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Persia judge who resigns throws ‘hands up’

GOWANDA — Former Persia Town Justice Mark Schindler is defending himself after resigning in March amid an investigation from the state’s judicial commission.

The commission’s report on the investigation, summarized in an April 1 OBSERVER article, stated that Schindler was resigning in an agreement with the judicial commission after failing to submit reports and remittances in a timely manner.

Schindler said this week that is not why he resigned.

“It got to the point with the bail reform I just threw my hands up,” he said.

He specifically referred to a series of incidents in Gowanda, where the same person was repeatedly vandalizing businesses with peanut butter but could not be jailed because of the reform.

“All of my reports were done when they were due,” Schindler said. “I don’t know if the state was upset with me for resigning.” He suggested the state did not receive the reports correctly due to its own COVID-19 regulations and restrictions.

“They would tell you, ‘You can’t go to court.’ Well, when you can’t go to court, there’s no report,” he said, adding that state employees told him they understood that — but then he was investigated, anyway.

“That’s one of the reasons I got out. People talk out of both sides of their mouth in Albany,” Schindler said.

He asked the OBSERVER to speak with Persia Town Supervisor John Walgos, as he is the municipality’s fiscal officer and sees all reports that are submitted to the state. Schindler said Walgos would defend him.

Messages left Monday and Wednesday on Walgos’ voicemail at the Persia Town Hall were not returned.

Schindler criticized the original OBSERVER April 1 article as one-sided.

The state judicial commission also accused him of making an ethnically charged joke about a Native American defendant. Schindler said he made the joke, but it was about the defendant’s annuity payments, and had nothing to do with his ethnicity.

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