Lawmaker & Wife Punched

February 12, 2012 Updated Feb 12, 2012 at 11:20 AM EDT

By WKBW News


Lawmaker & Wife Punched

February 12, 2012 Updated Feb 12, 2012 at 11:20 AM EDT

NIAGARA FALLS, NY ( WKBW ) New York State Senator Mark Grisanti and his wife Maria were punched by several attackers at the Seneca Niagara Casino Friday night.

Eyewitness News reached a spokesperson for the Seneca Nation who said President Odawi Porter "abhors" this kind of activity. The nation issued a statement expressing sympathy to the Senator and his wife.

Seneca Nation Statement on Casino Scuffle

President Porter emphasizes Nation has no role in foundation or its events

ALLEGANY TERRITORY, Salamanca, NY Feb. 11, 2012 – The following is an updated statement from Seneca Nation of Indians President Robert Odawi Porter about an incident at Seneca Niagara Casino Friday night after an event sponsored by the Seneca Diabetes Foundation.

“The Seneca Nation has no formal ties to the Diabetes Foundation, nor does Seneca Gaming Corp. and therefore no direct connection to the events that occurred Friday night after the Foundation’s gala.”

“Early this morning, I spoke to Sen. Grisanti to express my concern.

“I was upset to hear about what transpired at our Niagara Falls property in the incident involving several individuals from the Seneca Nation. I want to express my personal sympathies to the senator and his wife Maria, who attended my inauguration on the senator’s behalf in November 2010. We hope she is faring well and is on a speedy path to recovery.

“I would hope for better behavior and conduct from everyone at such an event as this, although it transpired sometime after the gala ended. Sadly, one cannot control individual behavior. On behalf of the Seneca Nation, I extend my heartfelt sympathy to Sen. Grisanti, his wife Maria and their family.”

Senator Grisanti's Statement on Seneca Niagara Incident

(BUFFALO, NY) - Friday night my family and I attended the Seventh Annual Seneca Diabetes Foundation Chairman's Ball at the Seneca Niagara Hotel in Niagara Falls. This was a wonderful event raising funds for a great cause. We also had additional interest in the event because my daughter was performing on stage with the world-famous Scintas singing group.

Later in the evening, two men from the Seneca Nation were in a heated argument that appeared about to turn physical when I stepped in, introduced myself and tried to calm to the situation. One of the men then physically attacked me. My wife, Maria, was then also attacked and I moved to try to protect her.

As a result, my wife was injured and was subsequently treated at a local hospital. Maria is doing fine today and resting comfortably at home. We were stunned by the incident and truly relieved nothing worse occurred.

I appreciate the quick response of Seneca Niagara security and particularly the professional actions of the Niagara Falls Police Department. My family and I are also thankful for the support we have received from the community and the compassionate apology from Seneca Nation of Indians President Robert Odawi Porter.

This isolated incident by a few people must not detract from what was a successful event that raised funds to support diabetes education outreach, prevention awareness and research to improve the lives of Seneca Nation members and non-Native Americans affected by diabetes.

Eyewitness News and will continue to cover this developing story.