Local GOP Candidate In Minnesota Accused Of Tossing Tarantula At Housemate

Oh, what a tangled web we weave ...

A Republican politician in Edina, Minnesota, is facing an assault charge after she allegedly tossed a live tarantula at her housemate in an attempt to get the woman to move out.

Marisa Simonetti, 30, a candidate for the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners, was arrested Friday and faces a charge of fifth-degree assault that stems from an altercation she had with her housemate, attorney Jackie Vasquez, also 30.

Simonetti was released Monday without bond but was ordered not to have any contact with Vasquez, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Simonetti told the newspaper that Vasquez had been renting space from her since early June through an Airbnb arrangement at the Edina house, a fact Vasquez confirmed. However, KARE-TV in Minneapolis said Simonetti does not own the home and that Airbnb rentals are not allowed in the city.

The two women had had conflicts before Friday’s arrest, including accusations by Simonetti that Vasquez was a squatter in the home and that she had closed a door on her arm.

But Friday’s incident reportedly started when Vasquez repeatedly complained about a spider infestation in the house.

Simonetti told KMSP-TV in Minneapolis that she got sick of what she said called nonstop complaints. In a video the TV station posted with its report, she is heard loudly playing Christian music, screaming and banging pots and pans to harass her downstairs housemate.

She also admits in the KMSP interview that she tossed a live tarantula down the stairs, but she claims it was a homage to a scene in “Home Alone.”

“I mean, there is an element of humor to that movie, and at the end, what was I supposed to do?” Simonetti told a KMSP reporter. “And at the end of the day, ‘unhinged’ got her out of the house.”

Vasquez told the Star Tribune that she was not a “squatter” and had paid $1,500 to stay at the house, which Simonetti confirmed. Vasquez said the homeowner gave her permission to stay in the house, KARE reported.

“What she did is deeply disturbing and deeply distressing. It was right out of a scary movie.” Vasquez said, adding that she moved out over the weekend.

KARE-TV reporter Lou Raguse helpfully provided a photo of the tarantula via social media.

Despite a possible conviction, Simonetti said the arrest will not stop her campaign to become a county commissioner. In a social media post after she was released from jail, Simonetti said, “There are two sides to every story.”

“Fifth-degree assault means someone only needs to feel fear or feel afraid of bodily harm,” she told KARE. “I never hit anybody. I never touched anybody. And the reason I was held longer is because she was in my house. So it had to potentially be considered a domestic.”