Apr 18


Stefan Mychajliw, beat reporter

Former Erie County comptroller's new career as a political operative has him serving as a staff writer for a weekly paper 400 miles away in Suffolk County
News and analysis by Geoff Kelly, Investigative Post's political reporter

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Last week I reported that Stefan Mychajliw is part of a slate of Republican committee candidates looking to take control of the party apparatus in Elma, where the former county comptroller moved a year-and-a-half ago.

Mychajliw has been making his living as a political operative since leaving office at the end of 2021, including a stint as a flack for Republican Vivek Ramaswamy’s now-defunct presidential campaign.

The former TV news reporter’s new career includes a return to journalism — on Long Island. Mychajliw’s byline is all over the South Shore Press, a weekly community newspaper in Suffolk County.

Some of Mychajliw’s contributions are right-wing editorials: For the April 10 issue, he wrote a column titled “Migrant Madness Marks a Woke Box,” about federal immigration forms that allow migrants to identify themselves as “Male, “Female,” or “Another Gender.”

But his byline also appears on some news-of-the-day reporting, like this story about a graduation ceremony for new county corrections officers. And this piece about a local Rotary Club’s mental health awareness campaign. And this report about a car knocking down a utility pole.

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It’s definitely what you’d call hyper-local news coverage. It’s just 400 miles away from where he lives and is running for office.

The South Shore Press has been operating since 1984, according to its masthead. In addition to Mychajliw, the contributors list includes someone using the name of “Howard Roark,” the main character in Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead.”

On its website, the paper identifies itself as a “Forward Truth” company.

Forward Truth describes itself as “conservative-leaning media with an interest in politics and finance.” The outfit’s website is a work in progress. Its Twitter account is idle. A YouTube channel hosts a 24-second clip about Hunter Biden, and two short test videos.

Forward Truth’s LinkedIn page says it “aims to provide a platform for unbiased journalism that prioritizes factual reporting over political ideology or personal agenda” and “is committed to transparency, with a policy of disclosing its funding sources and editorial process.”

In other news … 

  • I also reported last week about a handful of city progressives running for Democratic committee seats, some of them challenging big names in the party establishment. Since then a few of those newcomers withdrew from those races, having been wooed by an offer from Democratic headquarters: Drop out now and later, sometime after the primary, you’ll be appointed to a vacant committee seat elsewhere in the city. At least two candidates, Nathan Feist and Scott Archambault, confirmed they accepted the offer. 
  • Attorney Nate McMurray wants to challenge state Sen. Tim Kennedy in the Democratic primary for the 26th Congressional District seat, but that’s probably not going to happen. Kennedy has filed a lawsuit alleging fraud on McMurray’s nominating petition, as first reported by WBFO’s Grant Ashley. The lawsuit claims numerous problems with McMurray’s petition, but most damning are affidavits from McMurray supporters who say the person who collected their signatures is not the same person who claims to have witnessed them signing their names. McMurray and the outfit he hired to collect signatures both told Investigative Post that’s not true.
  • O.J. McFoy, general manager of the Buffalo Sewer Authority, has been doing a lot of traveling lately. He just got back from eight days in Washington, D.C for a conference. Most of next week he’ll be in Chapel Hill, N.C. for another conference.

Buffalo Sewer Authority General Manager O.J. McFoy.

In fact, according to meeting minutes, the BSA board has authorized McFoy to spend 34 days traveling since the beginning of the year, at a cost of up to $20,450. (Among the destinations: New Orleans, Miami and Austin, TX.) Next week’s junket to Chapel Hill will add up to $2,800 to that tally. 

In June, McFoy is slated to visit Virginia Beach — at a cost of up to $4,000 — for a conference on how to be “better communicators and more effectively connect with their local communities.” Perhaps that conference will remind McFoy to let city residents know when BSA resumes fluoridation of the city water supply this summer — which the city stopped doing, with effectively no communication to residents, nine years ago.

What I’m reading …

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