I. Charles Mathews Thursday reacted sharply to an ad paid for by the campaign of Mayor Eddie A. Perez that attacked Mathews' record as the city deputy mayor almost 20 years ago.
The advertisement, which appeared in two small North End newspapers, purports to contrast the records of Perez and Mathews, a Democratic challenger to Perez who was the city's deputy mayor in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Mathews said the statements about his record - in which the Perez camp pointed to his stances on education, the poor and people who speak different languages - are gross misrepresentations of the truth and that several are "outright lies."
He demanded that the supporting documentation for the allegations be made available for public viewing and shown to the press and television stations.
"I'm demanding a full disclosure," Mathews said. "He is now playing low-ball. This is not politics as usual. This is an attempt to mislead the voters."
"I want him to step up like a man, like a leader, and give the press all the documents where he drew his conclusions," Mathews said. "Give it to the Hartford News, The Hartford Courant, Channel 3 and Channel 8. And when that happens, I'm confident we will see what we already know, that Eddie Perez lacks a degree of integrity. Lacks a degree of honesty."
Kenny Curran, Perez's campaign manager, said he was too busy preparing for a mayoral forum held Thursday to immediately provide the documents to The Courant.
A review by The Courant of its own archives found that several of the allegations made in the advertisement were either false or were at odds with the dates provided.
For example, in one bulleted statement, the ad says that when Mathews lost his seat on the city council in 1991, he said he was relieved that he "wouldn't have to listen to 28 languages anymore." The advertisement attributed the statement to an article published in The Courant on Dec. 14, 1991. But no article with that statement could be found corresponding to that date, according to a review of the paper's archives.
In a Courant article on Sept. 13, 1991, Mathews was quoted after his defeat in the primary: "You grow weary of people calling you names in 28 different languages."
Mathews said Thursday his published statement was not meant to cast aspersions on anyone. But in a diverse city, he said, it was common for city council members to be criticized by people of all backgrounds, speaking different languages.
Another allegation made in the Perez ad said Mathews "cut school aid and stood by while school buildings crumbled."
It cites two articles in The Courant, one on June 14, 1991, and another on June 30, 1991. But a review of the papers published on those dates could find no articles to support such an allegation.
Mathews said he believed that the advertisement was an attempt to divert voters' attention from Perez's own problems, such as the investigation into Perez's hiring of a city contractor to do $20,000 worth of work on the kitchen and bathroom in his Bloomfield Avenue home.
"He is trying to deceive people, to divert people from his own issues," Mathews said.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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