Suffolk County authorities were investigating a graffiti incident at the Mattituck home of “Top Chef” producer and superstar restaurateur Tom Colicchio early Tuesday that police described as political and religious symbols sprayed on the home’s mailbox, lawn and driveway.
A county police spokeswoman said Wednesday, however, that the incident is not being investigated as a hate crime despite the fact Colicchio’s wife, Lori Silverbush, is Jewish and her name was mentioned in the graffiti.
The police spokeswoman said the graffiti was discovered about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Mill Road home, and that the county police department was asked by Southold Town Police to help with the investigation.
Although the police spokeswoman said a “possible Jewish star” and a “possible cross” were involved, the matter is being handled under the charge of “making graffiti,” which she said, “Under state penal law it cannot be determined a hate crime.”
According to a Southold police report, "The unknown offender did write in red paint 'TRUMP on the mailbox and driveway," and in the grass and street in red paint, "Cuomo = Death to America" with a hammer and sickle.
Written in white paint was "Cynthia Nixon, go Home, Silverbush and Padhma" and a star.
Nixon is best known for her portrayal of the Miranda Hobbes character in "Sex and the Ciity," but she also has a role in politics. She is an advocate for the LGBT community and is challenging Democratic incumbent Andrew Cuomo in the race for governor.
Padma Lakshmi is the India-born host of "Top Chef."
Colicchio, who will be opening a new restaurant, Small Batch, in the fall at Roosevelt Field mall, tweeted to his more than 900,000 followers that the incident was “in response” to his displaying a sign in his yard in support of Perry Gershon, a Democrat running against Republican Lee Zeldin in the 1st Congressional District.
Colicchio, who is also head judge on the "Top Chef" reality competition series that airs on the Bravo network, could not immediately be reached for comment.
In his tweet, Colicchio asked, “What say you, @leezeldin?”
Silverbush, in a morning tweet, wrote: “Cute touch: my name & a defaced Jewish star.”
On Wednesday a spokeswoman for Zeldin referred reporters to his Facebook response, posted on Tuesday as his reaction to the incident. “I don't know who did this, but this coward needs to be identified and prosecuted,” the post said.
Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley said he was surprised that such an aggressive act had occurred in the town.
"Obviously," Flatley said in a telephone interview Wednesday," this time of year there are political advertisements and pop-up signs placed all over and people knock the signs down or take the signs out," but he said he had never seen anyone "get that down and dirty."
Flatley said no suspects had yet been identified, but he believes the act happened sometime overnight because the house "doesn't see a lot of foot or vehicular traffic."
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Southold police at 631-765-2600.