Diodate Debacle Unfolds as Tompkins Has Last Laugh

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Former council secretary arrested; charged with multiple felonies. 

 

By: Tony Farina

‘It was a bad hire,” said Niagara Falls Republican Councilman Ken Tompkins on Monday referring to the 4 to 1 vote by lawmakers in January of 2018 approving Mark Diodate for the $37,000-plus position of secretary to the council.

Tompkins, who cast the lone negative vote against the hiring of Diodate and was against the move from the start, said he had lied on his resume numerous times and was still approved.

“There were red flags on his resume that should have disqualified him,” said Tompkins, adding that Diodate’s recent arrest for coming into city hall after work to pad his final paycheck should come as no surprise given his false claims in his resume about his employment history.

Tompkins, who is up for re-election in November, clearly suggested that politics may have played a role in Diodate’s hire by the Democratic majority even though fellow Republican Chris Voccio voted with the three Democrats who make up the majority.

Tompkins refused to comment further but other GOP sources suggest Diodate was backed for the patronage post by Democratic party leaders and the council went along with their wishes.

Democratic leaders declined to speak on the record about Tompkins’ charges that Diodate was the golden boy, but one high-ranking party official said that’s not how the party operates and said it is the Republicans who have flooded the city, county and towns with “unqualified hacks” for 20 years, and that’s not how Democrats operate.

Tompkins has strong ammunition for his charges of “red flags” as a former employer, in a public letter, characterized Diodate’s work as a sales and managing partner as portrayed in his resume as “inaccurate and deceitful,” according to published reports in the Niagara Gazette.

Diodate apparently has lost his bid for a position with the Board of Education because of the three felony counts he now faces.

Niagara County District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek said Diodate is accused of coming into city hall after hours and adding additional hours to his payroll record on a city computer in order to increase his final paycheck.

Diodate has pleaded not guilty to three felony charges and a misdemeanor count in connection with his arrest and his Buffalo attorney, Herb Greenman, could not be reached for comment.

The latest political flap is a sign of the high stakes involved in November’s election as Republicans are hoping to take control of the council, ending Democratic control.

Incumbents Tompkins, Voccio, and newcomer John Spanbauer are hoping to give the GOP a council majority in the coming year, and Tompkins’ salvo at the council’s hiring of a flawed Diodate is a major shot at Democratic leadership.  Diodate added fuel to the political fire by allegedly trying to steal money from the city on his way out the door.

 

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