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Wilmington city council candidate Jonathan Uzcategui responds to domestic violence allegations

Post from Wednesday, October 27 accusing Jonathan Uzcategui of domestic violence.
Post from Wednesday, October 27 accusing Jonathan Uzcategui of domestic violence.

In a Facebook post, Uzcategui's ex-wife said she had made the decision to "name my abuser." The city council candidate denied all allegations of physical violence — but acknowledged his marriage had been 'difficult.'

Editor's Note: This article has been updated to include a statement from the Wilmington chapter of Black Lives Matter.

On Wednesday, Cat Halecki, the former wife of Jonathan Uzcategui, posted a message to Facebook, which read:

After much deliberation and thought, I’ve decided to name my abuser.

It really scares me but I feel like he has forced my hand by running for public office. Trust me when I say, this man has no business in public office. And it has nothing to do with politics — everything to do with domestic violence.

His name is Jonathan Uzcategui.

WHQR contacted Halecki, who stood by her message, declined to comment further.

On Thursday morning, in his RV parked outside the northeast library polling location, Uzcategui addressed the accusations.

Asked if there was physical abuse, he said "never." Asked again, he repeated, "never."

Asked if there was emotional abuse, Uzcategui said, "we both had a rough marriage, it was a difficult marriage — It was, you know, I was working all the time. I was focused on work and not really paying attention to her."

Uzcategui also addressed a domestic violence protection order that was issued in 2011, saying it stemmed from a verbal — not physical — altercation over childcare.

Two years later, Uzcategui was arrested for violating that order but the charges were later dropped. Uzcategui claims the arrest was based on false allegations made by his ex-wife, and said the case was dismissed because his ex-wife didn’t show up to court.

Uzcategui also acknowledged that he’d had an affair during his previous marriage, and blamed it for what was ultimately an acrimonious divorce.

“I had an affair — and it cost me, everything. I was 24. I was making a lot of money. I was very immature and I had an affair. That affair cost me," he said.

Uzcategui reiterated that he had never physically attacked his wife and notes that, roughly six years after their separation, he was granted custody of his children. He also called posts on social media part of a smear campaign, which he attributed to the Black Lives Matter organization.

Sonya Patrick issued the following statement on behalf of Black Lives Matter Wilmington, which in part refers to allegations made by BLM protestors that Uzcategui pulled a firearm on them, a charge Uzcategui denies.

Black Lives Matter is not a political organization we are a social justice organization. His statement as per “smear campaign” has no merit.

Jonathan needs to take responsibility for his ex-wife's allegations of domestic violence and stop blaming others.

BLM believes in peaceful protest. We will not allow Uzcategui to continue to draw weapons on our peaceful protestors. BLM is seeking legal advice and a possible restraining order to ensure the safety of our protestors.

In a statement, New Hanover County GOP Chairman Will Knecht said the party continues to completely support Uzcategui’s campaign:

The New Hanover County Republican Party stands firmly behind City Council candidate Jonathan Uzcategui with regards to the allegations made over 10 years ago which are just now resurfacing and were dismissed in court proceedings during a challenging divorce. It is important to get all of the facts when allegations such as this arise and after reviewing the court files and recognizing that Jonathan was granted full custody of his kids, we proudly support him and his platform of law and order, opportunity for all, smart development, and fiscal responsibility.

Ben Schachtman is a journalist and editor with a focus on local government accountability. He began reporting for Port City Daily in the Wilmington area in 2016 and took over as managing editor there in 2018. He’s a graduate of Rutgers College and later received his MA from NYU and his PhD from SUNY-Stony Brook, both in English Literature.