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Ethics board reaffirms decision to fine Morton

The Erie County Board of Ethics has reaffirmed its decision to fine Legislator Ted Morton $500 for filing false information on his 2013 financial disclosure form and understating his personal debts by tens of thousands of dollars.

The ethics board had originally fined Morton, R-Cheektowaga, in February. But Morton appealed the board’s decision, stating that paying the fine would suggest he knowingly tried to deceive the ethics board when, in fact, he simply made mistake. The Board of Ethics, which has the flexibility to fine violators up to $10,000, apparently disagreed with his position.

Erie County Democrats raised questions about Morton’s financial disclosure forms last fall when he was running for re-election in a hotly contested Eighth District race. In response, Morton acknowledged that on his 2013 Erie County financial disclosure form, he mistakenly said he owed no more than $25,000 in outstanding debts to a single creditor when, in fact, he owed about $90,000 in total debts to three different creditors.

The ethics board made its final decision on April 4.