ROBINSON: GOP contest marred by threats and slander
Robinson GOP candidate Onorato “Lou” Bucci received a threatening letter addressed to his wife on May 15.
By Jamie Wiggan
In the weeks leading up to the May 18 primary in Robinson, one Republican candidate was targeted by a mail campaign highlighting a criminal conviction against her husband and another received a threatening letter in the mail shortly after.
Five Republican candidates fought for the three commissioner slots on the ballot, with three sharing a ticket and two running independently.
Tension between the rival groups mounted when an anonymous mailer was circulated among Robinson households, reportedly arriving in batches over several days during the lead-up to the election. The letter detailed a conviction against former UPMC cardiologist Marcelo Corpuz — husband of townshipcandidate Roberta Corpuz — who was sentenced to three years in prison for possession of child pornography in 2008.
Several days later, on May 15, another GOP candidate Onorato “Lou” Bucci received a letter addressed to his wife, making threats against his family and home.
“You must pay, trust me, you have been warned,” concludes the anonymous letter created using cut-out letters from magazines and other print materials.
Bucci ultimately beat Corpuz in the polls, placing him on the ballot alongside her former running mates Mindy Houser and Maureen Malick in November’s general election. Houser, Malick and Corpuz campaigned together as the “Robinson Moms” and formed a committee called “A Better Robinson.”
Bucci said in the days before the letter arrived, he also received voicemails and emails holding him responsible from various people connected to his opponents’ campaign.
“Since then it has been privately and publicly, non-stop accusing me of doing it,” he said.
Insisting he’s not responsible, Bucci said he attended one of his opponents’ committee meetings May 13 hoping to clear the record but left feeling like he’d been unable to win over support from the 15-20 people in attendance.
After receiving the threatening letter two days later, Bucci said he contacted Robinson Police, who he said treated it as a terroristic threat and opened an investigation. Bucci said he has also initiated a postal service inquiry, saying the postal marks on both letters indicated they were processed in the same facility and could point to a common culprit.
So far no one has taken responsibility for issuing the threat against Bucci or circulating the compromising pamphlet about Corpuz, which concluded by encouraging Robinson Republicans to vote for Malick, Houser and Bucci.
In an email statement, Houser criticized both letters.
“I am heartbroken for my dear friend Roberta. I believe it is shameful and a poor example for our children that anonymous hate is entering our community,” she wrote. “I fully support Mrs. Bucci's police investigation to hold those responsible accountable.”
Houser declined to say whether she and Malick would join up with Bucci in the general election race or respond to further questions. Corpuz did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Robinson Police Chief Tim Westwood did not respond to inquiries about the status of the investigation into the Bucci letter.