Tonawanda News —
“I would suggest that maybe they really believe it, but there was a point in my life when I believed in Santa Claus and I really believed it,” Ciampoli said. “Now, I know better.”
Ciampoli and Wojtaszek characterized Witryol’s claim as a frivolous waste of the court’s time and requested sanctions for fees and costs associated with their clients having to answer to it.
“It is my belief that this petition attempts to improperly use this court,” Ciampoli said.
“We were forced to spend resources for no reason whatsoever,” Wojtaszek added.
In her decision, Panepinto declined to award any damages for legal costs and fees.
Housh argued that the fraud was not that signatures were forged but rather that county Republicans, who also carried petitions for Maziarz, had carried the petitions for Moriarity in his Working Families Party designation.
“Clearly there is evidence of a Republican attempt to control a minor party line,” Housh said. “We will show that in the hearing.”
Reached for comment following the judge’s ruling Friday evening, Witryol said she felt that it was improper for Wojtaszek and Ciampoli to make arguments based on merit at a hearing that was scheduled to argue on procedural issues.
“The merits of the case have not been heard,” Witryol said. “This gives them license to spin this in their favor.”
She said the case highlights weaknesses in the state’s election system, which she said incumbents legislate to their advantage.
“The four members of the committee to fill vacancies had one thing in common - local name recognition that the candidate himself did not have,” she said. “The fraud in the petitions would have been very clear to the court had we been able to move on to a hearing. The Maziarz legal team essentially suggested that if you fraudulently appoint committee members and print them atop a petition, there would be no fraud. That means they could circulate petitions naming Abraham Lincoln or Andrew Cuomo to their committee in order to mislead signers. That’s not sensible.”