Torres Says He Doesn’t Have Proof Of Allegations Against Frank Meola
A longtime Utica Democratic committeeman is unable to provide any evidence of campaign finance violations or abuse of power after throwing several public allegations at the party's city chairman earlier this week.
Alexis Torres also said he's never reported the alleged violations to the board of elections.
He says city chair and current Utica Common Council President Frank Meola encouraged Ashely Torres - Alexis' wife - to challenge incumbent Frank Vescera.
Additionally, Torres claims when his wife was on the fence about running, her feelings changed after Meola gave her a one-time $500 cash payment as an incentive to enter the race, ensuring Vescera would have a challenger.
Instead of a campaign contribution, Torres said it was just money that went into his wife's pocket.
''It was supposed to be like a game, so [Vescera] would have to spend his money (campaigning)'', Torres said.
Ashely Torres wouldn't answer questions when contacted by WIBX but said her campaign had nothing to do with her personal life and that she chose to run because she was unhappy with the first ward's representation and knew Vescera was running unopposed.
Torres says he came forward because he was 'destroyed' when he found text messages reflecting a relationship between his wife and Meola, but also admitted that he had known of the relationship for some time before going public this week.
Meola has not returned calls from WIBX seeking comment.
On Monday, Alexis Torres also said he feared going public with the allegations because of 'threats' related to his job at the psychiatric facility in Marcy. When asked why or where the threats came from, he made a surprising statement that is contrary to something his wife said during her campaign.
After saying his wife told him he was risking his job by going public, Alexis Torres then told WIBX ''Frank Meola is very powerful, they're the ones who got me in with the state.''
On Friday, Torres followed up his public call for Meola's resignation with a letter to Oneida County's Democratic Committee Chairman. In it, he asks Mitch Ford to remove Meola from the county committee because the party has been in 'turmoil' under Meola's leadership and calls him disloyal for seeking out Ashley Torres to run against the party's incumbent city councilman.
In his letter to Ford, Torres makes no mention of campaign finance allegations or abuse of power.