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Konst again misses disclosure deadline State Senate hopeful stokes controversy

State Senate candidate Kathy Konst on Friday missed her third deadline in a row for filing financial disclosure reports with the State Board of Elections, injecting another element of controversy into an increasingly troubled campaign.

Board records indicate Democrat Konst did not file the required report that lists contributions and expenditures, while Republican opponent Sen. Dale M. Volker of Lancaster and hundreds of others around the state submitted theirs on time as required by law.

Erie County Republican Chairman James P. Domagalski, who has been leading the charge against Konst over the past several days, called it a "flagrant violation" that makes it seem as if she is "above the law."

"What's she hiding? Why won't she let the citizens and taxpayers know from where she's getting her money and what she's spending it on?" he said. "If she is unwilling to file, she really ought to step down from this campaign."

Konst did not return a call seeking comment.

The Board of Elections has already filed suit against Konst for not filing the documents. Konst said last week the action is "no big deal," while acknowledging the required report has not been filed. But she said problems with an electronic filing system have caused the delay, which she hoped will be rectified soon.

Candidates experiencing such problems can obtain a waiver, said Bob Brehm, board spokesman.

But Konst has requested no such action, he said, prompting the board to sue her in State Supreme Court. She is scheduled to appear before a judge in Albany on Oct. 17 to answer the complaint.

Her failure to file follows allegations by Senate Republicans that Konst unlawfully voted in both Florida and in Erie County in the 1998 election. While Konst may not be prosecuted for what constitutes a felony federal offense because the statute of limitations has expired, the claim has already become a major issue in the hotly contested election.

Konst and her husband, attorney Harry N. Konst, insist the allegations are not true. They have also maintained they moved to Lancaster from Florida in 1992 and did not live there again.

But Domagalski produced documents last week, confirmed by The Buffalo News, showing Harry Konst filed for bankruptcy in Florida in 2003. He listed an address in Juno Beach as his place of residence even though he and his wife had previously denied that they still lived there. Harry Konst refused to discuss the matter.

Volker, meanwhile, filed a report showing he has spent about $11,000 so far, with almost $77,000 on hand.


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