By MORGAN GIORDANO
One of the biggest political cover-ups in recent memory has just been exposed. Last Groundhog Day, the newly elected mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, visited Staten Island to meet NYC's Punxsutawney Phil, Chuck. Chuck got anxious when handed to de Blasio and squirmed out of his arms, falling head first to the ground.
The incident was caught on camera by The Wall Street Journal's political reporter Mara Gay among many others, but was played off as just one of Chuck's quirks. New York Times reported that in 2009 Chuck bit then-mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Then eight months later, hearts shattered as the public found out that Chuck had died just a week after his tumble. Groundhog-gate was broken by The New York Post who made the world aware that "Mayor de Blasio has groundhog blood on his hands!"
Apparently Chuck had suffered internal injuries from his nearly six foot fall. The zoo discovered the animal dead in its pen seven days after the fumble. A source told The Post that a necropsy showed the rodent died from "acute internal injuries" consistent with trauma from a fall.
But the scandal deepens. As it turns out, Chuck was never actually Chuck, but a lady groundhog named Charlotte. They replaced Chuck for the ceremony out of fear that he had a taste of politicians' blood and would try to bite de Blasio too.
The mayor's office was not informed of the untimely death, and found out for the first time about the upsetting outcome when The Post published their findings. A few supporters in the zoo community were told that Chuck had died, but they were under the impression it was from old age.
"We were unaware that Staten Island Chuck had passed but are sorry to hear of the loss," said spokesman Phil Walzak.
Mayor de Blasio has yet to personally address the traumatic accident.
Check out original reporting on the fatal drop: