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NYC lawyers offer to rep firefighters for free if they’re disciplined for booing AG Letitia James

Staten Island lawyers Mark Fonte and Louis Gelormino and firefighters
Staten Island lawyers Mark Fonte and Louis Gelormino and firefighters

A pair of Staten Island lawyers offered Tuesday to represent any Big Apple firefighter for free if they get jammed up for booing state Attorney General Letitia James at last week’s raucous promotion ceremony.

Lawyers Mark Fonte and Louis Gelormino said the firefighters had the right to voice their support for Donald Trump and to lambast James, who has been prosecuting him — as FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanaugh threatens to discipline the jeering Bravest.

“If you are being ‘hunted down’ by FDNY brass for exercising your freedom of speech contact our office at once,” the men’s firm, F&G Legal Group, wrote in a letter to the Fire Department’s rank-and-file.

Staten Island lawyers Mark Fonte (left) and Louis Gelormino say they will represent pro bono any firefighter who is disciplined for booing state AG Letitia James at a promotion ceremony last week. Gregory P. Mango
Staten Island lawyers Mark Fonte (left) and Louis Gelormino say they will represent pro bono any firefighter who is disciplined for booing state AG Letitia James at a promotion ceremony last week. Gregory P. Mango
Firefighters at the ceremony jeered James over her prosecution of Donald Trump. BRIGITTE STELZER
Firefighters at the ceremony jeered James over her prosecution of Donald Trump. BRIGITTE STELZER

“We always answer the call. We stand ready to assist New York’s Bravest,” the letter said.

The firm has already sued the city over its COVID mandates and the location of some migrant shelters.

This time, they are rushing to the defense of firefighters after a cluster of smoke-eaters booed and jeered James during Thursday’s ceremony at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn.

The disgruntled group voiced support for former President Trump, who was hit with a $454 million judgment last month in a civil suit filed by James’ office.

“If they have a right to applaud, they have a right to boo or express their displeasure,” Fonte told The Post on Tuesday.

“If you invite a controversial figure to speak, you have to expect pushback,” he said. “The people at fault are the FDNY brass who are greatly out of touch with their workers.”

Kavanagh deployed the department’s Bureau of Investigations and Trials to track down the offenders by combing through video footage of the event and has said firefighters who crossed the line could face discipline, although she has not specified what that could be.

The controversy heated up further when Kavanagh returned to the church Sunday and apologized for the conduct of several firefighters during the event, calling their actions “unprofessional.”

Some Bravest who later spoke to The Post jeered that as well while defending the anti-James boos.

James was greeted with chants of “Trump, Trump, Trump!” while speaking at an FDNY promotion ceremony in Brooklyn last week. NY Post
James was greeted with chants of “Trump, Trump, Trump!” while speaking at an FDNY promotion ceremony in Brooklyn last week. NY Post
Thursday’s ceremony took place at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn. BRIGITTE STELZER
Thursday’s ceremony took place at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn. BRIGITTE STELZER

Leaked internal memos detailed the department’s objection to the boos and cautioned members of the fire service to keep their political views to themselves while on duty.

“When you’re not on duty, feel however you want about politicians,” said a memo distributed at Big Apple firehouses Sunday. “Vote. Protest. That’s your right. But don’t do it on the job’s time, on other members’ time, or on their families’ time. Do it on your own time.”

Officials at the Uniformed Firefighters Association, the union representing the rank and file, said in a statement that the smoke-eaters’ rowdy response to James as “disappointing.”

New York City Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh has vowed to track down firefighters who booed James and consider disciplinary action against them. Fire Department, City of New York via Flickr
New York City Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh has vowed to track down firefighters who booed James and consider disciplinary action against them. Fire Department, City of New York via Flickr

But union President Andrew Ansbro also urged any firefighter who gets into hot water over the incident to keep their mouths shut and reach out so the union can rep them.

“We will strongly defend any of our members who face discipline,” Ansbro wrote.

In a statement Tuesday, FDNY officials maintained that there has been no “investigation” into the members who booed at the event.

“FDNY leadership is having ongoing conversations with our members about decorum during department events to ensure we are upholding the core values that make the FDNY the greatest fire department in the world,” the statement said.

“Being a NYC firefighter is an honor and we will continue to impress upon our members that their actions impact everyone who wears the uniform.”

On Saturday, department spokesman Jim Long defended the FDNY’s stance, saying that it had nothing to do with politics but was rather about “professionalism at an official event.

“Nobody is hunting anyone down,” Long said.