Niagara Gazette

Local News

October 5, 2012

Harassment suit settled

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Witryol said she was aware of the lawsuit filed against Aronow but did not discuss it publicly until now because she wanted the legal proceedings to play out. Now that a settlement has been reached, Witryol said she believes taxpayers deserve to know how the state intends to pay for it and where it will get the money from. 

"Taxpayers paid $90,000 and that's just the settlement, not including the costs for representation," Witryol said. "Now, taxpayer money is involved."

Maziarz insisted he wasn't aware of the pending civil lawsuit against Aronow when he joined his staff in 2009. Upon learning of this fact, Maziarz said he gave Aronow the presumption of innocence, while stressing that "anything other than full exoneration, including a settlement in which he did not admit to wrongdoing, would lead to his termination."

Maziarz said he "promptly" asked for Aronow's resignation last November after his former staff member informed him that settlement negotiations had started.

"There are no allegations against me or my staff," Maziarz said in a statement released Friday afternoon. "The incident Amy mentions took place in a different senate office. The plaintiff’s attorney has stated that I’ve had nothing to do with any of this. In my 17 years in the Senate, I have never had any incidents at all on my staff. I would never tolerate or condone any of the alleged actions.  I also absolutely do not support using taxpayer dollars for these legal settlements."

Witryol characterized Aronow as a "key Maziarz operative," noting that he has not only worked for the state in the senator's office, but has been involved in Maziarz's re-election campaign, including efforts to pass designation petitions the senator needed to secure spots on this year's primary and general election ballots. Witryol said it's "reasonable to assume" Aronow continues to work for Maziarz, regardless of which payroll he's on and suggested the settlement issue raises "serious questions about Maziarz's "judgment and ethics."

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