Friday, June 17, 2016
A Democratic Party “tracker” was fired Thursday for allegedly stalking the family of a Republican candidate challenging Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, The Post has learned.
The wife of candidate Phil Oliva said she caught state Democratic operative Yougourthen Ayouni peering into the windows of their family home in the Westchester County town of Somers.
“He was hunched over looking inside,” Jessica Oliva told The Post. “I’m always breast-feeding. It’s scary. Do we have to have a police officer stationed outside our house?”
The Oliva family filed a harassment incident report with the Somers Police Department against Ayouni — who was fired by New York Democratic Party officials when news of his heavy-handed tactics was revealed.
“It’s behavior that is unacceptable to us and will not be tolerated. He’s been fired,” said the state party’s executive director, Basil Smikle.
Trackers are common in political campaigns — though they usually “track” only public statements by candidates. They don’t follow candidates to their homes.
But Ayouni — a freelance model who uses the alias Jonathan Aelius Zheglov — admitted on video to visiting the residence of Oliva, who is running for Maloney’s seat in the 18th Congressional District, which covers Orange and Putnam counties and parts of Westchester and Dutchess counties.
The Post viewed the video.
Ayouni also admitted to contacting Jessica Oliva on the Facebook page of her fitness business, Fit Mama 4 Life.
“I came across your account and would love to join you on this webinar!” he wrote as Zheglov.
Ayouni also used the alias when he contacted Phil Oliva on Facebook, allegedly to spy on him.
Ayouni then started showing up in White Plains with his video camera, questioning the candidate during his lunch break about abortion and Donald Trump.
After figuring out Ayouni was the man at his home, Phil Oliva and a friend found him and questioned him on their own video.
“I’m working for the Democratic Party,” Ayouni said on their video. “The Democratic Party hired me.”
Oliva then asked Ayouni why he contacted his wife via Facebook.
“I contacted the company she started, but not directly . . . I like to be fit. It wasn’t under false pretenses,” Ayouni said. “I’m not stalking your spouse. She posted something under her company name.”
Asked if he stopped at the Oliva residence, Ayouni said: “Yeah . . . I drove by the road you live in. I’m not going after your wife. I wanted to see if you were out walking, so I can ask you a couple of questions.”
At one point, Oliva looks into the camera, addresses Maloney and says: “Stop going to my house. Stop contacting my wife. This is why good people don’t want to run for office.”
Maloney’s campaign referred questions to the state party.
Ayouni did not return a call or emails for comment.
Oliva faces Kenneth Del Vecchio in the June 28 GOP primary for the chance to challenge Maloney, a two-term Democratic congressman, in November.