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Monroe DA to probe Maziarz claims of Niagara bid-rigging

Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley has been named a special prosecutor to probe accusations of bid-rigging in Niagara County government leveled by former State Sen. George D. Maziarz.

Justice Paula L. Feroleto, administrative judge of State Supreme Court’s Eighth Judicial District, said Wednesday her appointment of Doorley results from the former senator’s continuing charges of corruption throughout Niagara County. Maziarz alleges that Henry F. Wojtaszek, the former county GOP chairman, pressured county officials in 2014 to deliver a grantwriting contract to Four Points Communications. The firm at the time was headed by Wojtazek’s one-time secretary.

The special prosecutor was requested by Niagara County District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek – Henry Wojtaszek’s wife – after she recused herself from investigating the case.

“She will do whatever the District Attorney’s Office thinks is needed in terms of investigation,” Feroleto said of Doorley’s assignment.

Doorley was unavailable for comment Wednesday.

Earlier this month, Maziarz convened a Lockport news conference to complain that FBI interview documents stemming from a criminal case brought against him by the State Attorney General’s Office revealed the situation. He alleged that Wojtaszek, his former protege in Niagara County Republican politics, steered the contract to Four Points and received some of the proceeds.

But Wojtaszek, an attorney, all along has denied the allegations of his former friend, pointing to an August opinion by the State Bar Association’s Grievance Committee dismissing Maziarz’s request for disciplinary action in connection with the Four Points allegations.

“Several legal entities have already dismissed these baseless accusations and we are looking forward to that same conclusion here,” Wojtaszek said Wednesday, “so we can finally put these politically motivated accusations behind us.”

Wojtaszek’s attorney, Patrick J. Brown, noted that the state attorney general also investigated and dismissed the Maziarz allegations as part of a widespread investigation of Niagara County politics.

“This is not new ground,” Brown said. “This issue has been looked at by government authorities who found no wrongdoing.”

Maziarz did not return a call seeking comment.

Maziarz in 2018 tried but failed to get aides prosecuted in connection with his former campaign account, citing an unaccounted-for $350,000 in campaign funds. That followed his own indictment by the attorney general on five felonies connected to GOP campaigns in Niagara County.

He eventually pleaded guilty in 2018 to a campaign finance misdemeanor and paid a $1,000 fine, while insisting that former Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman’s efforts were politically motivated.

A special prosecutor – Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn – was eventually appointed to probe those Maziarz claims. But Flynn determined last October that he could not prosecute any crime connected with the missing funds.

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