PEABODY — Police were called to a political fundraiser at Toscana’s Ristorante Thursday night after a candidate and a voter exchanged words.
School Committeeman and City Councilor-at-Large candidate Jarrod Hochman called 911 to report Susan Brotchie was intoxicated and pestering him at an event for Ward 6 City Councilor Mark O’Neill.
Three police officers arrived at the Bourbon Street restaurant which attracted more than four dozen O’Neill supporters. The officers spoke with Hochman in the lobby and told police Brotchie was harassing her, according to the police report.
“The officers said they were sent because of a harassment complaint called in by Hochmann and they asked if I had words with him,” Brotchie said. “I told them I asked him when he plans to pay his federal taxes like the rest of us. He called me a big mouth and a bunch of other names.”
Last month, The Item reported Hochman owes more than $50,000 in back taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.
Documents filed at the South Essex Registry of Deeds revealed the 49-year-old attorney with a private practice in Revere owes small business taxes for three years. For 2013, the amount was $34,704, for 2014 it’s an added $6,027, and in 2016 the tab was $9,670, for a total of $50,431.
The IRS has placed two liens on Hochman’s 2,508-square-foot Garrison style home. Liens protect the government’s interest in the real estate, personal property and financial assets of the person who owes the debt.
Hochman did not return a call seeking comment.
“It’s absurd to have three police officers show up,” said Brotchie, a retired Verizon Communications Inc. manager. “I’m 67 years old, how much of a threat could I possibly be? He’s a public official in a public place, I’m a constituent. I asked about his taxes. What’s wrong with that?”
O’Neill said he was focused on making sure everyone was having a good time.
“I was hosting a campaign event with friends and family,” he said. “I can’t comment on an issue between two people who don’t appear to get along.”
Elected to the School Committee in 2009, Hochman is making his second bid for City Council. He lost a close race to Edward Charest for the open Ward 4 council seat four years ago.
He is facing four incumbents, Thomas Gould, Anne Manning-Martin, Thomas Rossignoll and Ryan Melville. In addition Ward 1 Councilor Jon Turco is giving up his seat to run, and retired Peabody Police Capt. John DeRosa Jr. has also thrown his hat into the ring.
“I feel strongly that no one should be able to run or hold officer if they owe taxes,” Brotchie said.