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Nojay Suicide: Legal questions, Assembly race, and much more

Nojay wins on Tuesday… what happens next?

Bill Nojay was elected in Tuesday’s primary race for his New York State Assembly District.

State Assemblyman Bill Nojay, who died by suicide last week, was on the primary ballot Tuesday. One conservative leader is urged people to vote for him in Tribute.

“I’m asking people to remember the man and the convictions he stood for,” said Jason McGuire, who is the Livingston County Conservative Party chairman.

Nojay’s opponent, who had suspended his own campaign after hearing of the death, is back and also asking people for their vote. He told 13 WHAM News, “We have to be strong enough to move forward. This is an important district and an important election,” who is also running as a Republican.

Read more about the chain reaction of events that will take place now that Bill Nojay won his primary race, even after his untimely passing on Friday.


The ‘vexing’ legal question around Nojay’s death

Another item drawing intense debate both politically and legally is the future of those charges, which were reportedly coming against Nojay. He was due in court Friday morning, before he took his own life, which prompted a ton of speculation about what those charges might have been.

While reports have come out, seemingly confirming that the charges were federal fraud charges – the actual legal documents are sealed – and could remain that way indefinitely. An entire legal debate is breaking out on this subject, and the next steps taken by all parties involved will likely be scrutinized for years to come.

Read more about this story here.


It’s now been widely reported that Assemblyman Bill Nojay, who took his own life Friday morning at a cemetery in Rochester, was scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court to face federal fraud charges.

The fraud charges were related to a trust fund, which he had controlled as an attorney.

Reports indicate that before his scheduled appearance in court on Friday morning, Nojay sent a text message to his lawyer telling him that he was going to take his own life. It was at that point, at which his lawyer reportedly called 911, which those close to the situation believe is what spawned the wellness check.

Controversy had been following Nojay in recent months, as he was connected to several high-profile issues, which included a fraud case in Cambodia, as well as a charge regarding his involvement with a contract to oversee a portion of the $1.3 billion Rochester schools modernization project.

While neither of those controversies were the one, which led to Nojay taking his own life – the third, and seemingly most-severe was the federal charge, which was to remain sealed until this morning.

FingerLakes1.com will have more on this story as information becomes available.


Assemblyman Bill Nojay has died after committing suicide Friday morning at Riverside Cemetery.

Rochester Police were called to Riverside Cemetery at 9:22 am for a wellness check, which officials say was called in by someone who was not on the grounds of the cemetery.

While few details about the circumstances that led up to the incident, authorities have said that one police officer was present — and witnessed the suicide.

Law enforcement has not officially connected the suicide to Nojay. However, a variety of sources from throughout the region — including Monroe County Republican chairman Bill Reilich have confirmed the news.

Reilich told the USA Today Network’s Albany Bureau that the news was ‘tragic’. “It’s terrible to hear this about anybody, but certainly somebody who has been a public servant and somebody who I personally knew.”

New York State Senator Rich Funke released the following statement:

“A loss like this transcends politics and government, leaving only hollowness and heartbreak in its wake. Assemblyman Nojay was always a strong voice for Upstate who dedicated a great deal of his life to championing a core set of beliefs, whether in elected office or over the airwaves. My thoughts are with Bill’s family, friends, and constituents on this most difficult of days.”

Rochester Police Investigator Frank Camp, who held a press conference mid-morning to answer some questions about the suicide confirmed that one officer “did observe an individual shoot himself inside the cemetery.”

The 59-year-old was lauded as a champion for Upstate New York — and hosted a syndicated radio show, throughout his time serving.

The apparent suicide takes place just a few days before the Republican Primary, which had Nojay slated to face Honeoye Falls Mayor Richard Milne. Milne said that he was ‘devastated’ by the news of Nojay’s passing — and in a statement said he would be suspending all political activity until further notice.

In Nojay’s primary race, the Republican Party will have 10 days to select a replacement candidate – should he win. It’s unclear at this point how – in terms of vote count – that the race will be impacted. With just a few days before primary voters select a candidate – a lot remains unclear.

Nojay was first elected in 2012 to the New York State Assembly and maintained his duties on radio throughout.

U.S. Rep. Tom Reed issued the following statement:

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of New York State Assemblyman Bill Nojay. He was our friend. We will remember him for his dedication and commitment to public service and our community. Bill was a commendable leader. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Debra, and his three children. He will be deeply missed.”

Nojay was reportedly facing a fraud trail in Cambodia where he, along with two other individuals, persuaded a dentist into investing in their company, which resulted in the dentist being swindled out of roughly $1 million.

While Nojay repeatedly denied any culpability in that case.

FingerLakes1.com has reached out to local Republican officials for comment and will bring that to you as we receive those statements.


Original Report

Various news outlets are reporting late Friday afternoon that New York State Assemblyman and local political radio host Bill Nojay has died after taking his own life.

WHEC reports that officers were called to the Riverside Cemetery on Lake Avenue around 9:20 Friday morning for reports of shots fired. Sources say Nojay, 59, was found dead due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The New York Daily News reports Nojay was at his family burial plot.

Nojay was elected to the New York State Assembly’s 113rd District seat in November 2012 and was scheduled to run in a Republican primary on Tuesday against Richard Milne.

Bill Reilich, the Monroe County Republican chairman, confirmed to the Rochester D&C that Nojay was found dead. He said he received a call from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office that it appeared Nojay was dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A second call confirmed the ID, he said.

“It’s tragic news,” Reilich told the USA TODAY Network’s Albany Bureau. “It’s terrible to hear this about anybody, but certainly somebody who has been a public servant and somebody who I personally knew.”

NYS Senator Rich Funke released the following statement:

“A loss like this transcends politics and government, leaving only hollowness and heartbreak in its wake. Assemblyman Nojay was always a strong voice for Upstate who dedicated a great deal of his life to championing a core set of beliefs, whether in elected office or over the airwaves. My thoughts are with Bill’s family, friends, and constituents on this most difficult of days.”

WHEC.com: Bill Nojay committed suicide in cemetery
13WHAM.com: NYS Assemblyman Bill Nojay dead

Check back at FingerLakes1.com for more on this story as it develops…

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