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Friday Morning Massacre

The Politicker is reporting that Joseph Mercurio has been fired as Virginia Fields top campaign consultant, and that Fields has terminated her contract with Winning Directions. The campaign claims that Mercurio's falling-on-his-sword is due to "strategic differences" ... sort of like "wanting to spend more time with my family."

Comments for the Politicker post are here.

Update: NY1 News reports on the campaign's "major shakeup." According to Mercurio, he did not approve, print or send out the flyer with the doctored photograph. Mercurio claims that all senior advisors in the campaign as well as Fields herself had seen and approved the flyer, contradicting Fields' statements from yesterday.

For the NY1 report text, click below.

To listen to the NY1 report (audio only), click here.

To listen to the WNBC report (audio only), click here.

Fields Fires Adviser In Wake Of Campaign Photo Scandals
NY1 News
July 8, 2005

Candidate for mayor C. Virginia Fields has announced a major shakeup in her campaign staff in the wake of two scandals involving photos used in her campaign for mayor.

Fields announced Friday morning that she has fired her top campaign adviser Joe Mercurio.

The New York Times reported Thursday that a picture of Fields with a group of firefighters was in violation of Fire Department rules banning the use of firefighter images for political purposes. The photo appeared on Fields' website and in a political mailing sent out last month.

That flap followed Wednesday's revelation that the Fields campaign sent out a campaign flyer with a doctored photo showing the candidate with people from different races. The photo was actually a collage of four separate images.

In a statement released Friday morning, Fields says: "This is totally unacceptable and does not adhere to the standards I have set for myself and my campaign."

Mercurio is taking no responsibility for the flier fiasco. He says originally the photo showed mostly whites, then two Asian faces were added.

"I didn't send it out and I didn't print it and I didn't ask for the initial changes in the piece," he said. "And everyone who was senior in the campaign saw it, and the people who needed to vet it who knew the people in the photographs didn't vet it."

Mercurio has stirred up controversy in the campaign before. He made disparaging comments about former Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro, who endorsed Fields opponent Fernando Ferrer. Fields later apologized.

The borough president's campaign is the second in this years mayor's race to undergo a shakeup. In April, Ferrer lost his media strategist and communications director.