by Victor Lopez
ODESSA--As the Ector County GOP gave its take on Commissioner incumbent, Barbara Graff's statments, the man at the center of her allegations says he wants to set the record straight.
Dale Childers says he didn't see or hear his opponent's press conference on Monday and denies the allegations. But when Graff said he was part of a cover up, he calls that dirty pool, "It's the act of a desperate candidate and it's not nice politics. It's dirty politics."
Graff, a Democrat, made these accusations against her Republican opponent, just a week before the scheduled election.
Childers explains what it's all about, "She is saying that I have been lying to the public. It all stems from a lawsuit that was filed after an employee for the Odessa Fire Department was fired for driving while intoxicated. It's a very complex story because it also has to do with Barbara Jordan which was, I think, four years ago now, and the rash that was going on there."
Graff accused Childers of putting students in danger when he didn't report an air quality test that came back with unusually high levels of acetone.
Childers says that test was flawed, "We pulled draw tubes, that's probably the most thing we did and we draw tubes for all kinds of different chemicals. I think one or maybe two of those draw tubes came back very high for acetone. The senior toxicologist for the Texas Department of State Health Services basically told us, 'it's not acetone, you've got a bad tube', that's what it sounds like."
But where's is the tie in with the lawsuit? Pat Land, the employee who was fired for DWI was one of the officials on the scene of the Barbara Jordan investigation.
Childers says, he thinks he knows how Graff got her information, "I was told there was a hearing over this lawsuit about a month ago. She went to that hearing, is my assumption. She went to that hearing and got part of this information. That's the only way she could have known about it. She knew about it before it was public knowledge, too."
Childers says his integrity speaks for itself and he'll continue his campaign for County Commissioner.
Odessa City Manager Richard Morton called the situation "sad" and says he doesn't put any stock in Graff's accusations.