Local leaders talk Niagara County DA seat

Niagara County Democratic Chairman Nicholas Forster

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB)- The mid-term resignation of Niagara County District Attorney Michael Violante leaves an open seat.

Violante resigned Monday, according to County Attorney Claude Joerg.

Niagara County Deputy DA Theodore Brenner is currently in charge of Violante’s duties, Joerg said, but there’s no official acting DA at this time.

The Niagara County GOP is hoping to keep the seat in its party. Chairman Scott Kiedrowski told News 4 he’s already received several calls of interest in the position.

“A lot of effort was maintained over the years to keep that seat Republican. I will certainly fervently and vehemently work very hard to make sure it stays as a Republican seat, as would any chairman,” he said.

Chairman  of the County’s Democratic Party, Nicholas Forster said a search team has been formed; it met Tuesday night to compile a list of DA possibilities.

He’s hoping to have a name on Governor Cuomo’s desk soon.

“We’d like to have it done hopefully by the end of this week,” he said.

The Democratic search team is meeting again Thursday night.

The cause for Violante’s resignation is still unknown.

News 4 reached out for a comment, but hasn’t heard back.

He’s leaving office amidst allegations of gender discrimination and sexual harassment.

More than a year ago, Assistant Niagara County DA Elizabeth Donatello filed a federal civil suit against the County.

She alleges she was a victim of sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination during her time working for Violante.

News 4 spoke to her attorney today Andrew Fleming Wednesday.

“Our investigation has led us to conclude that at least three other women have filed or brought forward complaints of inappropriate gender-based discrimination and/or harassment against Michael Violante,” he said.

Elections will be held in November to fill the vacant seat.

Governor Cuomo could appoint an interim DA if he chooses. Until then, Deputy Brenner is listed as the staffer to take over Violante’s duties.

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