Cain Fires Back at Restaino’s ‘Political Maneuver’ Threat to Release Personnel Files

By Tony Farina

The Niagara Falls mayoral race is turning ugly.  Just ask Republican candidate Carl Cain who is alleging that Mayor Restaino, a Democrat, and his appointed police chief, John Faso, have managed to deliver messages to him through two of his friends that he could face the public release of damaging information from his police personnel file if he stays in the race against Restaino.  Cain said both his friends were directed to deliver the mayor’s and police chief’s messages to him, and they did.

Cain, who said Tuesday he is “extremely upset” over the actions of the mayor and his police chief, is not taking the matter lightly, and the retired cop and military veteran has fired back.

“They are using  their official positions to interfere with the political opponent of the mayor, me, a retired deputy chief of police,” said Cain in a statement on his campaign’s Facebook page.  “This goes beyond the boundaries of fair play in our democratic process.”

The mayor told one of my friends after calling him into his office that this was no vendetta, just a political maneuver, said Cain.

Some might see it as more than just a political maneuver but rather another sign of Restaino’s penchant for bullying anybody in his way, dating back to 2005 when then-City Court Judge Restaino locked up most of the people in his courtroom because of a ringing cell phone, an action that eventually led to his removal from the bench.

Robert Restaino is a talented and smart fellow and a good politician and lawyer, but he tends to resort to strong measures when he feels he has been crossed and or somebody or something is in his way, and if Cain’s allegations are true, he’s done it again.  When not campaigning for re-election these days, he is spending lots of taxpayer money to seize NFR land for his unfunded events park, another example of the mayor’s strong will or whatever you want to call it when something stands in his way.  NFR would prefer to build a digital campus bringing jobs and tax money to the city but the mayor won’t budge.

Robert Restaino

But back to the Cain matter. Using the retired deputy police chief’s personnel records against him in the campaign, no matter how it is done, would be a serious breach of Personal Privacy Protection Law and New York’s Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), and Cain said Tuesday he has already filed his complaint with the Niagara County District Attorney’s Office.  The allegations would have to lead directly to the mayor and police chief, and perhaps witnesses could do that in the process of an investigation if it gets to that point.

Restaino called Cain’s accusations “incredible” in a statement to the Niagara Gazette, indicating that the administration is aware that (Cain’s) previous application to become police chief under a prior administration failed because his personnel file was purged and missing various reports, complaints and/or statements that members of the department were aware previously existed in the file, including “a publicly reported sexual harassment settlement.”

Carl Cain

Cain says it sounds like the mayor is suggesting he took items from his personnel file when he retired in 2019 after a 29 year career, which he said would have required lots of help from the entire department, and said beyond that the city should still have all the electronic records of all documents in his file, adding that city lawyers recommended a settlement in the sexual harassment case, adding that he had preferred to be able to defend his conduct in court.

So where do things stand? It looks like lots of ammunition for  both sides in the upcoming mayoral debate Oct. 25 at the Niagara Street School.

Lost in the political fighting is Cain’s pledge to contribute to the betterment of the city if he’s elected, saying when he announced his candidacy that he now has the opportunity to continue his lifelong service to the people of his native Niagara Falls.

Cain received many honors during his long police career and boasts a master’s degree in criminal justice from Niagara University.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
.wpzoom (color:black;}