The long campaign for mayor of New York City ended in a barrage of bitter accusations Monday as former U.S. Atty. Rudolph W. Giuliani charged that Democratic rival David N. Dinkins would be the subject of multiple investigations if elected mayor.
Giuliani, the Republican and Liberal Party candidate, held a series of "integrity" rallies Monday, trying at the last minute to convince voters that character should be the centerpiece of the election.
He sought to picture his opponent as more than sloppy with financial matters, accusing him of taking a paid-for vacation in France that should have been listed on city disclosure forms.
"I have no doubt David Dinkins will be the subject of a number of probes over the next year or two," Giuliani charged, mentioning the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Manhattan district attorney and the Internal Revenue Service as possible investigators.
Dinkins "lacks the personal integrity to be mayor," Giuliani said. " . . . He has repeatedly violated the campaign finance law. He has concealed the business relationship of 11,000 of his campaign contributors."
The city's Campaign Finance Board recently withheld $95,000 in campaign matching funds from Dinkins because Dinkins' submission list of contributors was incomplete.
Dinkins, who leads in the polls, branded his opponent's charges as "last-minute scurrilous accusations."
Standing against a backdrop of blue-uniformed corrections officers who had just endorsed him in the rotunda of City Hall, Dinkins said: "Mr. Giuliani came into this contest astride a white charger, a knight in shining armor. I would suggest that the armor is a bit tarnished and that the white charger is no longer white--it's gray."
With exchanges in that vein, a campaign marked more by mudslinging than discussion of the issues ended.
Despite the tone of the last-minute rhetoric, it was a remarkable campaign.
For the first time in 324 years, a black candidate is on the threshold of becoming New York City's mayor--an accomplishment that has inspired pride and a sense of history in the making among blacks and many other voters.
During the primary, Democrats ended the 12-year career of Mayor Edward I. Koch, whose brashness and savvy had for more than a decade symbolized the city to the rest of the nation. And Giuliani, who seemed such a strong candidate when he first declared for mayor in the spring, ended his campaign struggling for political survival.
The mayoral election of 1989 was played out against a host of concerns--a lagging economy, the AIDS epidemic, child abuse, the plight of the homeless and a potential $1-billion budget deficit in the next fiscal year.
After the slaying of a black teen-ager during a confrontation with white youths in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bensonhurst, race became an issue in a city already tense over the gang rape of a white jogger in Central Park by black youths. In the Democratic primary, Dinkins not only drew solid black support, but also the votes of significant numbers of whites by portraying himself as a conciliator.
In the general election, however, the 62-year-old Manhattan Borough president slipped in the polls after a series of setbacks. Reporters questioned a stock transfer to his son and the payment of "walking around money" on primary day to a controversial community activist with a criminal record.
Over the weekend, in their only two debates, Giuliani repeatedly accused Dinkins of engaging in a cover-up by not opening the books of privately held Inner City Broadcasting Co. to show if the transfer actually occurred and the stock was not "parked" to avoid capital gains taxes. He coupled that with reminding voters that Dinkins had failed to file income tax returns from 1969 to 1972. The Democratic candidate later paid all taxes plus interest and penalties.
Former Manhattan Borough President Percy Sutton, Dinkins' political mentor and chairman of Inner City Broadcasting, refused to make the books public, claiming that the confidentiality of other stockholders would be violated.
Giuliani also added a new accusation: that Dinkins had failed to list on his financial disclosure forms a 1988 vacation to southern France that was paid for by a jeweler.
Dinkins replied on Monday that the jeweler, a friend, did not do business with the city. Dinkins said he had discovered that on the trip he had paid more than $500 for part of the air fare and that his host had used Marriott Honor Guest Award program points of no cash value for the rest of the fare for him and his wife.
Dinkins said that his counsel had advised him that the New York City Administrative Code was unclear on whether he needed to report the trip but that he would amend his financial disclosure statement for 1988, the year of the vacation.
A recent poll by the Daily News and WABC-TV--in line with other surveys--shows Giuliani trailing by 14 points in a city where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans five to one.
Dinkins, with the help of a large get-out-the-vote drive by the unions supporting him, hopes to forge victory today by adding liberal Jewish voters, Latinos and a smaller share of white Catholic voters to his strong base of black support.