ST. PETERSBURG — Police have banned mayoral candidate Paul Congemi, 52, from a local KFC restaurant after they said he got belligerent over an eight-piece chicken meal.
When confronted by police, Congemi said, "Don't touch me. I am running for mayor, and once I get elected you will be fired," according to a police report.
The poultry brouhaha took place at the KFC at 770 34th St N on April 18.
Congemi was admiring the restaurant's jukebox when the assistant manager informed him his eight-piece meal was ready.
Congemi responded, "That's not my (expletive) food," the report said. He proceeded to yell obscenities at several employees and refused to leave the restaurant.
An employee laughed at Congemi.
"Apparently, that set him off," said police spokesman Bill Proffitt.
Two police officers arrived and asked Congemi to speak with them outside. Congemi told one officer, "I don't like you. You gave me a ticket," according to the police report.
Congemi was so "aggressive" the officers asked him to sit in a police vehicle while they wrote the trespass warning, according to the report. "I am not sitting in the car," Congemi said. "I am not a (expletive) criminal."
Congemi refused to sign the paperwork, according to the report. He then tried to give the officers some campaign literature.
Congemi told a very different story when reached by telephone Wednesday.
He said the assistant manager told him he had to order or leave the restaurant.
"I didn't like the attitude," Congemi said. "I wasn't in a good mood that day and before you know it, they called the police."
Congemi said he never yelled or used profanity. He said one of the officers grabbed his shoulder and pushed him out of the restaurant.
Witnesses, however, told police the officer used a "guiding touch" but had not grabbed Congemi, Proffitt said.
Cristina Silva can be reached at (727) 893-8846 or firstname.lastname@example.org.