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PROBE CLEARS 2 CANDIDATES IN RACE FOR SEATS ON SCHOOL BOARD

A two-month police investigation into campaign finance-disclosure forms filed by two candidates in this spring's Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School Board race has determined that the district's two large unions divided the cost of putting up campaign signs in support of the candidates.

But the investigation did not turn up any conclusive links between the decision of the Kenmore Teachers Association and Kenmore-Tonawanda School Employees Association to buy and put up the signs and any approval or direction by the candidates, Susan M. Rizzo and Alan MacGamwell, police said.

The lack of a link means police are putting the investigation to rest without charges -- a conclusion reviewed and supported by the district attorney's office.

"I'm not so sure we weren't dealing with some kind of ethical problem here, but there was no violation of the penal code," Erie County District Attorney Frank J. Clark said.

"The allegation was that because of all the signs out there, they (Rizzo and MacGamwell) had spent more than they said they had. But a third party paid for the signs, not them," Clark said. "There was no actionable criminal conduct."

Officers of both the Kenmore Teachers Association and the School Employees Association did not return phone calls Friday.

But while members of a local taxpayers group simmered, there was relief on the part of at least one of the involved candidates that the matter was over.

"It's such a personal thing. Obviously, I'm relieved," said MacGamwell, a former Kenmore West principal currently serving his first term on the board. "The fact of the matter is, I wasn't involved in the signs. I couldn't tell you today who paid for the signs or who put them up."

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