Republicans in Florida’s Broward County are in a bit of an awkward situation after finding out that a newly elected member of their executive board was once charged with attempted murder.
According to the Miami Herald, 28-year-old Rupert Tarsey was charged with attempted murder in Los Angeles a decade ago after he attacked a classmate with a claw hammer, hitting her over the head around 40 times and splitting her skull open.
But Tarsey is resisting local GOP officials’ calls for him to resign.
“Why should I resign?” Tarsey told the Herald. “I did nothing wrong and I was elected. This is just party politics.”
Records show that Tarsey used his mother’s maiden name when he moved to Florida, but he claimed that he wasn’t trying to hide his identity. “I’m estranged from my dad,” he said.
From the Miami Herald:
After earning an MBA from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Tarsey got married and had two children, with another one on the way.
For years, he quietly volunteered on Republican campaigns, including Trump’s. Then in May, Tarsey presented himself at the election for the party’s executive board. He won a three-candidate race for secretary with 75 votes.
Tarsey’s real identity was discovered by a member who alerted local GOP Chairman Bob Sutton over the Labor Day weekend.
Local GOP Chairman Bob Sutton said he and other board members were “blindsided” by the revelations.
“He’s a member of the Knights of Columbus, for Christ’s sake,” Sutton told the Herald. “And he came highly recommended by the former chair. We had no idea what his background is. We want him out but he is refusing to resign. He deceived us. It looks like he even used a reputation management firm to make sure we wouldn’t find out who he is.”
Nevertheless, Sutton was banned from party functions on Tuesday.
According to reports on the incident, then-teenage Tarsey was arrested in 2007 after the attack took place near a prestigious Los Angeles private school. Tarsey allegedly invited the victim, Elizabeth Barcay, to Jamba Juice after a big exam. After parking the car they were riding in, he pulled a hammer from a backpack and began hitting her the head. He then pulled her from the car using a chokehold and threw her on the ground before driving away.
Prosecutors filed the case in juvenile court where it was eventually dismissed. When the case was tried again in adult court, Tarsey said he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor. “It’s not the charges that matter, it’s what happens in court,” be said.
“This whole thing is in retaliation for my speaking out against Bob [Sutton],” he claimed. “It’s politics.”
Featured image via Miami Herald