NORWALK, Conn. – Oak Hills Park Authority Chairman Bob Virgulak gleefully gave this reporter The Finger between the closing doors of a City Hall elevator last Tuesday.
It was a beautiful sight: a sliver of visual information, with the extended digit at about waist level, Virgulak’s grin and his mane of white hair above it, glowing in the downward light. I wish I had a photo for you.
I can’t give you that but I’ve got a video taken a week and a half earlier. By chance, I encountered Virgulak, the chairman of the Oak Hills Park Authority, as I attempted to give just a sliver of positive publicity to the new Mac It Cheese on Main Street, just off Wall Street. Virgulak is the landlord of the new restaurant, but he didn’t let me get the photos I needed. Instead, he called me over so he could speak his mind.
“I have two words to say to you and they’re not ‘You’re OK.’” (It really is quite clever. Think about the extended digit, you’ll get it.)
“I’m not giving you (insert well known scatalogical reference here) and you can quote me.”
“I’m not letting the authority members give you anything either.”
“You’re a miserable person with a big mouth.”
Then I misphrased a reference to something from his past.. His eyes lit up, and there was the evil grin. “I can sue you,” he said.
Not quite, I said. The only person who heard it was you, I said.
His face fell.
I won’t tell you what I said. I might get sued, but here’s a helpful hint for any future conversations you might have about Virgulak: never say he has a criminal record. That would be a mistake.
Say, “On Oct. 9, 1982, Virgulak was sentenced to a suspended one-year prison term and two years of probation after pleading guilty to a first degree larceny charge, according to stories from newspapers that can be found online,” one of which you can find here.
So anyway, Virgulak kept repeating insults and telling me I could quote him. I finally said, “OK, let’s get it on video.”
The result is above.
The chance encounter at City Hall Tuesday was fun. I was in the elevator with Diane Cece, who had introduced me to a Republican Third Taxing District commissioner the week before. I said, “Did you hear him say, ‘Oh, you’re Damn Nancy’?”
That was great, she said, adding that the name would stick. We could combine it with her nickname, she said: “That b—ch.”
We were laughing as the elevator doors opened. There was Virgulak, with the ever-dignified, professional Board of Education Chairman Mike Lyons.
You can’t make this stuff up.
I tried to ask Lyons a question, but Virgulak diverted my attention.
“I’m not giving you anything,” he said.
“I don’t care,” I said.
“Yes, you do,” he said.
“No, I don’t,” I said.
Bingo! There’s the finger!
To my surprise, Cece decided to confront Virgulak. She took the next elevator up and followed him down the hall to the mayor’s office. They were having a verbal altercation, I guess, which the mayor broke up.
That led to a conversation with Moccia at the council meeting that evening, after the Republican Party had put on a show about civility in government.
The mayor, who has indefinitely extended Virgulak’s expired term on OHPA, said he had told Virgulak he shouldn’t have done that thing with his hand. He went on to criticize me for providing information to the public.
“It happened 40 years ago,” he said.
Well, no, 1982.
I tried to explain why we here at NancyOnNorwalk think it reasonable to share things we know about people who are in charge of governmental bodies that are struggling financially. It’s not about handling currency. It’s about hiring companies to do work for the city. There’s an idea out there that governmental officials doing that kind of thing should absolutely be above reproach. What a concept!