A New York state lawmaker apologized Wednesday after a video surfaced of his profane rant against a man who hounded him with questions about a hotly contested gas-storage plan.
The Albany Times-Union obtained video of a Dec. 13 encounter between state Sen. Tom O’Mara (R) and the unidentified man, who secretly recorded their conversation. The video is poor quality, but the man appears to have approached O’Mara and his wife as they sat in a car.
The conversation between the two men is civil at the beginning. The unidentified man asks O’Mara what his goals for the area are before bringing up a proposed liquified petroleum gas storage facility, which the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin reports is controversial among local vineyard owners and wineries.
After several minutes of back-and-forth about the potential hazards of the gas storage facility, O’Mara’s wife joins the conversation.
“He would never, ever, ever support anything that would contaminate this area in any way, shape or form,” she tells the man.
“That’s interesting,” the man replies.
That brief comment set O’Mara off on a nearly minute-long rant.
“What do you mean ‘that’s interesting?'” he says. “What the fuck do you mean ‘that’s interesting?'”
“For crying out loud what the fuck do you mean ‘that’s interesting?'” O’Mara continues, his voice rising. “I did nothing but sit here answering your fucking questions and you tell me that’s fucking interesting? You’re a fucking douchebag, get the fuck out of my face, right now. Now! No, move. Move. Move, asswipe, now. I’ve had enough of you and your kind. Get the fuck out of here! I’ve had enough. Get the fuck out of here! Get moving.”
The lawmaker later issued a lengthy statement that said he had been concerned for his “personal safety” during the anonymous man’s “stunt.”
“In hindsight, and especially in light of the fact that he was surreptitiously recording the exchange, I should not have attempted to respond to an unidentified stranger who was clearly looking to give me and my wife a hard time for his own purposes … It’s regrettable that the exchange ultimately turned heated and, as an elected official, I regret the words and tone that were used,” O’Mara said, as quoted by the Times-Union. “I still don’t like the underhanded tactics, but I should know better.”
Watch below via the Times-Union: