Olney says he’s victim of ‘smear campaign’

Updated: Jul. 2, 2019 at 3:43 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Mayoral candidate Cliff Olney claims the city of Watertown is investigating him because of a complaint that he allegedly made an inappropriate remark to a female city employee during a meeting.

Olney says he received an email from a city official on Friday notifying him of the investigation.

Olney, who serves on the Zombie Home Task Force Committee, believes the complainant claims he told her to wear a maid’s outfit as the group cleans up the city, boarding up dilapidated homes.

Olney says that he never said anything like it and believes this is a “smear campaign.”

“Nothing even close to what it is they’re suggesting that I said ever. Nor would I ever. It’s not in my character, it’s not in my nature. So what they’re doing is smearing my character in an effort, I think, to diminish my credibility,” he said.

Because of the investigation, Olney has decided he will run a write-in campaign for mayor.

City Manager Rick Finn said he can’t comment about the claim due to privacy, but did say, the city follows state law - that whenever there is a complaint by any city employee, there is a process to follow.

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