WXXI AM News

bill nojay

The story of what the late Assemblyman Bill Nojay did -- his scams, his lies, his theft -- is only known because of the work of reporters Steve Orr and Gary Craig. They pushed to have records unsealed, and they chased down many threads to a strange and sad tale of deception.

Steve and Gary join us to explain how they pulled the entire, complex story together, and what questions they still would like to answer.

When Assemblyman Bill Nojay killed himself on the morning of September 9th, he was supposed to be in federal court for the unsealing of a criminal complaint against him. His death could have caused that record to remain sealed, and in fact, some of Nojay's supporters argued that there was no longer a reason for the public to see it. But the Democrat & Chronicle disagreed, and filed a motion to have the record unsealed.  

Eventually a judge ruled in their favor, and that's how the public came to understand what the Assemblyman was charged with doing: illegally misdirecting and misusing $800,000 from a client's account. Nojay was an attorney who managed the escrow account for a local architect.

Our guests discuss why they pushed to have the records unsealed, and the general matter of making sure public records remain accessible by the public. In studio:

  • Gary Craig, Democrat & Chronicle reporter
  • Dick Moss, Democrat & Chronicle News Director
  • Chris Thomas, attorney with Nixon Peabody who represented the D&C in this case

The death of Assemblyman Bill Nojay has opened up his seat for the November election. We sit down with both candidates: Republican Joe Errigo and Democrat Barbara Baer.

After the death of Assemblyman Bill Nojay, Republican leadership throughout the 133rd Assembly urged voters to still vote for Nojay in Tuesday’s GOP primary. The voters responded.

Assemblyman Bill Nojay's suicide has raised questions about possible fraud charges he was facing. Should the public have access to that information? The Democrat & Chronicle says yes. It's unusual for someone accused of a crime to die before the criminal complaint or indictment can be unsealed.

We talk to the D&C's reporting team of Gary Craig and Steve Orr, who broke the story about possible fraud charges. They not only explain why the newspaper is pushing for public release; they take us through the extraordinary events of Friday that led to their initial story.

Then we discuss suicide prevention with Kristina Mossgraber, events coordinator with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Rochester chapter. She shares her own story, and discusses resources for suicide prevention.

Assemblyman Bill Nojay, 59, has died, four days before he faced a Republican primary for his 133rd Assembly District seat. Nojay took his own life at Riverside Cemetery on Lake Avenue in Rochester.

At a noon news conference, Rochester Police said that they were called out to the cemetery at 9:22 a.m. Friday to "check the welfare" of a person at the cemetery. Police confirmed later in the afternoon that the person was Nojay, and said the reporting officer saw Nojay shoot himself.

Assembly GOP Leader Brian Kolb, expressed sadness and shock.

Lots of state business to talk about, starting with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver: can he survive the latest round of allegations? It looks like Silver helped craft legislation to benefit clients. I've asked all members of the assembly from our area to join us and in studio we will have Assemblymen Mark Johns (R) and Bill Nojay (R). The Sheldon Silver situation is not the only news to discuss, Governor Cuomo was in Rochester to talk about a new upstate fund, and we're getting ready for his combined State of the State/Budget Address.