Categories for Analysis

Dec 16

2020

Popular nonprofits obtained pandemic aid

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Some 1,100 local nonprofits received federal aid to soften the pandemic’s economic blow, and the list of recipients reads like a who’s who of prominent cultural, medical, religious and educational institutions.  The Chautauqua Institution and Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Mercy Flight and the Erie County Medical Center. The Diocese of Buffalo and The Chapel at Crosspoint. Nichols School and Nardin Academy. Even a sovereign state, the Seneca Nation of Indians, received a $1.5 million loan under the federal Paycheck Protection Program. Nonprofits with religious affiliations received the most number of loans, 406. That’s more than one-third of the 1,080 loans extended[...]

Posted 2 years ago

Dec 14

2020

Doctors and lawyers cash in on pandemic aid

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The final numbers are in: the federal government poured more than $2 billion into the local economy this spring and summer in an effort to blunt the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. About 19,850 for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations in the region’s eight counties received $2.4 billion in loans under the Paycheck Protection Program. The loans, convertible to grants, ranged from $10 million to less than $1,000. As a group, no one secured more money than doctors. Other top recipients include restaurants, lawyers, car dealers, skilled nursing facilities and construction contractors. Three recipients received $10 million, the maximum allowed[...]

Posted 2 years ago

Nov 11

2020

Record low employment in Buffalo Niagara

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The coronavirus pandemic has stripped Buffalo-Niagara of so many jobs that the region employs fewer people in the private sector than it has in at least 30 years. The metro area was down 46,000 private sector jobs in September, compared with a year earlier. That amounts to a 9.6 percent drop. That leaves the labor market with 431,300 full- and part-time jobs. “It’s the smallest private-sector workforce in 30 years, by a good deal,” said E.J. McMahon, senior fellow at the Empire Center for Public Policy, who conducted the jobs analysis for Investigative Post. Heaney discusses his story on WBEN[...]

Posted 2 years ago

Sep 1

2020

Police transparency hinges on legal battle

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For more than 40 years, state law and contractual agreements concealed police personnel records from public scrutiny. Complaints lodged against officers, investigations into misconduct, disciplinary actions, settlement agreements — all these tools for evaluating an officer’s suitability for the job — were almost completely inaccessible. That changed in June, when, in response to the nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd, the New York State Legislature amended the state’s Civil Rights and Freedom of Information laws to make those records public. Buffalo’s police union is not surrendering those protections gracefully. The Buffalo Police Benevolent Association is challenging the new[...]

Posted 2 years ago

Aug 23

2020

Buffalo Billion audit: shock and ugh

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The audit released Friday by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli told us a lot of things we already knew or strongly suspected: the Cuomo administration failed to assess the value of high-tech projects like the Tesla plant in South Buffalo both before and after the investment of tax dollars, and largely kept the public and press in the dark in between. But the audit added a lot of detail and included some new eye-popping findings, two in particular: The Tesla project fell way short — way, way short, actually — of the state’s desired return on investment. The audit said Empire[...]

Posted 2 years ago

Jul 28

2020

City Hall inertia on one-sided police contract

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Reforming the Buffalo Police Department will require changes in the labor contract between the city and its police union. Major changes. An analysis by Investigative Post found the contract — a behemoth of a document comprising nearly 400 pages of agreements, amendments, arbitration awards and memoranda — is decidedly one-sided in favor of the union. It makes it tough to discipline officers accused of misconduct and deprives the police commissioner of management rights that are a given in many other departments. Investigative Post also determined that the administration of Mayor Byron Brown, who has lambasted the union contract, has never[...]

Posted 2 years ago

Jul 20

2020

Police misconduct costing Buffalo millions

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 A cop shooting and paralyzing a teenage driver.  A police tow truck driver running a red light and slamming into a passenger car. A cell block attendant ramming a handcuffed detainee’s face into a door at Central Booking. The incidents all led to lawsuits against the City of Buffalo and its police department, and subsequently settlement agreements. Since 2015, a total of 16 settlements have cost taxpayers $11.9 million. Most involve excessive use of force or negligent driving. Those figures trouble Samuel Davis, a local defense attorney.  “I find it alarming that that much money has been paid out,”[...]

Posted 2 years ago

Jun 11

2020

Buffalo’s police watchdogs are toothless

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The City of Buffalo has three separate police oversight boards, but they’ve done little, if anything, to bring bad cops to heel.  One can’t. It’s an advisory panel with no power beyond its voice.  One won’t. It’s a subcommittee of the Common Council that seldom meets and does not investigate police misconduct.  And the third, a commission mandated by the city’s charter and controlled by Mayor Byron Brown, is hopelessly compromised. Of the three, the Police Advisory Board has the least power. But it has advanced far more substantial ideas about how to change policing in Buffalo than the tepid[...]

Posted 2 years ago