Tonawanda News

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August 11, 2012

Witryol suit is dismissed

Tonawanda News — A state supreme court justice has dismissed a lawsuit that challenged the integrity of nominating petitions filed by Working Families Party candidate Timothy Moriarity in the race for the state senate’s 62nd District. 

In a ruling issued late Friday, State Supreme Court Justice Catherine Nugent Panepinto determined that the suit brought by Democratic candidate Amy Hope Witryol should not be allowed to advance because the petitioners failed to “complete service on all necessary parties within the time period set forth” under state election law. 

As a result of the decision, petitions filed by North Tonawanda resident Timothy Moriarity are now considered valid, earning him a spot on the Working Families Party line in the September primary for the senate seat. He will face Witryol, the Working Families Party’s endorsed candidate. 

“Although we are disappointed, we were treated fairly and we respect the court’s decision,” Witryol’s attorney, Frank Housh, said in a statement released Friday evening following the judge’s ruling. 

In her lawsuit, Witryol alleged that Moriarity’s petitions were “permeated with fraud” and represented “an attempt by the Republican Party to nominate a candidate whose candidacy would improve the chances of the Republican Party nominee, (state Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane) in the general election.” The suit specifically took aim at the makeup of the committee on vacancies listed on the petitions, arguing that the petitions suggested all four committee members were registered with the Working Families Party when in reality only two were actual members of the party. 

The judge dismissed the case on procedural grounds, agreeing with Moriarity’s attorney, John Ciampoli, and Maziarz’s counsel, Henry Wojtaszek, that Witryol’s verified petition was not served properly or in a timely manner. 

Housh filed the verified petition alleging the fraud at 4:16 p.m. on July 26, the last day that the petition of designation was subject to complaint. Ciampoli argued that there was not enough time for all respondents to be properly served and that the state board of elections was not served on time because it received notification of the lawsuit a day late.

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