Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Republican State Senator Maziarz’ Retirement Puts New Spotlight on Golden’s Problems

Another GOP State Senator “retires” and staff members “resign” while under investigation by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara

As investigations swirl all around him, the real threat to State Senator Marty Golden’s continuing in office might come from the man Marty beat in the first place, Vinny Gentile

“State Senator George Maziarz's seemingly sudden retirement is the latest in a pattern: He's the fourth G.O.P. incumbent senator to pass on running for re-election this year, citing personal reasons people close to him say have percolated for years....” ( See “Maziarz and the erosion of the Senate Republicans” by  Jimmy Vielkind and Josefa Velasquez, Capital New York/ Capital Pro []). Of course that is only the lead-in; it’s not the meat and potatoes of Vielkind’s and Velazquez’ article in yesterday’s Capital New York.

Vielkind and Velazquez also noted that there was also the cloud of an investigation into unitemized campaign spending that led two of the Niagara County senator's longtime aides to resign last Thursday. According to the Capital New York report, an attorney for the Senator Maziarz's chief of staff confirmed to reporters on Monday that the aide had been served with a subpoena by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, where U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara inherited the Moreland Commission's files and has aggressively pursued investigations and brought cases against several state lawmakers.

Efforts by Republican sources to characterize all of this as a mere “hangover” from the now-defunct anti-corruption Moreland Commission are clearly ringing quite hollow. This is especially true when rumors have swirled that other Republicans would also be jumping ship for similar reasons. Such rumors have thus far  proved to be untrue with respect to State Senators John Bonacic in the Hudson Valley and Pat Gallivan of Erie County. There has even been rampant speculation that the same federal investigators have been looking long and hard at State Senator Martin J. Golden, members of his operation and others close to him.  Psst ! Don’t spread this around....    Even though it might have nothing to do with anything mentioned above, one of my “Baker Street Irregulars” called me last night and told me that Jimmy Vielkind wanted to talk about goings-on in Brooklyn, but all that’s happened with that so far is a bunch of Email and voice-mail misses.

The politics of all of this swinging strongly against the GOP holding its own in the NYS Senate. As one upstate paper sees it, “Now, with word of Maziarz’s surprise announcement Sunday night that he will not seek re-election this fall, Republicans find themselves suddenly having to protect a seat they believed, just [a few days] ago, was not in play. ***  What is now in play more than ever is control of the State Senate....” (See “Senator’s surprise exit has GOP scrambling” by  Tom Precious, 7/14-7/15/14, The Buffalo News [] [Note: this article contains a lengthy background portion laying out many of the problems that have fallen upon several GOP State Senators lately]).


Frankly, given all the problems Golden, his staff and his crew of insiders already have with the deteriorating situation of an actual “hangover” from the 2013 Hynes Campaign for DA, the Moreland Commission stuff might be among the least of their worries.

Of course, none of this helps Golden’s fortunes in the “local” politics underlying all of this. Governor Cuomo is known to have called NYC Councilman Vincent Gentile to ask him to run against Golden in 2014. So far the ever-popular “Vinny” Gentile has held out. Nonetheless, there still might be a few million ways [$$$$] for the Governor to get more persuasive now that all organized statewide GOP resistance to Cuomo’s re-election appears to have collapsed. With the complicated election proceedings involving various petitions about to begin, a last minute switch to “Vinny” should not be surprising. I'm sure, you'll be among the first to know if that happens.


Anonymous said...

I think it's more fun for Marty to lose to a relative unknown.

Galewyn Massey said...

Vielkind and the Baker Street Irregular finally did have a bit of a chin wag. JV thought the material was very interesting, but not really where his research was targeted. He did tell my BSI that he'd hand it all off to a downstate reporter, who could better deal with all aspects of any possible investigations involving Golden and others with other than Albany connections.

Anonymous said...

What does the reference to chin wag mean?

Anonymous said...

if none of us can remember the name of Martys opponent than you think the voters will?

Anonymous said...

They don't need to remember his name. As long as he's not Marty, he's in. Plus, the Board of Elections is kind enough to list his name right next to Marty's, in case someone forgets it.

Galewyn Massey said...




On June 11th, this blog put Marty Golden’s campaign on notice that witnesses had observed “...GOP petition signatures [being] taken near the front door of [the Bay Ridge] Manor not far from the entrance to the main banquet hall” where a Marty Golden sponsored event was going on where Golden had put on “the full buff” (See 6/11/14 post, “Witnesses put validity of Golden signatures into question — dire consequences if true” posted below on this blog). That post and several of the comments following it clearly established that Golden sponsored the event, Golden was at the event, Golden’s State Senate Chief of Staff Jerry Kassar was at the event, signatures were obtained at the entrance to the event and free food and drink was given away inside.

As a result of the brouhaha created by all of the above, it now looks like the Golden team in a rare display of sound discretion decided not to file the petition for Marty Golden’s 2014 run for the New York State Senate with any of the signatures obtained at the June 3rd event contained in it.

Golden still might not be in the clear, though. The same Baker Street Irregular, who perused Golden’s petition and in essence concluded that none of the June 3rd signatures were submitted to the Board of Elections discussed another possibility to raise those signatures as an issue. An election lawyer that spoke to my BSI maintains that among the particulars asserted in an Election Proceeding in State Supreme Court could be an allegation there were signatures gathered in violation of the Election Law as part of the whole petition effort — and that fraudulent act of gathering violated the Election Law, whether or not the signatures were subsequently filed at the BOE.

The same Baker Street Irregular also noted that a substantial portion of the Golden petition signatures were gathered by Notaries or Commissioners of Deeds. His estimate was between 25% and 33% of the whole petition were “notary signatures.”

Galewyn Massey said...



According to an article that appeared in New York State of Politics “Several Western New York Republicans have come to the defense of retiring New York State Senator George Maziarz in recent days; former GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Carl Paladino is not one of them....” (See “Paladino Calls Maziarz ‘Poster Child For Term Limits’” by Casey Bortnick, 7/19/14, New York State of Politics []).

That report by Casey Bortnick goes on to state the following: “ What started as a Moreland Commission report that showed $140,000 in unspecified campaign expenditures continues to expand. The Albany Times Union reported Friday Federal investigators are now examining unitemized checks that were made out to cash, but never reported to the state board of elections. *** The latest questions center on funds from the Maziarz campaign account that were reportedly given to a youth softball team and thousands of dollars in purchases from a WNY business. Maziarz Campaign Treasurer, Laureen Jacobs, has been asked to turn over documents but her attorney wouldn’t provide any further details....”

Even though charges have not been filed, Carl Paladino isn’t giving retiring Republican State Senator Maziarz any “benefit of the doubt.” New York’s last candidate for governor believes the investigation into Maziarz campaign spending would be nothing compared to what State Senator Maziarz didn’t do to benefit his Western New York constituency. That criticism has to do with what Paladino describes as more than $1 Billion from the New York State Power Authority’s budget, which according to Paladino, was generated through the sale of unused allocated power. That money Paladino insists should have been spent on the development of Western New York

It may take some time before all that Maziarz did or didn’t do is made clear. But, even if the jury is still out in the court of public opinion, Paladino made up his mind long ago. The ultimate Paladino statement quoted in the Bortnick article is this: “George [Maziarz] is going to walk away with a million, one hundred thousand dollars in his campaign account and Western New York is no further ahead today than it was when George originally took office.”