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Korchak campaign paid former employee as he faced corruption charges

Current Broome County District Attorney Michael Korchak will run for reelection. (Vaughn Golden/WSKG)
Vaughn Golden
Current Broome County District Attorney Michael Korchak is seeking reelection. (Vaughn Golden/WSKG)

The campaign for incumbent Broome County District Attorney Michael Korchak paid a former member of the office as he faced corruption charges.

In its latest financial disclosure, Korchak's campaign reported paying James Worhach just over $800 for professional services in December.

Worhach, formally an executive assistant to District Attorney Steve Cornwell, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of possessing stolen property in early December for attempting to steal records related to a prior DWI charge. In late January, Worhach pleaded guilty to felony grand larceny charges related to a scandal where he secured private parking in downtown Binghamton using funds from the district attorney’s office. The date of Korchak’s payment to Worhach is listed as Dec. 29, 2022, in between his two sets of guilty pleas.

Korchak’s campaign didn’t respond to numerous requests for comment.

State Board of Elections data show Worhach made two contributions totalling $275 to Korchak’s campaign in 2019 before the charges against him were announced. The same records show Worhach also contributed to the campaigns of other local Republican candidates in recent years.

Korchak initially brought Cornwell and Worhach’s cases to a grand jury, which indicted the two men. Special prosecutors from Schuyler County were assigned to the case only after a judge ordered Korchak to recuse himself, since he had previously worked under Cornwell.

Korchak has touted fighting corruption in the district attorney’s office, including his role in convicting Worhach and Cornwell.

"I worked for Mr. Cornwell, I worked with Mr. Worhach, but doing the right thing is not always easy and that's what we did in this case,” Korchak said at a press conference in December.

Korchak is facing a Republican primary from Paul Battisti in a repeat of their 2019 race. Former Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan has also declared his intention to run on the Democratic and Working Families Party lines.

Vaughn Golden has been reporting across New York since 2016. Working as a freelancer while studying journalism and economics at Ithaca College, Vaughn has reported for a number of outlets including the Albany Times Union, New York Post, and NPR among others. Prior to coming to WSKG full-time, Vaughn was a reporter for the Watertown Daily Times. Vaughn now covers government and politics for WSKG.