Democratic sheriff candidate Rocco J. Diina continued to brand his opponent a "liar," contending Thursday that Republican Patrick Gallivan has not truthfully responded to a number of campaign issues in the last several days.
Diina called a news conference at his Amherst campaign headquarters to stress that Gallivan, a former state police captain, lacks the integrity to hold the office of sheriff.
"Integrity is the most important quality you can have in that office," Diina said. "We cannot have this type of candidate."
The accusations continued the nasty tone the campaign has taken in recent days, with television ads now picking up the same theme. New Diina ads are repeating his accusations of untruthfulness, while Gallivan continues to accuse Diina of potential conflicts as sheriff and co-owner of RJD Security, a private security firm.
Gallivan contended earlier this week that RJD personnel had tailed him on several occasions and questioned his ex-wife.
Meanwhile, Diina has rejected Gallivan's explanation that out-of-town State Police assignments often prevented him from voting, producing documents indicating that he never registered to vote until 1993.
Thursday, Diina expanded his accusations, describing as "lies" Gallivan's assertions that he:
Promised the Erie County Conservative Party that he would not accept the Liberal Party endorsement and then did.
Personally arrested murderers and rapists as a member of the State Police.
Misrepresented himself as a member of the board of trustees of Central Police Services, a county agency.
Regarding Diina's characterization of his accepting Liberal backing after promising Conservatives that he would not, Gallivan said it was his understanding that his pledge was valid only if he received Conservative backing.
"I never made the promise Rocco alleges I made," he said.
But Erie County Conservative Chairman Ralph C. Lorigo said Gallivan signed such a pledge, as did any candidate seeking Conservative backing.
"He was asked if he would accept the Liberal endorsement, and he said no," Lorigo said. "There were no 'ifs.' "
Tuesday, Gallivan dismissed Diina's contentions that Gallivan never personally arrested murderers, pointing to a domestic homicide in Geneseo in either 1986 or 1987, as well as the death of a Le Roy baby in 1987.
Now, however, Gallivan is declining to address Diina's accusations that he lied about personally arresting murderers and rapists.
"I ask Mr. Gallivan to tell me when he put the handcuffs on any rapists or murderers," Diina said.
"I'm not getting into all the cases I was involved in," Gallivan responded. "I have no need to defend my exemplary career."
Diina also produced Erie County Central Police Services Commissioner John N. Cardarelli to state that Gallivan misrepresented himself as being a member of the agency's board of trustees.
"I had to tell Pat that was not an accurate statement," said Cardarelli, referring to what he said were references on Gallivan's precandidacy resume.
But Gallivan said his resume never made such a claim, pointed to resumes he sent news organizations before his April announcement and said Cardarelli's claims stem from a "political appointee endorsing another political appointee."
Diina said Gallivan's explanations did not answer the concerns.
"Who is Pat Gallivan? What is he about?" Diina said. "The only thing I know is that he is self-serving and wants to be sheriff."