The North VFW Quartermaster Sylvester Spinetta spoke up to tell the other side of the story for the organization’s cook...
OKEECHOBEE — The North VFW Quartermaster Sylvester Spinetta spoke up to tell the other side of the story for the organization’s cook who was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Scott Wright, 55, was arrested on Friday June 3 after he was accused of threatening a man with a knife and yelling, “I will ****ing gut you.” Wright is the VFW North’s head cook.
Spinetta supplied the Lake Okeechobee News with several video clips in order to explain the events leading up to the alleged assault.
Spinetta said, Cassandra and Alan McPeak are members who live in the VFW’s mobile home park. Cassandra used to work as a bartender there and though she does not work there anymore, she is used to getting what she needs, going behind the bar for silverware or into the kitchen for something she needs, etc. “We probably should not have allowed that, but we are like a family here, and we just overlooked it,” said Spinetta.
Before viewing the videos, Spinetta said it is important to note the cook can only hear from one ear, and the kitchen is very loud when the hoods are on. In addition, he said the cook was very busy.
He went on to explain that on the night of the alleged assault, the McPeaks came in and ordered dinner for themselves and a visiting family member. He said the guest asked for no coleslaw and Cassandra ordered two more the same, maybe not realizing the guest had said no coleslaw. When the dinners arrived, they had no coleslaw and Cassandra walked into the kitchen and asked if she could get coleslaw, and he told her to go ahead.
Although, based on the video, there was no confrontation while she was in the kitchen, Spinetta said Cassandra went to the window, opened it and cursed at the cook before returning to her table and telling her husband the cook yelled at her and disrespected her.
Spinetta said this was when Allen got up and said he was going to teach that cook a lesson about respect and went to the kitchen.
“I believe our cook felt threatened when some strange man came into the kitchen, yelling at him. He kept saying he did not know what the man was talking about and told him to get out of the kitchen, but Allen refused to leave,” said Spinetta.
During an officers’ meeting the following morning, the officers took a vote on whether to keep the cook. Nine of them voted yes, and one, who is Cassandra’s daughter abstained from voting.
“I want you to know, the next morning we held a meeting of all the officers, and we had a vote to keep the cook employed. We all watched the videos. We understand what the cook did was extreme, and he should not have done that, and that is going to be up to the court to decide what happens. I know that he has told us he felt threatened, and he (McPeak) shouldn’t have been in the kitchen yelling at the cook. If Cassandra had told her husband the truth, that nothing happened in the kitchen, he would’ve never gone in there and yelled at the cook like he did. None of us agree with the cook grabbing the knife, but also we all agree that the cook was not the initial aggressor and was in a defensive mode,” said Spinetta.
He said he read the arrest report, and there were a lot of discrepancies. He said the McPeaks said they took the meal home and had to come back to get coleslaw. They also said it was Alan who went to ask for coleslaw, but it was Cassandra. In addition, they did not include any interview with the cook, so only one side was told.
In the future, the VFW intends to enforce rules keeping non-employees out of all working areas of the facility. If anyone crosses that line, they will be banned for 30 days, he said.