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New ethics complaint filed against County Executive Mark Poloncarz

Republican county executive candidate Chrissy Casilio says that Poloncarz abused his authority after the county attorney sent a legal opinion to the ethics board.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Another ethics complaint has been filed against Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. 

This time, the complaint was filed by the Republican candidate for the county executive post, Chrissy Casilio.

Casilio alleges that Poloncarz misused the services of Erie County attorney Jeremy Toth. 

"My complaint is that Mark Poloncarz was influencing them and using counsel inappropriately as his own personal law firm," Casilio said.

During Monday's ethics board meeting, Toth provided the board with, what Casilio called an unsolicited, legal opinion. The opinion, which can be seen at the bottom of this article, provided reasons for why the board did not need to investigate a previous claim against Poloncarz. 

That previous claim alleged that Poloncarz funneled cultural funding to the Italian Cultural Center on Hertel Avenue because he was having a person relationship with a staff member at the center. 

The complaint was filed by the same person who filed a domestic violence incident report with the Buffalo Police in August. 

Poloncarz has repeatedly denied that he used his authority to influence funding to the Italian Cultural Center. 

"If the county executive did nothing wrong, why did he feel the need to provide an opinion or attempt to influence the ethics board that is investigating his conduct?" Casilio said. "I'm hoping is that they will investigate this matter, and figure out the appropriate steps moving forward."

Casilio also claimed there's an inherent issue within the board of ethics due to several members donating money to the Poloncarz campaign during this election season, as well as previous ones. 

According to state election records, ethics board members Heather Gresham, Ellen Kennedy and counsel Richard Stanton have previously donated to Poloncarz campaigns. 

While Stanton is listed under members of the board on the county's website, his role is non-voting

2 On Your Side reached out to Poloncarz for a comment on the new ethics complaint, a spokesperson said they wouldn't comment until they've seen it. 

Here is the Casilio complaint:

And here's the county memorandum: 

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