OTB Complies With FOIL; Is Maziarz Planning a Comeback?

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By: Tony Farina

Western Regional Off-Track Betting, which has been posting record numbers in recent months but has remained a target of several investigations prompted by a wide range of allegations by former State Senator George Maziarz, has released documents on recipients of promotional tickets to various events including football and hockey games.

WROTB said it agreed to provide the information sought in the FOIL request by the Buffalo News in the interest of transparency, even though it believes there are “good faith” arguments against disclosing the information.

The public benefit corporation and president and CEO Henry Wojtaszek have been under fire since a February 2019 news conference by Maziarz accusing his former assistant, Wojtaszek, and WROTB of giving ticket perks to friends and board members, not high rollers.  The charges were denied by Wojtaszek and none of the other allegations leveled by Maziarz have resulted in any charges against anybody although several investigations are continuing.

Maziarz ruled Niagara County politics for two decades and left office under the cloud of an investigation into his campaign spending stemming from the findings by the governor’s defunct Moreland Commission on Public Corruption.

Now, making headlines by his attacks on his former political associates, there is a growing sense that Maziarz may be thinking about a run for office, probably his old Senate seat now held by Robert Ortt who is currently a candidate for Chris Collins’ congressional seat that Collins vacated after his guilty plea to insider trading charges.

If Ortt stays in the congressional race, of which there is no guarantee, that would open up the seat for Maziarz.


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