Erie County Legal Tangle

October 3, 2011 Updated Oct 3, 2011 at 7:32 AM EDT

By WKBW News

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October 3, 2011 Updated Oct 3, 2011 at 7:32 AM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW) - Erie County Executive Chris Collins is under fire, being accused of misusing county resources to help his allies.

According to a complaint filed in federal court, Collins ordered County Attorney Jeremy Colby to defend eight candidates for county legislator, a move that some said is illegal.

The complaint alleges that Colby has illegally and secretly working to help those eight candidates, who are endorsed by Collins. It argues Colby has been fighting to keep those candidates on the Independent Party Line, a move that could help then get elected.

Colby allegedly filed a request to have the case moved from State Supreme Court to Federal Court on behalf of the Board of Elections. Democratic Commissioner for the Board of Elections Dennis Ward filed the complaint and said Colby lied to the courts and was never commissioned by the board.

"You can't have people doing private legal business on behalf of clients like that by the County Attorney's Office. It's improper and it's also improper to represent to the court that you're doing this on behalf of the Board of Elections when the Board of Elections and the County of Erie has no stake in it what-so-ever," Commissioner Ward said.

Colby also spoke out on the issue, disagreeing with Ward.

"Simply to take procedural steps in the case I don't need unanimous Board of Education. There are reported cases in the Western District that have involved the same conduct with previous county attorneys," Colby said.

Again, County Attorney Colby said he believes that he did nothing illegal and did not need approval from the Board of Elections to take the procedural action.

Stay tuned to eyewitness news throughout the day for more on the story.