By Tony Farina;
I reported last October that the State Attorney General’s office was focusing squarely on the campaign account of former State Sen. George Maziarz and the former senator himself, and we have now learned that subpoenas have been issued in that investigation and evidence could be presented to a grand jury as soon as later this month.
Sources familiar with the probe say that Maziarz, who has consistently denied any wrongdoing in connection with his campaign account that once totaled more than $1 million, is among the targets of the grand jury investigation and there may be others.
When Maziarz announced in July of 2014 that he would not seek re-election in the 62nd District after 19 years, he said it had nothing to do with reports that federal investigators had expanded their corruption probe into his campaign account, adding that “I will be completely exonerated because I have done absolutely nothing wrong.”
Sources say the state probe is focusing on campaign transactions from the former senator’s account dating back to 2009 and totaling more than $151,000, as contained in an amended spending report filed last month with the state Board of Elections by his former treasurer, Laureen Jacobs. It includes many thousands of dollars in transactions charged to the former senator’s debit card.
As I reported last October, in addition to the un-itemized spending that first raised questions in the eyes of federal and state investigators, the state attorney general’s Office of Public Integrity is reportedly also focusing on whether Maziarz was able to steer money from his campaign account to undisclosed recipients through a third party, possibly leading to charges of false filings, according to legal sources.
Niagara County District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek recently withdrew from investigating Maziarz, citing the close relationship her husband, former Niagara County Republican Chairman Henry Wojtaszek, had with Sen. Maziarz for much of his senate career. The case was assigned to Erie County District Attorney John Flynn who, according to our sources, has been asked by the attorney general’s office to let them complete their investigation before doing anything himself.
Prominent defense attorney Joseph LaTona, who has long represented Maziarz, could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.