Maziarz’s Alleged Bid-Rigging Connection Misses Mark

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By: Tony Farina

Former State Sen. George Maziarz last week accused former top aide Henry Wojtaszek of engaging in a bid-rigging scheme to help a friend’s firm win a Niagara County grant-writing contract back in 2012, but the owner of the company who received that bid denies any ties to Wojtaszek in connection with winning that contract.

Tom Lewis, who owned Four Points DBA at the time, tells this newspaper he responded to an RFP in late 2011 or early 2012, was interviewed by a panel that included Niagara County Manager Jeff Glatz, and was awarded the contract in April of 2012.

“That was it,” said Lewis in a telephone interview about the charges leveled by Maziarz.  “I was the sole proprietor, did about 12 grants and won six, including one to help the Niagara Falls air base which was worried about being closed at the time.  I would say we were extremely successful, winning about $2 million in grants during that period.”

In a news conference last week, Maziarz claimed an FBI interview with former Niagara County Republican Chairman Mike Norris back in 2014 is the basis for his bid-rigging allegations even though the document he produced, apparently obtained from files he received from the state attorney general’s office from their case against him, led to nothing.

In that document that Maziarz showcased at his news conference, Norris says Wojtaszek wanted to get Four Points and another former Maziarz aide, Rick Winter, the grant writing contract.  But Winter was not part of Four Points then, or now, according to Lewis who was the sole proprietor.

“I don’t know where he [Maziarz] is getting that,” said Lewis this week.  Lewis said Bridget Corcoran formed Four Points LLC in 2013 after he moved on, followed by Melinda Boeskin, Wojtaszek’s former legal secretary.

Boeskin owned the company in 2014 – 15 when Wojtaszek served as a legal adviser and helped out on projects, earning a salary of $2,000 a month.

Lewis now owns a trucking company in Niagara Falls and Wojtaszek is now president of Western Regional Off-Track Betting.

Niagara County District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek has requested the 8th Judicial District Administrative Judge Paula Feroleto to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Maziarz’s charges against her husband, but a spokesman for the court said Monday the earliest a decision would be made is Wednesday, March 6, because Judge Feroleto is out of town.

In cases like this, a district attorney from a neighboring county would be selected although we have learned that Erie County DA John Flynn is not interested, given his long history probing claims by Maziarz that his massive campaign chest had been looted by his staff.  Flynn brought no charges following his probe.

If no district attorney wants the case, an attorney could be appointed with the cost borne by the requesting county, in this case Niagara County.

Maziarz pleaded guilty last March to filing a false instrument in order to allow him to secretly pay a former staffer.  He had been facing five felony charges brought by his former political enemy, Eric Schneiderman, the former attorney general who resigned in disgrace in May of last year after being accused by several women of physical assault.

Henry Wojtaszek said in a statement after Marziarz leveled his charges that his former political mentor “is using his former title to manipulate the media to do his political dirty work for him, since the legal system has rejected his false accusations.”

Wojtaszek, who shared political power with Maziarz for years, said the former senator is obsessed with trying to settle political scores with his enemies.

“He has made these baseless accusations over the last two years and the New York State Attorney Grievance Committee has dismissed his complaints,” said Wojtaszek, a statement repeated by his wife in her call for a special prosecutor even though the charges have been fully reviewed by state and federal prosecutors.

 

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