WXXI AM News

Two WNY politicians facing election law charges

Mar 23, 2017

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Two western New York politicians are facing felony charges they violated state election law.

Republican state Sen. Robert Ortt of Niagara County pleaded not guilty Thursday in Albany to charges that, as mayor of North Tonawanda, he used a no-show job to funnel money to his wife.

Meanwhile, Ortt's predecessor, former Republican Sen. George Maziarz, pleaded not guilty to charges that he used campaign money to secretly pay an ex-staffer accused of sexual harassment.

Prosecutors say both men used the same ``pass-through entities'' to hide payments. Ortt calls the charges ``ridiculous'' and politically motivated. Maziarz's attorney said his client is innocent and will be vindicated. 

The bipartisan Board of Elections referred the case to Democratic AttorneyGeneral Eric Schneiderman, who says the allegations represent ``a shameful breach of the public trust.''