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Rivera fires his campaign treasurer over $5K contribution to Kearns

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Buffalo Common Council Majority Leader David Rivera has issued a ststement, saying he has fired his political campaign treasurer and sent a formal complaint to the New York State Board of Elections.

In his statement, the Niagara District Democrat says he was notified Wednesday that a campaign finance filing by Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns reported a donation of $5,000 from his campaign account. A former Buffalo police officer, Rivera says he did not authorize this donation, nor would he if asked.

After assuming it was a reporting error, Rivera said he later confirmed with his bank that a $5,000 check was written from his account on June 5 and accepted by the Kearns campaign without his knowledge.

Rivera said he has yet to talk with his treasurer, Edwin Martinez, but he has been removed from the position. He also has referred the matter to the Erie County District Attorney, while asking the Kearns campaign to return the money.

Kearns, in a statement issued Thursday morning, said the donation has been returned.

“I consider Councilman Rivera a long-time friend from my time on the Buffalo Common Council. Once this issue was brought to my attention by Councilman Rivera’s staff, the donation was returned in full, immediately,” Kearns said. 

Erie County Clerk candidate Angela Marinucci also issued a statement on Thursday, saying Kearns owes a full accounting of the circumstances surrounding the donation.

"The Erie County Clerk is responsible for handling millions of dollars of the public’s money. The Clerk’s office plays an integral role in so many major aspects of our lives: registering to vote, getting a driver’s license, starting a business, buying a home. The public must have absolute confidence that the documents related to their personal identity and financial lives are being handled by a person of unimpeachable integrity," Marinucci said.