The Times reported dissension among the Red Hook vendors, and we were surprised. But not as surprised as Cesar Fuentes, who was furious when we talked with him over the weekend. “This wasn’t really dissension,” Fuentes says. “It was more of a coup d’état.” Seriously? What’s going on in Red Hook?
“A few people decided this was an opportunity to take power and attempted to hurt me by using the press,” Fuentes continues. “It came at the worst possible time. We’re still going through a major ordeal. And I felt very used. I was very hurt, but really, I think it was essentially one man.” The one man appears to be Ricardo Ramirez, the common-law husband of one of the vendors. Ramirez told the Times, “We want to know where the money goes, how much he pays for insurance, how much he pays the workers who clean up. But when we talk to Cesar and ask him these things, he gets mad.” “That is an absolute lie,” Fuentes responds. “I document everything at every step, and everyone knows it. They were just trying to get me out.” Fuentes says that he donates half of his salary as vendor representative back to the vendors, but even if he didn’t, it doesn’t seem like the kind of job someone would scheme to get. But then again, we were surprised that the vendors had a representative to begin with. This story just gets weirder and weirder as the season goes on.