While Miami braces for Hurricane Irma, Miami’s Broward County Republicans are already dealing with a disaster of their own. Their newly-elected member of their executive board was previously charged with attempted murder.
28-year-old Trump supporter Rupert Tarsey was elected secretary and has held the position for four months before party officials discovered that his real name is Rupert Ditsworth.
While he was a teenager attending Harvard-Westlake School in Beverly Hills, Ditworth attacked his classmate Elizabeth Barcay with a claw-hammer. He hit her at least 40 times, splitting her skull open.
According to reports, Ditsworth invited Barcay to go with him to a Jamba Juice after a major exam. Ditsworth parked his car and pulled the hammer from his backpack. He began to beat her with it over the head. Eventually, he opened the passenger door and dragged her out, choking her the entire time. Then he drove away.
While Ditsworth’s parents quickly found psychiatric treatment, Barcay would eventually attend her prom in a wheelchair.
California prosecutors filed the case in juvenile court, but it was dismissed. They then tried it in an adult court.
“In the end, I pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor,” Tarsey said. “It’s not the charges that matter, it’s what happens in court.” He claims that his brutal attack was in “self-defense.”
He claims that he took his mother’s maiden name because he was “estranged from my dad.”
The local GOP are now desperate for Tarsey to resign, worried about their image. Miami is a strong Democratic region—the Republicans can’t take the hit.
But Tarsey isn’t going anywhere. “Why should I resign,” he asked in an interview with Miami Herald. “I did nothing wrong and I was elected. This is just party politics.”
“This whole thing is in retaliation for my speaking out against Bob [Sutton],” he added. “It’s politics.”
But his past and identity were discovered by another member, who alerted local GOP Chairman Bob Sutton over the weekend.
“We were blindsided,” said Sutton, a schoolteacher. “He’s a member of the Knights of Columbus, for Christ’s sake. And he came highly recommended by the former chair. We had no idea what his background is. We want him out but he is refusing to resign. He deceived us. It looks like he even used a reputation management firm to make sure we wouldn’t find out who he is.”
Sutton suspended Tarsey on Tuesday.