NIAGARA, N.Y. (WIVB) - All eyes were on the Town of Niagara Supervisor on the eve of his court date to face possible public corruption charges.
Before storming out of Thursday night's work session, Steven Richards was nonchalant, a smile seemed to be permanently affixed to his face. But as soon as his coming indictment was brought up, the barbs started flying.
After exiting, News 4 asked Richards, "Don't you think the adult thing to do would be to discuss the charges?"
He responded, "The adult thing to do would be to slap somebody."
For the past year and a half, Richards has been under investigation, with the FBI raiding offices and interviewing multiple town employees. Richards is expected to be accused of using town equipment and resources for personal enrichment.
Richards says he's being railroaded.
"I'd rather sit in jail, an innocent man, than be a coward and bullied," he said. "I'm not going to let anyone bully me; I never have."
The looming indictment became the elephant in the room at this work session. Richards didn't address it himself until 90 minutes into the meeting. While Richards did acknowledge the indictment and the charges he's facing, and said he is not guilty, the indictment remains sealed and the details are few.
Town Councilman Rob Clark wanted to discuss the issue behind closed doors, away from the media. But Richards refused.
"You want me out of office? You better pull a gun out and put it through my head, because I'm not moving," Richards said.
Clark responded, "Who makes a comment like that?!"
Before the meeting began, News 4 asked Clark about Richards' future as town supervisor.
"If anything, we've got to protect the town. You would hope the supervisor being here, as he said, over 18 years, he'd want to do that as well and take a step back and let the legal process play out," he said.
The Town Council will be seeking advice from the Public Integrity Commission and the newly established Moreland Commission if Richards is indeed indicted on Friday, as expected.
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