Candidates for Erie County Legislature's 10th District traded charges over a controversial campaign flier that says that Michelle Schoeneman "wants to bring free heroin shoot up sites to our community," and gives the impression that it was sent by her campaign.
"I never said I wanted heroin shoot up sites, heroin injection sites, anything of that sort," Schoeneman said Sunday. "I am just outraged."
Her opponent, Legislator Joseph Lorigo, denied that his campaign sent the flier, which lists Scheoneman's campaign email and website addresses. However, some of the phrasing in the flier is identical to his television ads.
"She 100 percent said that," Lorigo said.
He said the comments were made at a League of Women Voters forum that both attended in East Aurora last month.
"She said she supports putting a free injection center in the Village of East Aurora," Lorigo said, adding that his opponent also said she would seek community input.
Schoeneman maintains that she said nothing of the sort, and that Lorigo "knows that, he absolutely knows that." She said she did say she has a lot to learn about the opioid crisis.
"I am not an expert," she said. "This is a crisis, we need all hands on deck. We can't wait. We need to be open to solutions that work."
On Friday Schoeneman filed a notice of summons against Lorigo, accusing him of defaming her in robo calls, on social media and in television ads regarding the opioid epidemic. Lorigo called the summons a "stunt" and said he intends to pursue an action against Schoeneman and her lawyer, Margaret Murphy, for filing a frivolous lawsuit.
"Truth is an absolute defense," he said.
The television ad was similar to the flier, but it says it was paid for by Friends of Joe Lorigo, his campaign. There is no credit on the flier, which has a return address of Box 839 in Buffalo.
The flier states: "Michelle Schoeneman wants to put A FREE HEROIN INJECTION SITE in our community and she wants your opinion about where to place it. Should it be located?: On Main Street in East Aurora, Near the Cider Mill in West Seneca, Near Hamlin Park and the Roycroft, Near Veteran's Memorial Park and the Library."
It also states: "Tell Michelle Schoeneman where she can put her drug clinic," and lists her email address.
Schoeneman said she got some emails questioning the flier, and she was able to reply that she does not have any connection to it.
She accused Lorigo of mailing out the flier, and said it would be disingenuous to disavow it.
"He needs to have a clear sense of what's going on in his campaign," she said. "Clearly, somebody from his campaign sent it out."
She said the campaign attacks against her are "the exact reasons why I wanted to run. This kind of stuff is unacceptable."