QUEENS — A candidate for Queens borough president, whose previous fliers showed him as a crime-fighting superhero is now calling on his nemesis for help, sending out fliers that make it seem like he's been endorsed by his former foe.
“Tony Avella is no longer running for borough president,” the flier says. “So now the choice is clear: Peter Vallone, Jr.”
It also lists issues that Vallone’s campaign claims the two Queens politicians have agreed on, from fighting over-development to securing proper funding for the borough.
In his previous campaign literature, the Astoria councilman branded himself as a superhero, with a photo of Vallone dressed in a suit and costume, holding an American flag and presumably running toward danger.
"I just was concerned that the people would have the same sense of humor that I do," Vallone said at the time. "I didn't want anyone to take it too seriously."
But Avella isn't laughing about the latest fliers, and said they mislead voters into thinking Vallone has picked up Avella's endorsement.
“He had no permission to do that, and I would not have OK'd it,” Avella told DNAinfo New York.
“It's disingenuous, and it misleads the public into thinking I've endorsed him, which I haven’t,” he said. “And never will. Ever.”
Vallone and Avella had sparred at forums throughout the campaign, including one where Avella accused the city councilman of using text messages to cheat on questions during a forum in July.
Avella, who dropped out after the filings were due, will still be on the ballot on Primary Day — and hasn't endorsed either Vallone or his opponent, Melinda Katz, a former member of the City Council and state Assembly.
Vallone, though, said he didn’t intend to confuse voters — only inform them.
“It was not my intent to make it look like an endorsement,” he said. “It told people he was off the ballot, and highlighted the views we both share.”
The campaign wanted to make sure voters didn’t “waste” their vote on someone who is no longer running, Vallone said.