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Maziarz dips into campaign war chest to cover legal costs

ALBANY – George Maziarz, a former state senator who has been under federal investigation, continued this year to dip into his still-hefty campaign account to pay his legal tab.

Maziarz, a Newfane Republican and Niagara County political powerhouse, used his Senate campaign account, which had a balance of slightly more than $1 million last January, to pay for three law firms over the past six months, according to state records released Thursday.

New York politicians facing legal inquiries have long tapped into their campaign bank accounts, and Maziarz during the previous six-month period ending last January spent $75,000 on legal bills.

During the period from mid-January through mid-July this year, Maziarz used his campaign account to finance $43,300 worth of legal expenses.

The largest went to his Buffalo lawyer, Joseph LaTona, who received $30,400. Next, at $10,700, was the Manhattan firm of Schlam, Stone & Dolan. The Buffalo firm of Connors & Vilardo was paid $4,200.

Maziarz did not seek re-election last year, and he confirmed after announcing he would not run again that Manhattan-based U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara had launched an inquiry into the senator’s campaign finance activities. Maziarz previously identified LaTona as his lawyer in the probe.

About 95 percent of Maziarz’s campaign account spending the past six months went to for lawyer fees.

Maziarz has $975,000 still on hand in his campaign bank, according to a filing released Thursday afternoon by the state Board of Elections.