Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Winooski police investigate anti-Semitic threat

WINOOSKI -- Authorities are investigating an anti-Semitic threat that came into the Winooski city offices.Vermont State Police Detective Edward Meslin confirmed Tuesday that an investigation into the threat is under way, but he would not disclose any details because the investigation is continuing.

City Manager Joshua Handverger said the threat came into Fire Chief David Bergeron's office Aug. 11. The note, obtained by The Burlington Free Press, called the recipient a "Jew-loving bastard" and said the recipient of the letter is the next one to go.

The note, unsigned, appeared to target Bergeron for his perceived support of Handverger, who is Jewish, the city manager said.Bergeron told Handverger and Police Chief Steve McQueen about the note, Handverger said, and the three men met the next day to discuss it. McQueen quickly decided to contact the state police and the Vermont Attorney General's Office to start an investigation into the note, Handverger said.

"This is not the first anti-Semitic incident I experienced since I've been here," Handverger said.Handverger has been at the center of well-publicized Winooski controversies for most of the year. The city has seen disputes concerning McQueen's management of the police department, Handverger's management of city affairs, and disagreements over the state of Winooski's finances.

City officials condemned the note. "It's disconcerting to say the least," Mayor Michael O'Brien said. "It's really sad. I don't know the words to use."

City Councilor Katherine Picard said she was outraged by the threat, but said she is glad city and state officials are working together in an attempt to find out who sent the note.Contact Matt Sutkoski at 660-1846 or

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