BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A woman serving court papers to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says he threatened to shoot her if she didn’t leave his property. The claim drew quick denials from the County Executive’s spokesperson Monday.
In an affidavit, process server Jodi Williams says she was at Poloncarz’s home on Jan. 29 attempting to serve him with paperwork related to a lawsuit that was filed regarding overtime payments to Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein. According to the affidavit signed by Williams, Poloncarz yelled, “You’re lucky you didn’t get shot,” to her through a window.
“Why would I get shot? I have a summons for you,” Williams says she responded.
Williams claims the County Executive later told her she was trespassing and said, “Get the f*** off my property before I shoot you!”
The affidavit indicates Williams then left the paperwork at Poloncarz’s back door and left.
In an email, Poloncarz spokesperson Peter Anderson denied the claim.
“The County Executive did not threaten to shoot anyone,” Anderson said.
Williams works for Probe Services Professional Investigations. Attempts to reach her Monday were unsuccessful. Kenneth Horton, a vice president for the group, said she would not be making any further statements regarding the incident.
“We stand by the statement Jodi made in the sworn affidavit,” Horton said in an email.
This comes as Poloncarz has picked back up a security detail. Anderson said he decided to do so a few weeks ago at the recommendation of Erie County District Attorney John Flynn, Erie County Sheriff John Garcia, and Erie County Central Police Services Commissioner James Jancewicz.
Flynn says a threat against Poloncarz was made “probably a couple weeks ago.”
“It threatened to do harm,” Flynn said.
“He’s had multiple threats against him over the course of the past two years now,” the district attorney added. “I basically told him, ‘You need to get a security detail here.'”
In October, Thomas Netter, 50, a Genesee County man, pleaded guilty to harassment in the second degree over a Facebook message he sent to the County Executive. Prosecutors said the message related to COVID-19 mandates. Flynn’s office says a case involving another individual, Paul Czora, accused of harassing Poloncarz is being handled in Clarence.
Flynn said he was not aware of any complaint filed by Williams in connection with the allegation in her affidavit.
The lawsuit over Burstein’s overtime was filed in early January. Burstein, Poloncarz, and Erie County Personnel Commissioner Timothy Hogues are named as defendants. The plaintiffs claim Burstein received illegal overtime payments in 2020 and 2021. The lawsuit followed similar allegations from former Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw.
But Poloncarz has consistently defended Burstein’s overtime payments, saying they were valid.
Chris Horvatits is an award-winning reporter who started working at WIVB in 2017. A Lancaster native, he came to Buffalo after working at stations in Rochester and Watertown. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.