Special prosecutor appointed in Petitiongate

Patricia Marks, Supervising Judge for the Criminal Courts in the 7th Judicial District, has appointed attorney Dale Worrall of the Rochester law firm of Harris Beach as Special Prosecutor to look into the allegations surrounding alleged irregularities in the witnessing of Conservative Party nominating petitions in the Town of Geneseo. (See previous story on Petitiongate).

The petitions, filed in July, allowed incumbent Supervisor Wes Kennison, and town board members Hop Manapol and David Dwyer to appear together on the Conservative line in the fall election. The petitions were challenged over alleged irregularities at the Board of Elections, but that challenge was thrown out on a technicality. The same irregularities then became the subject of a criminal investigation.

Moran had requested the appointment in papers filed on August 10, and had recently expressed some frustration over the delay in making the appointment since a state police investigation of the matter is already underway. Moran, however, disputed the accuracy of comments critical of Judge Marks attributed to him in a story in this week’s LC News story.

“I’m not sure why it took almost a month to make this appointment” Moran told the Clarion News Blog. “I just want this matter to move forward so that it can be cleared up one way or another.” Moran said that he has received a number of questions from citizens wondering what was holding up the investigation. “It’s frustrating, but there was nothing that I could do about it, ” he said. “It was totally out of my hands.”

In papers requesting the appointment of the Special prosecutor, Moran said that because of his relationship with several of the key people in the matter, he felt his office could not make a decision without causing the public to suspect the integrity of his office. Harris Beach currently also represents the Town of Geneseo Planning Board as special counsel in the Newman SEQR review, although they do not serve as Town Attorneys.

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