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Western OTB denies report of FBI investigation into contracts

By Howard B. Owens

Officials at Western Regional OTB released a statement this afternoon flatly denying a report that there is an FBI investigation into "lucrative contracts" for "politically wired" companies.

Buffalo-based Investigative Post reported that the FBI is looking into contracts granted to firms with ties to OTB Chairman Richard Bianchi, a member of the Monroe County Conservative Party’s executive committeeand CEO Henry Wojtaszek, former chairman of the Niagara County Republican Committee.

Reporter Jim Heaney wrote that the story is based on multiple unnamed sources. He wrote that an FBI spokesperson would neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation.

Batavia Downs and Western OTB spokesman Ryan Hasenauer released the following statement:

“The FBI has not confirmed that there is an investigation of the Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation (WROTB) and WROTB has not received any inquiry from the FBI.

“Any inquiry or investigation would learn that our contracts are reviewed by an independent Board of Directors appointed by the County Legislatures of 15 counties and the Mayors of two cities. These contracts are audited, public documents and available for public inspection. Furthermore, WROTB has procurement policies that are strictly observed.

"We are proud of our record at WROTB, as the only municipally owned and operated gaming facility in New York State. We are not just a strong economic driver for Western New York, but we provide critical funding for community development which creates jobs, protects families and helps to offset tax increases for residents.”

Scott Chismar

It blows my mind that Henry Wojtaszek is even allowed to occupy the position of CEO. Controversy and shady dealings seem to be his method of operation. How is it that the CEO of a gambling operation can be someone who has plead guilty to misdemeanor charges of election fraud? This is unconscionable. In order to protect the integrity of the operation, the CEO should have a clean record.

Apr 30, 2019, 9:51am Permalink

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