NIAGARA FALLS – The Niagara County Democratic Committee has yet to file the required financial report that was due July 15.
Questioned Thursday by The Buffalo News, Chairman Nicholas J. Forster at first blamed the situation on the heavy rainstorm that flooded basements in Niagara Falls. He said it destroyed the computer and records in the party treasurer’s basement.
However, that 4-inch rainfall occurred July 19, four days after the filing deadline.
Darryl P. DiNoto, the treasurer and the county’s Democratic deputy election commissioner, said he was away that weekend and left a window partially open, so the heavy rainstorm did ruin his computer and a lot of the party’s financial data, but he admitted he would have been late filing the document anyway.
“I’m just late. There’s nothing sinister going on,” DiNoto said.
He said he’s sent a letter to the State Board of Elections explaining the situation. DiNoto said he’s working to reconstruct the records from bank statements, and expects to have the document finished this weekend.
Niagara County Republican Chairman Scott P. Kiedrowski, noting that his party has received criticism in the past for filing financial documents late, pointed out that the GOP filed on time.
The tardy documentation is unusual for the other side. “The Democrats are never late,” DiNoto said.
He said when the Democratic document is filed, the balance available will be about $20,000, up from a net of $3,441 in the January report.
On the other hand, the county Republicans had $146,537 in the bank, leading up to this fall’s contests for the County Legislature and city and town offices.
“Fund-raising is always hard for Democrats for some reason, and especially when you’re in the minority [in the Legislature],” Forster said.
The Republicans racked up more than $89,000 in contributions since mid-January, with lawyers who hold county jobs being steady contributors. Many gave $1,000 to the party, some in two $500 donations, while a few others gave lesser sums.
State Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane, transferred $20,000 from his bulging political coffers to the county GOP. Maziarz’ campaign committee has more than $864,000 in the bank.
Kiedrowski also blew the whistle on Democratic Legislator Jason A. Zona for filing his disclosure forms late. Zona’s forms were posted Wednesday; he blamed the delay on confusion between himself and his now ex-treasurer over who was supposed to do the job.
Zona has almost $7,500 on hand, while his GOP-backed opponent, Giulio G. Colangelo of the Independence Party, has a $4,500 balance.
All other incumbent legislators filed, except for Owen T. Steed, D-Niagara Falls, and Michael A. Hill, R-Hartland, who have committees listed but no money, and Chairman William L. Ross, R-Wheatfield, and Legislator John Syracuse, R-Newfane, who have no committees listed. Most of the first-time candidates also did not file.