Organizers for the “Faith Over Fear” non-partisan mayoral forum said they are “deeply disappointed” Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey has canceled his participation in their Thursday night event.
Massey’s campaign spokeswoman Mollie Fullington said the candidate pulled out because, “the entire event changed at the last minute: the moderator, the tone, the format. The plan was for Paul to engage in an open-ended, open-minded discussion about the important issues of faith and the community and it is now clear it is an agenda-driven event.”
Onleilove Alston, the executive director of Faith in New York, which is organizing the event, said they sent candidates a revised list of questions and topics earlier Thursday, after getting feedback from other faith leaders helping to host the forum.
In a statement, Alston said, “We are deeply disappointed that Mr. Massey’s campaign pulled out once they saw the questions from community members as the later edition of the questions were respectful. It is our right as New Yorkers and faith leaders to ask our candidates about the policies that matter to us, those we serve and our families.”
Massey’s rival in the Republican mayoral primary, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, has been invited to the forum, but a campaign spokesman said she is in Albany for legislative votes and it is unclear if she will make it back in time to attend. A spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign said the mayor has a scheduling conflict, but will speak to the group at a later date.
Others expected to attend include Democratic mayoral candidates Sal Albanese, a former member of the City Council who ran for mayor in 2013, Robert Gangi, a police reform activist and Michael Tolkin, a tech entrepreneur.
The event starts at 6:30 p.m, at First Corinthian Baptist Church, located at 1912 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. and West 116th Street, in Manhattan.