Barrett Esworthy, the Democratic candidate for Johnson City mayor, says he's angry about speculation surrounding his decision to legally change his name nearly two decades ago.

Speaking on WNBF Radio's Binghamton Now program Thursday, Esworthy said there are "some very vicious rumors going around" suggesting his name change was an "attempt to cover up some bad thing that I may have done when I was a juvenile."

Esworthy said he had his name legally changed in 1995 when he was 19 years old because of family issues and a strained relationship with his father.

Esworthy had addressed the name issue during a previous interview on the radio program.

Esworthy maintained people within Mayor Greg Deemie's campaign have been spreading rumors about the name change. He said he's "very angry" his opposition appears willing to exploit the change for political gain.

Esworthy said "they're essentially trying to take kind of a tragedy in my life" to use to their advantage.

Deemie could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.