UPDATE: Mary Nicosia removed from position at Landmark Society following accusations about party
UPDATE: The Landmark Society of Western New York announced on Wednesday that it unanimously voted to remove Mary Nicosia from her position as a member of the board of trustees.
The Landmark Society previously suspended Nicosia after accusations that a party where people mocked Juneteenth took place at her house.
Here is the full statement from the Landmark Society:
After providing the required notice, as outlined in our organization’s bylaws, a special meeting of the Board of Trustees of The Landmark Society of Western New York, Inc. (“Landmark Society”) was held on August 30, 2022. At that meeting the Board of Trustees of the Landmark Society voted unanimously to permanently remove Mary Nicosia from our Board of Trustees and any affiliated committees, effective immediately.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Nicholas and Mary Nicosia said that the party hosted at their East Avenue home did not mock Juneteenth. Mary Nicosia apologized for making racist statements on a Twitter account that she owned.
The Nicosia couple and their attorney spoke at a Tuesday news conference in Pittsford about the party that was the focus of a lawsuit against the Fire Department and the city of Rochester. They said that some of the claims made in the lawsuit were false.
Both Nicosias have been suspended from organizations that they worked with.
The attorney for the Nicosia couple, Corey Hogan, said the party was intended to make fun of liberal politicians, not Juneteenth. He presented an invitation to the party that described it as a “liberal smashing splish splash pool party.”
In the lawsuit, Rochester firefighter Jerrod Jones said the party used old stereotypes, like buckets of fried chicken from KFC and the alcoholic drink Hennessy, to make fun of Juneteenth, a holiday to commemorate liberation from slavery. Jones said there were Juneteenth signs near the fried chicken.
Hogan said that the fried chicken wasn’t displayed in a way that mocked African Americans. Mary Nicosia said the food choice was random, out of convenience, and there were no Juneteenth signs near the chicken.
The lawsuit described two large Juneteenth flags. Hogan said there were only small Juneteenth-themed decorations, such as a sign in a plant pot. He said there were other holiday-themed decorations at the party, including Fourth of July decorations and Christmas snowflakes.
According to Hogan, the party wasn’t Juneteenth-themed but instead, had an assortment of decorations with different holiday themes from the dollar store.
The lawsuit also described a party that aimed to insult local elected officials.
Hogan went through a series of photos that were set of photos to resemble the party’s setup. Hogan and the Nicosia couple said they didn’t have any actual photos of the party, but they’re looking for photos from guests.
The replica photos show some of what the lawsuit describes, like a cutout photo of Donald Trump. The lawsuit said there were images of local politicians with stakes through them throughout the yard. The replica photos show that the images of politicians were on a lawn sign type frame, upright, and the politicians’ faces weren’t desecrated. One replica photo showed a game of bean-bag toss with photos of County Legislator Rachel Barnhart and City Council Vice President Mary Lupien placed upright behind the wooden slots.
Hogan said he would share actual photos of the party with News10NBC if any become available.
The lawsuit said that someone at the party impersonated Legislator Barnhart as a stripper. Mary Nicosia said that someone was portraying Barnhart in a humorous skit, similar to Saturday Night Live, but she was not acting in a sexual manner.
Mary Nicosia confessed to running a racist Twitter account where she posed as a different persona. She apologized to the African American people who she offended by her Tweets.
Nicosia said she would not apologize for holding the party at her house.
“A party of 10 that I hosted for friends of mine makes me feel incredibly guilty and it makes me feel like I hurt my family. I will likely have this guilt and pain with me and anger for a long time if not the rest of my life,” she said.
Nicholas Nicosia said he has lost members of his dental practice because of the claim that the party at his house mocked Juneteenth.
“I never really understood cancel culture until I experienced the speed that this organized, malicious, well-orchestrated politically charged attack happened. We were tried and convicted on social media in a false narrative that was created,” he said. “Organizations like Highland Hospital and the Rochester Americans immediately distanced themselves who I have been associated with and both quickly issued boilerplate responses.”
Mary Nicosia said the party ended up having 17 guests total, including four firefighters. According to the lawsuit, firefighter Jones said he saw a member of the Rochester Police Department at the party. Nicosia said there was no RPD member at the party.
Organizations that the Nicosia couple worked for have condemned the alleged actions.
Highland Hospital said that it was appalled by the allegations against Dr. Nicholas Nicosia and said the actions described were against the hospital’s values. The hospital announced on Twitter that they asked for the resignation of Nicosia and he accepted the resignation.
“We understand the profoundly negative impact these allegations have made on our community, and we felt swift action was necessary to continue to fulfill our mission and values,” the hospital wrote in a series of Tweets.
Nicosia was a team dentist for the hockey team Rochester Amerks. The Amerks said in a statement that they have chosen to end Nicosia’s relationship with the team. The statement said:
“We have chosen to end Dr. Nicosia’s relationship with our team upon learning of recent allegations. We do not tolerate racism in any form and it has no place in our world. We urge all individuals to help end racism and choose love in all their interactions with others.”
The Landmark Society of Western New York said it was appalled by the allegations against Mary Nicosia and announced her suspension as a member of their board of directors. The statement said the actions described don’t align with the Landmark Society’s values.