The Oneida County District Attorney’s Office has been assigned as special prosecutor in an Onondaga County investigation into possible malfeasance in the county’s Republican Party.
Assistant District Attorney Robert Bauer will handle the case.
As reported by the Syracuse Post-Standard, Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney’s campaign manager is under investigation for possibly putting Mahoney’s brother and sister onto a Republican Party committee to support Mahoney’s choice to fill a vacancy in the county Legislature. No charges have been filed in the investigation so far.
"We’ve been asked to look into some matters in Onondaga County," Bauer said this morning. He declined to release details.
Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick told the Syracuse newspaper that he withdrew from the case and requested a special prosecutor because of a statement Mahoney had made to the newspaper in November regarding his son. Fitzpatrick said he did not want to present a possible conflict of interest.
Calls to Fitzpatrick’s office were not returned.
"Most of the DAs have an arrangement with their neighboring DAs, because it saves taxpayer money," explained Oneida County District Attorney Scott D. McNamara.
"I don’t bill Onondaga County."
Bauer will not be paid any extra compensation as special prosecutor, McNamara said. It will simply be another case on Bauer’s workload.
"We represent the people of the State of New York every day," McNamara explained. It’s just usually, their jurisdiction is limited to their own county, he stated.
Bauer will not answer to Fitzpatrick, McNamara said. The case will likely take several weeks to investigate.
The Oneida County District Attorney’s Office was assigned the case by a state supreme court judge. Fitzpatrick did not get a say in who was selected as special prosecutor.
If there was no arrangement in place between district attorney offices, McNamara said an independent special prosecutor could cost $100 to $200 an hour.
For example, in the Oneida County case of Anthony Randazzo, a former state trooper accused of shooting another man’s dog, Utica-based defense attorney Christopher Pelli was assigned as a special prosecutor.
McNamara said that higher-profile cases, such as the one involving Mahoney’s staff, tend to get assigned to professional prosecutors as opposed to local attorneys.
McNamara said his office is chosen to be special prosecutors in Onondaga County at least once a year. The Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office also handles some cases in Oneida County.
Fitzpatrick’s staff prosecuted the cases of brothers Devin and Christian Garramone in Oneida County in 2010, because the two men were brothers to Assistant District Attorney Grant Garramone, and sons of former Utica City Court Judge Anthony Garramone. The Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office also recently prosecuted the assault case of Nicholas Tuttle this past fall. Tuttle was the step-son of a political ally of McNamara’s, so he recused himself from the case.