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COUNCILMAN RECANTS STATEMENT ON LEGAL FUNDS

One of Richard Zarbo's fund-raising hopes has fallen through.

The Lancaster councilman recently said Lee Chowaniec, a member of an anti-sprawl group in Lancaster, is raising money to help with the councilman's legal bills.

"They are raising money, and I told them do whatever you want," Zarbo told The Buffalo News.

But Zarbo is now recanting that statement after Chowaniec took issue with Zarbo's comments and said that while he supports Zarbo politically, he is not, and never has been, involved with fund-raising for Zarbo or anyone else.

"I don't run fund-raisers, nor do I go to them," Chowaniec said.

Zarbo now says he doesn't recall saying Chowaniec is engaged in fund-raising activities on his behalf.

Zarbo mentioned Chowaniec while discussing other fund-raising efforts on his behalf with The News.

Zarbo is being sued for $7 million by a Lancaster developer, Joseph A. Cipolla.

Cipolla accused Zarbo of defamation and slander for comments the councilman had made about the way Cipolla does business in the town.

Recently, The News learned of an online legal defense fund posted on an Internet message board. The posting is sponsored by the "Friends of Rick Zarbo" and alludes to Zarbo's support of gun and Second Amendment rights.

Zarbo said that he doesn't know who is responsible for the posting and that he has not received any money from it.

It still has not been determined if the town will pay Zarbo's legal defense.

Meanwhile, Zarbo has hired a private attorney and says he already has spent thousands of dollars in legal fees.

e-mail: dswilliams@buffnews.com

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