The Niagara Falls Democratic Committee sent postcards to voters this week calling Robert D. Pascoal a "tax dodger" and accusing him of owing $4,669.50 in delinquent property taxes.
But it turns out the Republican candidate for the Niagara Falls City Council is up to date on his taxes.
"Simply put, it's a lie," Pascoal said. "If I can prove in an hour that I don't have unpaid taxes, why would someone else want to say otherwise, and so close to Election Day?"
A report on Pascoal's taxes, run on Sept. 25 in City Hall and given to city Democratic Party chairman Gordon G. Stewart III, shows amounts owed on 10 properties. Stewart provided the report to The Buffalo News.
But the amounts are the second installments of this year's school tax bills, and they're not due until the end of this month.
A new city report, obtained by The News Friday under the Freedom of Information Law, confirmed that second installments are the only unpaid taxes - and some of them already have been paid.
Pascoal, however, acknowledged he was late with the first installment on one of the 10 properties, a delay he attributed to having paid off the mortgage.
He said he didn't receive a bill, apparently because the city wasn't informed that the taxes would no longer be paid out of escrow. He paid the $411.06 tax and a $16.56 late fee on Wednesday for that property on 24th Street.
Pascoal provided The Buffalo News with scans of receipts for payments of the first installment of the taxes, made in full without late fees, on the other properties he owns in the city. Niagara Falls allows tax payments in two installments.
The Niagara County Treasurer's Office, which does not allow installment payments, said the county taxes on Pascoal's properties are paid in full. The Sept. 25 report shows Pascoal's city taxes also are paid in full.
Pascoal owns property on Orchard Place; Seventh, 24th, 62nd and Spruce streets; and Walnut, Cedar, James, Grand and Buffalo avenues.
"The issue we had was that he was delinquent on his school taxes, the first installment, that was due in August," Stewart said. "He's running as a fiscal watchdog and he can't even keep his own finances in order," Stewart said.
Pascoal, president of the Landlords Association of Greater Niagara, was the top vote-getter in the Republican primary. He is one of six candidates running for three available Council seats in Tuesday's election.
The other Republican hopefuls are Christopher P. Voccio and Samuel F. Archie. The Democrats are running incumbents Andrew P. Touma and Kristen M. Grandinetti, along with newcomer William D. Kennedy II.