the difference,” she said in a UKTN News interview in August. “We have the criminals who will be released immediately because of the AOC-backed bail reform.”
She hit nearly identical notes on Newsmax.
“I have spoken to many people in the area. I was born there, raised there, my family is there, I have my businesses here: I know this neighbourhood. And I know the crime has gotten out of hand,” Forte said, rejecting what she described as a pattern of absence and neglect on the part of the incumbent.
But what Forte failed to mention is that in 2019 her family’s liquor distribution warehouse was the center of a federal drug and weapons break-in — culminating in IOUs by her husband and son, who are both serial offenders.
In a 2020 Facebook post, Forte posted her company at an address on Bronx’s Stillwell Avenue, and in her financial communications to the House Clerk’s office, she stated her husband’s income came from a company located in the same building.
It was this exact location that identified a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent as the scene of the crimes of Joseph “Joey Snapple” Galdieri — whom Forte is married to, according to records in a Rockland County suburb, where the couple owns a home. far beyond the confines of the congressional district – and their son Joseph Galdieri Jr.
In a statement to The Daily Beast, Forte put the blame entirely on her son, claiming her husband’s involvement was incidental and unintentional. She claimed to be ignorant of his criminal activities at the time and said he lived separately from her and her family.
“One of my three children, Joseph, has made some very bad decisions. In 2019, at the age of 25, he committed a nonviolent marijuana offense and was in possession of a firearm. Joseph paid the price, in fines, attorney fees and time behind bars,” Forte wrote in a statement to The Daily Beast. “As for my husband, he was unaware of our son’s crimes. He was only charged because my son used our business location for a single delivery of marijuana.”
However, this characterization is at odds with the FBI agent’s account of the father and son’s activities, as they relayed the contents of wiretapped calls and security footage from the beverage hub. In the indictment, the officer described the son as arranging the delivery of $150,000 worth of marijuana over the phone, while cameras caught his father directly behind him in the warehouse’s office.
The agent further cited tapes on which Galdieri Sr. captured a meeting with the co-conspirator who took a truckload of weed to the distribution center and handed him a black plastic bag full of cash.
While searching the site, federal agents discovered a semiautomatic pistol with its serial number illegally sanded off in a drawer that Galdieri Sr. opened and searched multiple times for the security role.
Because both Galdieris are convicted felons — the juvenile charged in multiple states with drugs and the father found guilty of second-degree assault — would not be able to own a firearm under state or federal law.
The elder Galdieri, who pleaded for a single count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana, was sentenced last fall, plus two years’ probation and a $20,000 forfeiture of his proceeds from the scheme.
Junior, meanwhile, was charged with gun possession and given 18 months in federal prison, followed by two years of supervised release. Attempts to get him fired in early June failed, with the judge noting that he “continued to engage in criminal behavior even during his parole” by continuing to trade marijuana.
However, Forte told The Daily Beast that her son is now free, thanks to his good behavior and volunteering with older inmates.
“As a result of my son’s behavior, our lives were turned upside down. My son knows he doesn’t stand a chance with me anymore,” Forte wrote. “His mistakes are better over, otherwise he has more on his mind than the police.”
One of the points on which Ms. Forte’s webpage is easing her law-and-order stance is calling for “the records of non-violent marijuana possession charges to be cleared” as New York State continues to use recreational cannabis in 2021 legalized. the state still doesn’t allow the drug to be sold without a license, and Ms. Forte’s website doesn’t talk about federal gun charges or violent crimes like her husband’s 2013 assault rap. a crime in New York involved controlled substances other than marijuana.
“This experience has given me insight into the reforms we desperately need, including decriminalization of marijuana, banning marijuana violations and restoring rights for nonviolent offenders,” Forte wrote in her statement to The Daily Beast.