GOP meeting becomes ugly
Political infighting turned into an outdoor brawl for a pair of Republicans who tangled over the upcoming election.
Greg Seghezzi and Ron Fereira were each cited with misdemeanor battery and released after scuffling Wednesday night outside a Nevada County Republican Central Committee meeting, according to Grass Valley police.
Each man filed a citizen’s arrest complaint, and police interviewed several witnesses.
“There were allegations of punches thrown, but it’s hard to say,” Capt. Greg Hart said. “We’ll let the DA’s office sort it all out.”
An argument flared outside the former Cirino La Cucina on Scandling Avenue between Seghezzi and District 4 county supervisorial candidate Rene Antonson, according to both men.
The argument intensified when Fereira, an Antonson supporter, stepped in.
“I found out the hard part about Republican politics last night,” Seghezzi said.
“There’s been bad blood between Seghezzi and I for a long time, apparently,” Antonson said.
Attempts to reach Fereira for comment were unsuccessful.
About 40 people were at the meeting when Antonson stood to discuss his write-in campaign and to ask permission to place literature at party headquarters. He and his wife, Janet, exchanged words with Seghezzi, calling him a hypocrite, witnesses say. All three were then asked to leave.
From there, accounts diverge.
Antonson said he didn’t instigate the fight, while Seghezzi called claims that he started it “absolutely horrendous.”
The 42-year-old Seghezzi, who stands 6 foot 3 inches and weighs more than 200 pounds, said he told Antonson (age 61, 5-feet-5 and less than 150 pounds) that his write-in campaign was futile and would rob votes from Republican nominee Robin Sutherland’s, who is facing incumbent Elizabeth Martin.
Seghezzi said the Antonsons’ comments became personal. Among other barbs, he said, were claims that Seghezzi’s wife has been unhappy since marrying him.
The exchange continued, and “next thing I know I got (Fereira’s) arms wrapped around me,” Seghezzi said. “It was so bizarre. It happened so fast. All I know is, I didn’t hit anybody until I was pinned against the truck and I couldn’t breathe.”
Rene Antonson said the argument turned violent because Seghezzi called Janet Antonson a vulgar name while simultaneously punching Rene in the shoulder blade.
Rene Antonson said he turned and swung at Seghezzi, but missed.
“I repeat, no one calls my wife that … word, and if he expected me not to do anything, that wouldn’t make me much of a husband or a man,” Antonson said.
He said that Fereira only tried to break up the fight, and that Seghezzi repeatedly punched Fereira.
Seghezzi said he suffered facial cuts, blurriness in his left eye and a shredded shirt after he and Fereira (age 60, 6 feet and more than 200 pounds, police say) slammed against a vehicle.
Seghezzi and Fereira, who police say suffered a cut lower lip and elbow abrasion, were treated at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.
Antonson, who once held the government post he seeks again, and Seghezzi said their mutual animosity partly stems from business dealings from more than 15 years ago.
Seghezzi, the owner of a grocery store, said he had Antonson fired from his job as a distributor because he was impossible to work with.
Antonson said he was upset with Seghezzi for replacing outdated sundries on the store’s shelves.
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