Fairfax County Board Chairman John F. Herrity, saying "I want to set the record straight," released a personal financial statement yesterday and said, "It is apparent . . . that in my 12 years as chairman I have not financially benefited from my position."
Herrity said he took the action because of a "tremendous barrage of innuendo from my opponent," Supervisor Audrey Moore (D-Annandale). "Throughout the past few months, Mrs. Moore and her campaign have made numerous suggestions, both publicly and privately, that I am personally profiting from my position as chairman by being 'in the pocket of the developers.' " He challenged Moore to release personal financial data.
Moore, interviewed shortly after Herrity's news conference, shook her head incredulously when asked about Herrity's statements. "I've never made any comments, never made any innuendo," she said. "Did he really say that?"
Asked if she thought Herrity has profited personally from developers, she said, "No, I don't think it's true." Her campaign office said she has already filed all pertinent financial data with the county.
Moore, who has served with Herrity on the county Board of Supervisors since they were first elected in 1971, has often publicly accused Herrity of bowing to developers' interests and has blamed his "rush to develop" policies for the county's huge traffic jams. In her recent campaign literature, she labeled Herrity the "developers' candidate."
However, in the presence of reporters, she has not made any mention of Herrity's personal financial situation, nor has she suggested that Herrity has profited personally from his politicial alliance with developers.
Herrity held his news conference in the front yard of his modest two-story house in West Springfield. He said his wife and children had been stopped in public and questioned about his relationship with developers, who are among his campaign's major fund-raisers.
He acknowledged that developers are raising money for his campaign but added, "That doesn't mean I'm in their pocket or owned by them . . . . I vote for them when they're right and against them when I think they're wrong."
The news conference, organized by a public relations specialist recently brought on by Herrity's campaign, was an apparent attempt to deal with the so-called character issue that has dogged the chairman.
Polls have shown that Herrity's popularity dropped last year after he was convicted on a criminal misdemeanor charge of failing to obey a state public disclosure law and fined $100. The charge stemmed from his failure to disclose his investment partnership with a developer before voting on that developer's land use application.
Also, recent polls have indicated that voters think that Herrity is too close to county developers.
The financial statements showed that Herrity and his wife Justine have a net worth of $265,266. In addition, they list the net worth of Herrity's small Fairfax City insurance agency, Jack Herrity & Associates, at $104,844.
Herrity's total income in 1986 was $50,191, according to his federal tax returns. His 1985 income was $52,253. His annual salary as board chairman is $21,589. Herrity's wife works with emotionally disturbed children at the School for Contemporary Education in Springfield.
Herrity said in his statement, "My family has been asked to sacrifice because the time demands of the chairman's position impair my ability to run my insurance agency."
A spokesman for Moore said she had a taxable income of $23,771 last year, most of it from her post on the board, which carries the same salary as Herrity's. Her husband, Samuel V. Moore, had an income of $37,138, most of it from a government pension.
The term of county board chairman is four years. Staff writer Mary Jordan contributed to this report.