UTICA, N.Y. - There were scathing accusations and passionate denials Wednesday between the Republican candidates in the race for Oneida County Executive.
The challenger, Dave Gordon, stood outside the Oneida County Office Building Wednesday afternoon, detailing an affair he claims happened between the incumbent, Anthony Picente, Jr., and a former staff member. Gordon claimed the affair happened in the County Executive's office, saying Picente is morally unfit to occupy it.
"In one of the biggest coverups in Oneida County history, Picente immediately demanded that Caitlin move to Charleston, South Carolina to hide evidence of the affair. For 15 months McCann would live in South Carolina, pregnant with Picente's child, away from her own family," said Gordon, referring to former county employee Caitlin McCann.
An indignant Picente responded to the accusations for what he vowed would be the first and last time.
"There's not one truth in any of the accusations, any of the statements that he made, any of the issues that he brings forth," said Picente. "This is a man who has abused one woman that we know of and now has abused two others: my wife and Ms. McCann."
Gordon offered no photographic or irrefutable proof of an affair, but provided the names of Oneida County Sheriff's Deputies he claims had knowledge of the affair.
"These two individuals, sheriffs, witnessed the affair between McCann and Picente right here in this building. It's time for the media to start doing some investigative reporting. I'll give you the names," said Gordon.
One of the deputies, Leslie Dean, told NewsChannel 2 "I don't know what he's talking [about]. I haven't ever had a conversation with him. I don't know Caitlin McCann."
Gordon said the deputies might be afraid to speak, fearing for their jobs. However, Dean is retired.
"There's no proof in here. There's nothing. You know why? Nothing happened," said Picente.
Mohawk Valley Health System, McCann's current employer, issued a statement.
"Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) is outraged by the false allegations about one of our employees, Caitlin McCann, made by Dave Gordon today. It is clearly an act of desperation by a political candidate to sully the reputation of a political opponent and a professional young woman. Dave Gordon should be ashamed of himself for these mistruths and the harm he is causing these individuals and families," said MVHS President/CEO Darlene Stromstad in a statement emailed to NewsChannel 2.
New York State GOP Chairman Ed Cox also issued a statement regarding Gordon's allegations.
"Dave Gordon is a Bernie Sanders supporter who not only has no business in a Republican primary, but he is also totally unfit for public office. His record of domestic violence and outlandish smear campaign should be deeply concerning to the people of Oneida County and voters of all parties should reject his candidacy."
This article has been updated to properly attribute the statement from MVHS.
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- Picente unveils proposed 2018 Oneida County budget
- Picente delivers State of the County address
- Picente provides update on U District plans
- Picente unveils 2019 Oneida County budget proposal
- Picente: Oneida County in excellent fiscal health
- Picente discusses $12 million plan for local flood relief
- Picente: U District casino has advantage over other Upstate casinos
- Picente: Oneida Co. youth volunteered 5,685 hours in 2017