Former New York State Sen. George D. Maziarz (R-Niagara) will avoid a criminal trial next week after pleading guilty on Friday to hiding salary payments to a disgraced former staffer, The Buffalo News reported.
Former Sen. Maziarz, 64, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of “filing a false instrument.” He had been facing trial on five felony charges.
“His career ended…and it was the end of being the boss of bosses in Niagara County,” Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said. “We exposed what happened.”
The scandal centered around former senate staffer Glenn Aronow, who officially worked for Maziarz, until resigning after allegations of sexual harassment, the Lockport Journal reported.
Sen. Maziarz allegedly hid payments to continue Aronow’s employment, utilizing a “multi-layered pass-through scheme” involving his campaign account and the Niagara County Republican Committee.
Albany County Court Judge Peter Lynch asked Maziarz whether he intended to use Aronow’s services and “took steps to continue his services without the public knowing about it.”
“Yes,” the former senator replied.
In the 1990s, Maziarz pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failing to list the true identity of a campaign contributor.
“Prosecutors shy away from cases with a lot of risk. We’ve been willing to do them; certainly way more than anyone in the office before,” Scheiderman continued. “And that sends a message that ‘you better watch yourself.’”
During a two decade career in the legislature, Sen. Maziarz was a leader of the “Senate Coup” when breakaway Democrats gave minority Republicans control of the body.
“You cannot use your campaign account as a slush fund to avoid public scrutiny,” Schneiderman told the Time Union.