Mayor Dayton King said Thursday he was the victim of an extortion attempt by a 29-year-old Orchard Street woman.
City police charged Kristi L. Lyons of 29 Orchard St. with grand larceny, a class E felony, on July 16 in a sting operation.
At the time of her arrest, police did not release King’s name, in keeping with department policy of not identifying victims of crimes, said Police Chief Donald VanDeusen.
King’s name surfaced in a local publication, which reported that Lyons said she had a sexual relationship with King and that she planned to release an incriminating email unless he paid her $2,000.
King denied the relationship. “I never had a relationship with her. She and my wife know each other from grade school and high school,” he said.
King said he saw the email in question and that is was harmless in nature. “She had showed it to me when we [met in] the park on July 16. I did not see anything in the email and I did not do anything that I would be embarrassed about,” he said.
King said the email was a response to a comment Lyons made to his “Mayor Dayton King” Facebook page. He said she congratulated him for doing a good job as mayor and he wrote back, “I appreciate your support.”
Lyons is one of 4,500 friends on his Facebook page, King said, and that he exchanges messages with people all the time. He said she contacted him in July and threatened to use the message against him unless he gave her money. “When I got that phone call from her, I called my wife and we called the police. I will not be extorted,” he said. He said he does not know why Lyons chose to contact him. “I did not have $2,000 laying around. Maybe she thought I made more money,” he said.
When King set up the meeting with Lyons, city police were there to monitor the exchange. King said he used police money for the transaction.
“I did not do anything wrong, I was the victim in this case,” he said. “I am not embarrassed. Someone made up a story, but it affects my family. My kids will have to hear from their peers about their daddy.”
Attorney Michael Smyrtic, who represents Lyons, was not available for comment.