ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Dr. Nicholas Nicosia, a prominent local dentist responded Friday to allegations that his house played host to a racist party that a Black Rochester firefighter was allegedly forced to attend.
In his statement, Nicosia said he and his wife, Mary, “strongly disagree with how we are being characterized,” but also announced his resignation from the Highland Hospital board of directors.
This follows news that Jerrod Jones, a 14-year veteran of the Rochester Fire Department, intends to sue the City of Rochester and RFD claiming they mishandled his complaint that accuses Captain Jeff Krywy of forcing three subordinates, including Jones, to attend a private Juneteenth spoof party while on the clock on July 7.
Jones says the party had large Juneteenth celebration flags propped up on the lawn not far from buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken along with cognac and Juneteenth commemorative cups.
Juneteenth is a holiday that celebrates the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans.
The Nicosias own the home where the party took place.
Friday, Nicholas Nicosia sent this statement to News 8:
“My wife Mary and I were surprised and disappointed about the allegations that have been made against us, and by the responses being posted on social media. We strongly disagree with how we are being characterized and are hopeful that the community will hold its judgment while we seek to clear our names. Highland Hospital has asked me to step down from its Board of Directors, and I have agreed to do so, so that I can focus my efforts on restoring our reputations.”
The Rochester Americans broke ties with Nicosia, who was the team’s dentist, on Friday. The team released a statement saying, “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.”
Also Friday The Landmark Society of Western New York tweeted that Mary Nicosia, a member of the organization’s board of directors, has been suspended effective immediately pending an investigation into the incident adding, “The allegations, as described, in no way align with our organization’s core values.”
As of Monday, RFD Captain Krywy has chosen to retire before termination proceedings begin, according to Rochester Mayor Malik Evans.
“The underlying issues that bring us to today were not created in the last eight months. I thank Fire Chief Felipe Hernandez for his continued commitment to addressing the structural biases and cultural challenges within the RFD. We will share regular updates on our work to tackle these longstanding issues in the weeks to come“
The allegations were also felt in the race for New York’s 25th Congressional District, where Democratic incumbent Joe Morelle faces Republican La’Ron Singletary.
The Joe Morelle for Congress Campaign sent out a statement Friday, saying, “Nicholas Nicosia and Mary Znidarsic, hosts of the racist party mocking Juneteenth, were among the earliest financial supporters of La’Ron Singletary and have contributed donations totaling over $1,000. La’Ron must immediately disavow their racism and return all financial donations.”
Singletary responded to the Morelle Campaign statement Friday, saying, “My opponent wants me to return all financial donations received and condemn racism. I did all that YESTERDAY. On Thursday, August 11, 2022, as soon as I became aware of the incident, I directed my campaign team to return all donations received, which totaled $1,250.00. I also issued statements on my social media platforms addressing the situation. My political opponent wants me to condemn an act, for which he has not done himself. I will put my character and integrity up against his any day.”
Statement from Highland Hospital
“Highland Hospital and the University of Rochester Medical Center have asked for the resignation of board member Dr. Nicholas Nicosia, and he has agreed, an action effective immediately. The behavior described in the allegations is deplorable and we in no way condone it. 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.”
Statement from The Landmark Society of Western NY
“We were shocked and appalled to learn of the very serious allegations regarding a party that was held at the Nicosia residence this past July. Mary Nicosia, who is a member of our Board of Directors, has been suspended, effective immediately, pending the details of the full investigation and findings. The allegations, as described, in no way align with our organization’s core values.“
Statement from the Rochester Americans hockey team
“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.”
Statement from the Landmark Society of Western New York
“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.“