City pol crashes civic meeting to confront disgraced ex-cop she claims is stalking and threatening her staff

Sam Esposito, president of the Ozone Park Civic, seen in suit and tie, left; center inset of Councilwoman Joann Ariola and chief of staff phyllis inserillo; inserillo at right in front of howard beach sign.
Sam Esposito, president of the Ozone Park Civic, seen in suit and tie, left; center inset of Councilwoman Joann Ariola and chief of staff phyllis inserillo; inserillo at right in front of howard beach sign.

A Queens pol claims her top staffer is being threatened and stalked by an unhinged civic leader — so she showed up on his home turf to warn everyone it won’t be tolerated.

Republican City Councilwoman Joann Ariola and her chief of staff Phyllis Inserillo crashed an Ozone Park Residents Block Association meeting flanked by Council security last week to describe alleged “harassment” by the group’s embattled president, disgraced ex-NYPD cop Saverio “Sam” Esposito.

“The lies have got to be exposed, and they have to be stopped!” fumed Ariola at the March 14 meeting, continuing to speak even after board member Darma Diaz cut off her microphone. “You all deserve better.”

Councilwoman Joann Ariola, center, and chief of staff Phyllis Inserillo accused Ozone Park civic leader Saverio “Sam” Esposito of harassment and bullying at a meeting last week, where they were escorted by two sergeant-at-arms.
Councilwoman Joann Ariola, center, and chief of staff Phyllis Inserillo accused Ozone Park civic leader Saverio “Sam” Esposito of harassment and bullying at a meeting last week, where they were escorted by two sergeant-at-arms.

Diaz, a Democrat, is an associate commissioner for the city’s Department of Homeless Services and a former Brooklyn councilwoman.

Ariola and her aide also brought muscle — two sergeant-at-arms usually responsible for maintaining order at City Council meetings.

Using the Council’s security outside regular business hours is rare, but Ariola deemed it necessary because she and Inserillo “fear for their safety.”

Inserillo filed two police reports in the past four months accusing Esposito of “following” her, making threats and other harassment, records show.

During the meeting, Ariola expanded on the complaints, alleging Esposito tried intimidating Inserillo by tailing her in a van.

She also read a laundry list of disputes she claimed Esposito allegedly started with other community leaders, fueled, she said, by him spreading “false” information in public and on social media about migrants, holiday lighting and other topics.

Saverio “Sam” Esposito is a civic leader in Ozone Park, Queens and a retired NYPD cop. Facebook Sam Esposito
Saverio “Sam” Esposito is a civic leader in Ozone Park, Queens and a retired NYPD cop. Facebook Sam Esposito

A November letter from Esposito to Ariola obtained by The Post threatened to expose her office as “homophobic” if she didn’t punish Inserillo for allegedly making earlier false remarks about him. Inserillo denied ever trying to smear Esposito’s reputation.

“He literally threatened me in the letter and said if … I did not have Phyllis sanctioned that he would go to the press and release that our entire office was homophobic,” Ariola said.

“The lies have got to be exposed, and they have to be stopped,” Ariola, left, said at last Wednesday’s civic meeting. Facebook Phyllis Inserillo
“The lies have got to be exposed, and they have to be stopped,” Ariola, left, said at last Wednesday’s civic meeting. Facebook Phyllis Inserillo

“What kind of nonsense is this? I am duly elected official by you! And should not have to stand before you to talk about this.”

Esposito denied the harassment allegations, insisting to The Post “the cases are closed” and “there’s no substance to this.” He’s cancelled his group’s meetings until further notice.

Inserillo filed two police reports against Esposito in the past four months. Gregory P. Mango
Inserillo filed two police reports against Esposito in the past four months. Gregory P. Mango

Esposito claimed “adverse effects” to medication for a liver condition is to blame for recent mood swings and “losing sight of reality,” according to a post Tuesday on the group’s Facebook page and a letter to its board.

“Over time, my decision-making became erratic,” he wrote, while maintaining he broke no laws.

Esposito, seen at left at a past event in Queens, denied allegations of harassment and intimidation from Councilwoman Ariola’s office.
Esposito, seen at left at a past event in Queens, denied allegations of harassment and intimidation from Councilwoman Ariola’s office.

In 2014, Esposito was among 120 people netted in a massive Social Security scam involving retired NYPD and FDNY workers — some of whom lied that they were at Ground Zero during 9/11 to collect benefits.

His father and the alleged ringleader, Joseph Esposito, pleaded guilty to first-degree grand larceny for coaching dozens of ex-cops and firefighters to lie on their disability applications in exchange for kickbacks.

The younger Esposito, an NYPD police officer from 1986 to 2005, pleaded guilty to one charge of criminal facilitation as part of a plea deal in 2018.

He also has a history of being a landlord from hell – racking up two arrests for alleged crimes against his tenant while was still a housing cop. It included being put on modified duty after a 2003 arrest for unlawful eviction.