Niagara Gazette

Courts

May 6, 2014

Getting Steve Richards out of office 'goal' for state attorney general's office

Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT — The last chapter of Steve Richards' 18-plus year run as the Town of Niagara supervisor was written Monday morning.

At a hearing at the Niagara County Courthouse that lasted about 15 minutes, Richards pleaded guilty to a single count of official misconduct. The plea follows his resignation as town supervisor on Friday and concludes a joint state and federal investigation of public corruption in the town. 

Richards also paid $1,240.37 in restitution to the town as part of a plea deal with the New York State Attorney General's Office. 

The Gazette first reported on Wednesday that Richards had agreed to plead guilty to a single count of a now 23-count public corruption indictment that he was facing. Jury selection for his trial on those charges had been set for Monday.

Appearing before State Supreme Court Justice Christopher Burns, Richards, reading from a prepared statement, admitted that in May 2010 he sent town employees to a Cheektowaga business with a town truck and front-loafer and had them bring a concrete catch basin back to his auto shop in the town. The employees were supposed to be doing town work at the time.

"I plead guilty, your honor," Richards told Burns.

Burns had questioned Assistant Attorney General Diane LaVallee about the reason for the plea on the day that jury selection for a trial would have stated. LaVallee told him Richards was pleading to the second highest count in the indictment and, as a result of the plea, was being forced to leave office.

"It spares us having to call 30 witnesses (at trial), many of whom have expressed some reluctance to testify," LaVallee said. "It's our hope that the plea today will help heal the town."

"Your main focus is to bring (Richards') behavior to light and to get restitution and it's not your feeling that (a jail term) is necessary," Burns asked LaVallee.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Courts
Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page