CHEEKTOWAGA – A quote by Supervisor Diane Benczkowski in a recent Cheektowaga Chronicle article has provoked the ire of former Democratic party boss Frank Max.
In response to our article saying former councilmember Charlie Markel was appointed to the post of Deputy Highway Superintendent, Ms. Benczkowski told Cheektowaga Chronicle Friday evening that she supported the decision to hire Mr. Markel.
She said negative Facebook comments regarding the appointment and Mr. Markel’s removal from office in 2014 were upsetting and she felt the public should give the former councilmember a second chance. Mr. Markel was stripped of his seat after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor of unlawfully collecting unemployment.
“I guess people don’t understand the story. This was a hit by Frank Max on him. Other people have been known to miss file unemployment, and they just need to pay it back with some fines, but this happened to be an extreme case, and just because he was elected it was a big deal because then he had to step down,” said Ms. Benczkowski.
Mr. Max – who has been retired from politics after suffering several medical setbacks – took Ms. Benczkowski’s statement as a shot across his bow and contacted Cheektowaga Chronicle saying he had nothing to do with Mr. Markel’s legal troubles.
“Diane Benczkowski is a pathological liar,” said Mr. Max. “Charlie Markel stole from the state unemployment fund, pled guilty after the District Attorney ran some form of a computer check and caught him. The county was notified by the District Attorney. No town employee was notified in advance until the Buffalo News ran stories on Markel.”
“Diane alluding to zombie home issues had nothing to do with Charlie’s job specs for highway. Your article has elicited strong responses and texts to me. I must repeat it so that the board members understand, Diane is not telling the truth at all based on the facts,” added Mr. Max.
An attorney told Cheektowaga Chronicle back in November following Mr. Max’s sentencing for filing false campaign finance reports, that he no longer drives and that he suffered four strokes, a heart attack, and had a bypass operation and a pacemaker implanted. He has “taken a back seat” to politics and is spending time with his family.
Mr. Max was sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge for what his attorney called “sloppy bookkeeping.”