Piazza acknowledged, according to county sources and published reports, that he worked from home. But in response to Griffith's inquiry, Piazza yanked down campaign finance reports from the county's website. Griffith said some people were threatening to bombard county offices to obtain campaign finance information, since it was no longer available online. Griffith said Piazza was ordered by county officials to return the campaign material to the county's website.
"Lenny thought that was kind of offensive to him because we (the county) required him to do what everybody else in the county was required to do. So he decided he was going to the county website and (would) take the campaign finance page down," said Griffith Wednesday afternoon from his office in the Penn Plaza building.
Ironically, Griffith's office is down the hall from Piazza's.
Battle lines were drawn March 30 when Piazza authored a letter on election bureau letterhead, informing Griffith five years' worth of his campaign finance reports were being investigated. Griffith, today, said the move was an abuse of power and a violation of his civil rights. Calling Piazza a "bully," Griffith said he refused to turn over the information saying Piazza had no authority to initiate such a review.
Sources in the county said Piazza's apparent retaliation of Griffith's audit was reason for his suspension last week, and was the primary factor for his termination for cause on Wednesday.
Hours after the termination had been made public on Piazza's own Facebook page, members of the county's Board of Elections, along with County Manager Robert Lawton, had jointly appointed Thomas Pisano to serve as interim director, according Chairman H. Jeremy Packard.
County leaders said Piazza's termination won't affect the primary election, which will be held in less than two weeks.
Late Wednesday night, Piazza responded to multiple messages left for comment, only saying that he would talk about the situation when he was permitted.