$10 Million Lawsuit Claims Bensonhurst Councilman Gentile Harassed Autistic Aide With Decapitated Toys


Vincent Gentile, left, photo via New York City Council. Michael Birstreich, right, photo via Linkedin

City Councilman Vincent Gentile has been charged by a former legislative aide with a $10 million lawsuit claiming Gentile subjugated him to so much humiliation — putting decapitated teddy bears on his office desk and harassing him about being autistic — he had to quit, according to charges filed Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court.

“I put my heart and soul into working there and doing my best on everything and it didn’t matter,” the former aide, Michael Bistreich, 28, told the Daily News. He went on to tell the News the mutilated stuffed animals — including a gutted and impaled dog — so distressed him he locked himself in a conference room for nearly an hour following the incident.

A local source reached out to us saying that Gentile, who represents Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, and Dyker Heights, has known Mike and his family since Mike was a child. When Gentile hired Mike, our source tells us, he was well aware of Mike’s condition, but still had enough faith and confidence in his abilities that he continually promoted Mike, eventually to the point that Mike became the face of his legislative and budget office at City Hall. In this position, Mike managed over $5 million in funds, our source says.

Then, during budget season, Mike went on vacation and vanished, angering Gentile, who demoted him when he finally returned. Angry, Mike quit without saying a word about any harassment, our source told us.

As for the stuffed animals, our source said Gentile was completely unaware of it happening.

At 4:33 p.m. this evening, Gentile sent out a statement saying, “I take this matter very seriously and will review the complaint with legal counsel.”