Senator Ortt likely to resign following disclosure of alleged bribe in Maziarz case

The Niagara County Republican Party is imploding in the aftermath of a Grand Jury being convened by the Albany County District Attorney’s Office investigating the campaign expenditures of former Senator George Maziarz.

Former Maziarz loyalists have turned State’s evidence after being threatened with criminal charges themselves, including State Senator Robert Ortt and former Niagara County GOP Chairman Henry Wojtaszek.

Both men are likely to be forced to resign their positions.

When Ortt was North Tonawanda Treasurer, Maziarz had to convince him to run for Mayor (a position of lesser salary), so his wife was offered an allegedly no-show position on Maziarz’s campaign.  Prosecutors are arguing that the offer constitutes a bribe, sources close to the situation tell The Chronicle.

The news is likely to break going into an election year, giving any opponent the runway and message to easily oust the young politician who has benefited mightily from the Maziarz political machine. Niagara County Republican operatives expect Ortt to resign the seat rather than attempt a brutal reelection effort.

It is rumored that Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dsyter and Wheatfeild Town Supervisor Robert Cliffe are both eying the seat.

Wojtaszek is an attorney formerly of the firm Harris Beach, which got caught up in a scandal relating to Niagara Community College’s contracting practices. The same source says that an ongoing probe into the College’s president James P. Klyczek is expected to reveal that he was corrupting the open bidding process in order to slide work to Harris Beach through one of the bidders.

Wojtaszek is an influential lobbyist who was intimately involved in the genesis of the Niagara Culinary Institute project housed in a portion of the former Rainbow Mall. That project was funded by the Cuomo administration — with architecture, design and construction contracts awarded to major political donors.

The construction manager on that $17 million project was LP Ciminelli. One of the firm’s executives, Kevin Schuler, was recently indicted with Louis Ciminelli. He serves on the NCCC Board of Trustees.

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9 comments

  1. Great to hear this scandal is coming to an end, but there may be a deeper layer of this scandal if the authorities look wider.
    Niagara county needs to be cleaned up both politically and criminally. I congratulate the grand jury and the DA OFFICE for doing what is right, fair and just.

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  2. Ortt was a good mayor for north tonawanda and he countuied to look out for north tonawanda the next guy will not even know where north Tonawanda is …bye bye north tonawanda losing everything we’re losing everything we cant even keep police dispatching..

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  3. This has nothing to due with NT. You have a corrupt politician who got caught. It doesn’t matter where he is from or his past jobs, he is a corrupt politician and needs to be held accountable for his actions. He knew was he was doing. NT will grow and prosper if the right people work for the people of NT. He may be a nice person but he was padding his pockets… Two faced

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  4. Another conniving, corrupt politician clinging to the rim of the Niagara County toiletbowl. His guilt is measured by his quick invocation of his “service and sacrifice” in the military. As a rule, those who sacrificed rarely invoke it as punchline or to diminish guilt.

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