Town of Niagara Supervisor Indicted

11:08 PM, Oct 3, 2013   |    comments
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TOWN OF NIAGARA, N.Y.- A source tells 2 On Your Side that Town of Niagara Supervisor Steven Richards has been indicted on 28 counts in a federal probe.  Four of the counts are felonies.

2 On Your Side reported Tuesday that town officials expected charges to be filed soon in a joint criminal probe between the FBI and State Attorney General's office that's lasted almost two years.

Thursday we learned that Richards is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday at 2 p.m. in State Supreme Court Judge Kloch's chambers in Lockport.

As of Thursday, Richards has not been arrested and showed up to work at Niagara town hall.

"I have something planned to say, but not at this point, but please again speak to my attorney Rodney Personius," Richards said.

Multiple calls to Richards' attorney Rodney Personius were not returned Thursday. Off camera, Richards tells 2 On Your Side's Jeff Preval that he's innocent and will fight the accusations. Richards adds that he hasn't been served with the indictment and hasn't seen all the charges.

Still, some council members are considering whether to ask Richards to take an administrative leave while fighting his legal issues.

"I know for a fact we are thinking that, the timing of that, I'm not entirely sure, it could be tomorrow, it could be next week, that is something that has been discussed to protect the town itself," said Rob Clark, a Town of Niagara councilman.

 

Richards, who has been supervisor for 18 years says that he will not step down, even if the council asks him to.

Clark and another councilman Charles Teixeira told us they met with authorities who asked them questions specifically about Richards.

The questions include how business works at town hall and how Richards handles his duties, which was all part of a grand jury probe that multiple town employees have been asked to testify in.

"I was a little questionable about our last town budget, but I don't think that has anything to do with it. From what I've been told, it's more geared towards misappropriation of town resources. From uses of employees to town items. Or getting access to other things. More or less, I would say town resources and of that nature," says Clark.

"Past practice, employees have been put on administrative leave for certain situations that were under investigation. Different town employees. Some were with pay, some were without. But, we'll have to look at what the allegations are and what the indictments are," says Teixeira.

The town council could wait to get a recommendation from the town attorney before deciding whether to take action against Richards, but does not necessarily have to take his recommendation.

There is a Niagara town work session Thursday night at seven where this could be discussed.

Clark and Texiera say they've been assured they're not part of the investigation. On Tuesday, both Richards and Personius told us they had no comment on any investigation.

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