Felony public corruption charges dropped against Ortt

Jun 28, 2017

Charges of public corruption against New York State Senator Rob Ortt have been dismissed.

County Court Judge Peter Lynch dismissed the charges Tuesday due to a lack of evidence.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman brought the charges against the North Tonawanda Republican and the man whose seat he won, retired State Senator George Marziarz. Both were indicted in March by an Albany jury on federal election law charges related to campaign financial disclosure reports.

Ortt maintained from the beginning that the charges were baseless and politically motivated by Schneiderman, a Democrat.

In a statement, Ortt called Schneiderman a "power hungry, political opportunist" with "his own radical progressive political agenda." Ortt said he "looks forward to receiving a personal apology" from Schneiderman.

Schneiderman has yet to comment. However, State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan issued his own statement on the dismissal of charges:

"Rob Ortt is is a friend and colleague who has maintained his innocence from day one. Now everyone will know what his Senate colleagues and I have known for a very long time - that he is a person of honor and integrity who did everything right.  

"Beyond that, Rob Ortt is an outstanding public official who has served his community as a local mayor and state Senator, and fought for his country as a member of the Armed Forces. He has been a leader on statewide mental health issues, worked tirelessly to combat heroin and opioid addiction, and raised awareness about concerns related to post-traumatic stress disorder. I look forward to continuing to work with him to move Western New York and our entire state forward."

Niagara County Republican Party Chairman Scott Kiedrowski also issued a statement:

“I’ve known Rob as a friend, colleague, and public servant and he has always conducted himself with nothing less than complete integrity and honor. Today’s dismissal is complete vindication for Rob and his wife. He hasn’t stopped working for Niagara County and I know that will continue to be his focus.”