GLOVERSVILLE - An Orchard Street woman who claims she had a sexual relationship with Mayor Dayton King tried to extort money from him, authorities say.
King worked with city police this summer to have the woman arrested on a felony charge in an alleged illegal payoff scheme, authorities said.
King today denied he had any relationship with Kristi L. Lyons, 29, of 29 Orchard St.
The mayor said the woman was one of what he called his "4,500 Facebook friends." He said the woman also went to Gloversville High School with his wife, Chanda.
"[Lyons] was alleging I had some type of sexual relationship with her," the mayor said. "Quite the contrary. I have an awesome relationship with my wife."
King said he is trying to work through the local court system to get an order of protection from Lyons issued for him and his family.
Authorities said Lyons demanded $2,000 from King so an email would not be made public to his family.
"[King's] the complainant in the case," Fulton County District Attorney Louise Sira said today. "He adamantly denied any relationship. He claimed she was allegedly planning a story that they had a relationship."
Sira said King made allegations to police that Lyons "invented a relationship" with the mayor and was threatening to extort money from King to not divulge the relationship to the media.
City police charged Lyons July 16 with a felony count of grand larceny. At the time of her arrest, police issued a news release, but did not mention King's name. The news release said officers arrested a woman for "demanding" $2,000 from a Gloversville man so an embarrassing email would not be made public to his family.
Police said Lyons was arrested at noon July 16 on Spring Street, where she had earlier planned to meet the "man." Police said detectives observed the meeting and the payoff from King to Lyons in exchange for deleting an email. She was arrested and taken into custody without incident, police said.
Lyons' next legal appearance is scheduled for Sept. 24 before City Court Judge John Clo.
City police Chief Donald VanDeusen today wouldn't say whether King wore a "wire" or some type of recording device in the meeting with Lyons on Spring Street. He said his department decided to take on the case and not recuse itself to another police agency because the case didn't involve wrongdoing by the mayor.
"There wasn't any allegations of criminal conduct against the mayor," VanDeusen said.
Lyons' attorney, public defender Michael Smrtic of Gloversville, declined to answer most questions about the case. He said he is trying to negotiate a deal with Sira's office to plead down the case involving the woman.
He was leery of the story going public at this time.
"At this time, I haven't spoken with her on what we're trying to negotiate," Smrtic said.
He said Lyons wasn't King's girlfriend and she has no criminal record.
He said he's still trying to get details about the case.
Lyons couldn't be reached for comment this morning.
King today openly discussed the case and what Lyons allegedly told him.
He said he realizes he's a public figure and these types of cases tend to be sensationalized, but "in my case, there's nothing to hide."
"What happened was I was contacted by her and she said she was going to go public with a relationship that never existed," he said. "I was attempted to be extorted."
King said he "no way" ever gave the woman money before the July 16 exchange. But before that day, he alleged, he received a call from Lyons, who threatened to go public to The Times-Union newspaper if he didn't give her $2,000.
King said his first call after that was to his wife and his second call was to city police to arrange the July 16 meeting.
He said $2,000 in "police money" was exchanged.
"I don't even have $2,000," the mayor said.
"I certainly know who this woman is," King said of Lyons.
He said he doesn't have an attorney in the matter, although he realizes he may have to appear if the case goes to trial.
At first, he said, he didn't necessarily want to harm Lyons, but decided to press forward with prosecution.
"We're for her getting jail time, but we want to move on as well," King said.
Michael Anich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.