Judge: Rogowski must vacate seat

Councilmember James Rogowski attends the September 11th town board meeting.  Board members are formally calling for his resignation. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)
Councilmember James Rogowski attends the September 11th town board meeting.  Board members are formally calling for his resignation. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)

BUFFALO – State Supreme Court Justice Mark Montour has ruled that Councilmember James Rogowski vacated his seat when he pleaded guilty to Attempted Criminal Contempt on September 5th according to the judgment obtained by Cheektowaga Chronicle Wednesday.

“Prior to taking the office of councilmember for the Town of Cheektowaga Rogowski took an oath to ‘support the Consitution of the State of New York’ and implicitly, to ‘uphold the laws of New York,’ Justice Montour wrote.  “By pleading guilty to the charge of attempted criminal contempt Rogowski demonstrated a ‘calculated disregard’ of a mandate of the court.”

Both parties appeared in court Wednesday morning, but an opinion was expected to be handed down in a few days.

Last week Tuesday, Mr. Rogowski’s colleagues in local government voted in favor of a resolution that formally set up the framework to have Phillips Lytle LLP commence litigation in Supreme Court.  They sought the opinion of a justice to determine if Mr. Rogowski’s plea automatically disqualified him from continuing to hold office.

Mr. Rogowski told board members, “The taxpayers of Cheektowaga should determine my future on this board – not a political witch hunt.  My determination to serve the Town of Cheektowaga remains unwavering – I will not resign.”

Cheektowaga Chronicle has reached out to town officials and Mr. Rogowski for comment.

Mr. Rogowski’s attorney James Ostrowski told WGRZ-TV, “We’re claiming that they are targeting Mr. Rogowski because he’s an outspoken, controversial, independent person and he doesn’t go along with sort of the machine politics that Cheektowaga has been famous for since I was a kid.”

This is a developing story.  Check back for more information.

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