A former New York State Senator who was once one of the most powerful people in Niagara County politics will no longer face trial for five election law violations. By pleading guilty Friday to a misdemeanor count, George Maziarz will also avoid the possibility of jail time, instead paying a $1,000 fine.
In an Albany courtroom, Maziarz entered a guilty plea to one count of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the Second Degree. He admitted to a pass-through scheme by which he would use funds from his campaign committee and, by way of several intermediaries, secretly funnel it to former Senate staff member Glen Aronow.
Aronow had resigned from his position amid sexual harassment charged but, as per Maziarz's admission, was still sought for services. After passing the payments through intermediaries, the money was never included in public filings with the Board of Elections.
In a prepared written statement, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman offered this: "Today’s guilty plea and full admission sends a strong message to every elected official that if you abuse the public trust, you will be rooted out, and there will be a public accounting of your crime. This case stands for a very simple but important principle, which is that you cannot use your campaign account as a slush fund to avoid public scrutiny. No one, not even George Maziarz, can use campaign accounts to deceive the public, flout the law, and pay off friends."
Maziarz's attorneys previous filed unsuccessful motions to dismiss the criminal trial, which was scheduled to begin next week. Attorney Joseph LaTona, who represents Maziarz, told WBFO in October 2017 that Board of Elections lawyers were questioning whether the deeds his client was accused of committing were criminal in nature.
Maziarz was once the third highest-ranking member in the State Senate. He retired from his position in 2014.