COUNCIL CANDIDATE Manny Morales yesterday said he never posted hateful rants against blacks, immigrants, women, gays and welfare recipients on his Facebook page.
His page was hacked, Morales said, and he thinks Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez, or someone connected to her campaign, did it.
Sanchez called Morales' accusation "absurd."
On Monday, the councilwoman released a string of bigoted Facebook posts allegedly penned by Morales over a five-year period.
"All of this has never been posted by me," Morales said yesterday in a phone interview. "I have family members who are African-Americans. I got family members who are in same-sex relationships. That's why all of this is outrageous."
Morales, 45, said he's hired a lawyer to file a defamation lawsuit against Sanchez.
Sanchez had called on voters to contact the Democratic City Committee and "demand they rescind their endorsement" of Morales.
Earlier yesterday, U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, the city's Democratic chairman, said that if Morales actually wrote the Facebook posts, he would recommend that ward leaders withdraw their support.
"If it's all true, it's just not good. It's not right. His positions are not right," Brady said. "It's not the Democratic values that we stand for."
State Rep. Angel Cruz, a Morales supporter, said yesterday, "Everybody's innocent until proven guilty."
Cruz confirmed that he was Facebook friends with Morales. When pressed on whether he saw any incendiary posts on his page, Cruz said, "I'm not responding to anything."
Cruz then noted that some of the posts he's seen are "reposts" or "shares."
Morales allegedly shared - and supported - posts and photos put on Facebook by the "National Association for Gun Rights," "Right Wing News" and "Positively Republican!"
Sanchez yesterday said Morales' claim that she hacked into his Facebook account is absurd.
"Manny Morales needs to own up to the bigoted and hateful comments he has made in public forums," she said in a statement. "Baseless character attacks against me won't change the truth about what he said and the radical views Manny Morales has supported. . . . It also defies logic for Manny Morales to claim he never made these bigoted postings even after taking down his Facebook page yesterday. What does Manny Morales have to hide?"
Morales said he has nothing to hide.
"This is just desperation of her knowing that in the 7th District everyone wants a change because she hasn't done her due diligence of serving the people," he said.
The Daily News pointed out that the Facebook posts in question include specific dates with time-stamped comments. In response, Morales said he suspects Sanchez's camp used Photoshop to create bogus posts, using "cut-and-paste" tools, to make the posts appear to date back to 2010.
"About a week ago, a week-and-a-half ago, I received two emails [from Facebook] saying that my password on Facebook was changed," Morales said. "So I go to my Facebook page . . . I saw that everything was normal."
Morales said he shrugged off the security warnings.
When asked by the Daily News to provide the emails, Morales said he deleted them because he paid "no mind to it."
Morales said he learned Monday about the allegations connected to his Facebook page. When he realized "something [was] going on" with his Facebook account, Morales said, he deactivated the account about 3 p.m. But when he woke up yesterday morning, he discovered that someone "reactivated" his account. That someone, he alleged, was Sanchez.
"It's just common sense," he said.