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Pigeon associate Kristy Mazurek eyes run for Wozniak’s Assembly seat

A central figure in the state-federal probe surrounding political operative G. Steven Pigeon is now preparing to run for the Assembly.

Kristy L. Mazurek, a longtime Pigeon associate, has asked for Working Families Party backing and those close to her say she is preparing to mount a Democratic primary candidacy for the 143rd District seat being vacated by Republican Angela M. Wozniak.

Mazurek’s effort begins just as state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has empaneled a special grand jury in Buffalo to probe possible crimes stemming from a political committee called the WNY Progressive Caucus that she administered during the 2013 Democratic primary campaign. The fund gave about $267,000 to several anti-organization Democrats favored by Pigeon.

Mazurek did not return a call seeking comment. But another close Pigeon associate who also was involved in the WNY Progressive Caucus and who said he was speaking on her behalf – David B. Pfaff – said she is “certainly exploring it.”

“She’s asked for Working Families backing and [Democratic] petitions hit the streets on June 7,” he said.

Mazurek’s candidacy would result in a challenge to Monica P. Wallace, a University at Buffalo Law School professor who already has received the Democratic endorsement. Mazurek also looms as Wallace’s only primary opponent if Cheektowaga Councilman James P. Rogowski eventually does not seek the seat for which he announced earlier this year. He was unavailable on Friday.

Already, Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy J. Zellner is ripping Mazurek’s expected entry into the race.

“Kristy Mazurek’s candidacy is nothing more than another sideshow orchestrated by Steve Pigeon,” he said. “The Buffalo News has reported on investigations by State Police and the FBI to look into her role as treasurer of the WNY Progressive Caucus. If she were serving in Albany today, we would be calling for her resignation.”

The News reported in June 2015 that Mazurek’s home was spared when agents of Schneiderman, the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the FBI executed search warrants at the homes of Pigeon and two other political operatives last May 28. The News said then that Mazurek was cooperating with law enforcement, had spent hours in at least two meetings with investigators, and answered dozens of questions about the financial dealings of the WNY Progressive Caucus.

“She has cooperated ... she has answered questions,” one source who knows Mazurek said at the time. “Kristy is in a very tough spot right now. Steve Pigeon is her friend, but she doesn’t want to become a target. She’s walking on a very thin line.”

Though the activities of the WNY Progressive Caucus served as the basis for Schneiderman’s original investigation, The News reported earlier this month that the probe’s tentacles have spread into other areas. Sources say investigators are interested in emails gleaned from the computers taken from Pigeon’s home during last May’s raid.

The News also has reported that State Supreme Court Justice John A. Michalek has been questioned as part of the probe.

Mazurek’s brother Mark unsuccessfully sought the same seat in 2014 while also representing the Pigeon wing of the party. He lost to Wozniak in the general election after defeating endorsed Democrat Camille Brandon in the September Democratic primary.

Mazurek has other close associations to the district and the local political scene. In 2014 she sued the former assemblyman for whom she once worked – Democrat Dennis H. Gabryszak – over allegations of sexual harassment. Gabryszak resigned in early 2014, and the married Wozniak said earlier this month she would not seek a second term in the Assembly after admitting to an affair with a male staffer.

A State Supreme Court justice late last year dismissed the suit of Mazurek and two others against Gabryszak, ruling the women waited too long to file the litigation. Pfaff said Friday he did not know if Mazurek had appealed the decision.

Mazurek, 45, is a former television reporter who once co-hosted a Channel 2 program on local politics. She is the daughter of former County Legislator Henry Mazurek.

email: rmccarthy@buffnews.com