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Man accused of harassing Tonawanda mayor with angry, vulgar voicemails

A 70-year-old Tonawanda man who left eight angry and vulgar voicemail messages in the span of an hour at City Hall is accused of harassing Tonawanda Mayor Rick Davis and the city assessor.

Gerald J. Wojdyla, who is charged with aggravated harassment, a misdemeanor, told detectives he'd been drinking before leaving the messages complaining about his taxes, City of Tonawanda Police Capt. Frederic Foels said.

The anonymous caller did not specifically say he would kill the mayor, Foels said, but he directed a number of vulgarities at Davis and told him at least once to watch his back.

"There's not too many different ways to take that," Davis said.

An employee in the City Clerk's Office heard the messages on the morning of April 8. In the messages, the caller complains about the city's revaluation of properties, the increasing tax rate in the financially strapped city and his rising property taxes.

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City Assessor David Marrano was cited by title, but not name, in the messages.

Davis said the messages were particularly troubling because both he and Marrano have families. "It doesn't take too much to find out where the two of us live," he said.

City police traced the calls to Wojdyla, of Syracuse Avenue, and arrested him on Thursday, Foels said. Davis said he's glad that police made an arrest and that City Hall about a year ago installed a new phone system that includes caller ID and other features that weren't previously in place.

Wojdyla was arraigned in City Court on Thursday and directed to have no offensive contact with City Hall employees.

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