New Times rarely makes calls at an early hour. Especially on a Monday morning.
But this morning, after we got hold of an unusual police report starring an even more startling character, we dialed up Bruce Augello, a candidate for Coconut Creek Commission, who'd apparently bit his wife after she accused him of having an affair.
And grabbed his penis.
On September 3, 2004, Coconut Creek police arrived at the Augello home and found a rather frantic scene. Augello's wife, Elizabeth, told police that "during an argument with her husband, he bit her on the left arm and backhanded her across the face," the arrest report says. "[Police] observed a red mark on victim's face, and several scratches on her right forearm, and teeth marks on her left forearm."
Augello said the report was "exaggerated." He said he never hit her in the face. But he did bite her.
That was a chaotic time in the Augello household. Elizabeth's father had just died, and her mother had recently had a brain aneurysm and moved in with the couple. Then, one Friday night, Bruce said, after Elizabeth had fed her mother, she wandered to the study, opened the door, and discovered Bruce.
At the computer. By himself.
She accused him of having an affair and yelled at him to get off the computer. Then she went for the huevos. So Augello did what he said any warm-blooded male would do in such a position: He bit her. And booted her out of the computer room.
"No, I wasn't having an affair," Augello said, adding that his teeth never broke skin. "I've never had an affair in my life."
The couple divorced five months later and have spoken rarely since, Augello said. When she asked for a separation, Augello said he was shocked.
"I didn't want a divorce," Augello said. "We never had problems before. We were married for 16 years, and she was just going through bad times."
Augello's current partner, Mary Beth Schifano, defended the prospective politician, calling him the most "mild-mannered man." "He's an unbelievable guy," she said. "He's a blessing to me and his friends."
Augello said this wouldn't affect his chances at winning office.
"It was only a matter of me getting her off me. I didn't attack her. I'm not a domestic-violence type person. She just grabbed my crotch. So I bit her."