AMID CORRUPTION PROBE, MAZIARZ WILL NOT RUN AGAIN

In a shocking political development, longtime Senator George Maziarz (R-Newfane) has decided not to seek reelection. The resignation comes less than a weak after top aids Alisa Colatarci and Marcus Hall resigned abruptly. PoliticsNY.net is reporting that the staffers were under the pressure of federal investigators who are investigating campaign finance irregularities.

In October of 2010, the Seneca Nation of Indians made two separate contributions of $96,000 each to a fundraising committee controlled by Maziarz. The Senator had convinced a handful of Seneca leaders to contribute the nearly $200,000 to target Senator Antoine Thompson, who had postured against the nation on various tobacco and gaming issues.

The money was intended for last minute television ads promoting candidate Mark Grisanti, who was the long shot candidate running on the Republican line. But barely half of that money made its way to eventual media buys.

The Moreland Commission had been investigating Maziarz for campaign irregularities before it was disbanded by Governor Andrew Cuomo. US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharra has revived the Commissions investigations, and City & State notes that Maziarz had reported over $140,000 in unitemized expenses.

Maziarz released this statement:

“People will ask me why now and the simple answer is there is never the perfect time to step away. I had the honor of following the late John Daly into the State Senate. I remember him telling me when he left the Senate it was simply time for the next generation of leaders in the Legislature. After nearly two decades in office, I fully understand what he meant and feel that way today.

“My second daughter gets married this summer and that is a much bigger priority for me than another grueling campaign. My family has sacrificed enough for my public service through the years and I cannot ask for any more.

“To the people of Niagara, Orleans and Monroe counties who I have had the pleasure to represent since 1995, I extend my heart felt appreciation for your continued support. I always told people that being your Senator was the greatest job in the world, one I dedicated myself to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We accomplished great things and I did my best to help my constituents with any problem…big or small. Thank you for giving a kid from North Tonawanda the chance to fulfill his dream of serving in the State Senate.”

The local Republican Party is expected to name North Tonawanda Mayor Robert Ort to replace Maziarz on the ballot. Republican Gia Arnold has been already planning on running, as is Democrat Johnny Destino.

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