New York State is moving forward with formal, emergency disciplinary hearings against a Niagara Falls pharmacist at the center of a criminal investigation.
The 7 Eyewitness News I-Team has learned Robert Kendzia, 81, was served the notice for a summary suspension hearing by a New York State Education Department disciplinary office. A summary suspension application is issued when there is a belief "that the public health, safety or welfare imperatively requires emergency action against a professional license, certificate, registration, permit or other authorization of the licensee to practice," according to the Rules of the Board of Regents.
Kendzia will have the opportunity to defend himself, before the Board of Regents determines what - if anything - the extent of the suspension will be.
This latest development comes amidst a criminal investigation over accusations that Kendzia, who owns and operates MacLeod's Pharmacy on Buffalo Avenue, demanded at least one of his female customers undress in front of him in order to obtain her prescription. Kendzia was arrested and charged with coercion in August. Since then, more people - women and men - have come forward with similar allegations, according to law enforcement sources close to the case.
Kendzia has maintained his innocence. His attorney, Dominic Saraceno, argues that his client's reputation is being smeared by a drug addict.
Meantime, sources tell 7 Eyewitness News that investigators are reaching out to Kendzia's customers to see if they have witnessed anything inappropriate or questionable at MacLeod's Pharmacy.
Kendzia has had years of disciplinary actions by the state and has even been convicted of a felony, which was later overturned. The 7 Eyewitness News I-Team obtained records that date back to the 1980s, when Kendzia was accused of Medicaid fraud and was separately fined for dispensing wrong medication. In 1995, a probation violation got him a $1,500 fine and a two-year suspension of his license, which was reduced to two more years of probation.