Articles for Geoff Kelly

Sep 27


Lawsuits have commenced in blaze that killed firefighter

The owner of 743 Main Street — the site of the fire that killed Buffalo firefighter Jason Arno in March — is suing the contractor that investigators blame for starting the blaze. The plaintiff is 743 Main Street LLC, a limited liability company with the same address as Avalon Development, former U.S. Rep. Chris Jacobs’ development company. Jacobs used the LLC to purchase the building in December 2022 for $1.3 million.  The defendant is JP Contracting of WNY, whose workers used a propane roofing torch and a leaf blower to melt ice on the exterior masonry of the building the[...]

Posted 5 days ago

Sep 26


How many City Hall employees being paid not to work?

The comptroller’s office has launched an investigation to determine how many city employees are on paid leave, why and for how long, and how much it costs taxpayers, according to the city’s chief auditor, who testified Tuesday before the Common Council’s Civil Service Committee. The comptroller’s inquiry is a response to Investigative Post’s report on Jill Repman, formerly Jill Parisi, an administrative assistant for the Buffalo Fire Department who was on paid leave for seven and half years. The city has paid Repman nearly $600,000 since suspending her in 2016, when she was accused of tampering with the department’s payroll[...]

Posted 6 days ago

Sep 25


City to pay $255k to victims of police raid

The city of Buffalo is poised to pay more than a quarter-million dollars to a family whose Parkside home was raided by a police SWAT team hunting for crack cocaine.  Officers armed with guns and a no-knock search warrant found no drugs at the home of Maisha Drayton, then a senior director of staff development at the Evergreen Association, a nonprofit health care organization. Neither she nor her two children nor her husband, Trevor, who wasn’t home when police broke through the door shortly after 6:30 a.m. on Dec. 11, 2014, had any criminal history.  The city law department last[...]

Posted 7 days ago

Sep 23


Monday Morning Read

Read on for nuggets you may have missed, and subscribe to WeeklyPost for a heads up every Sunday. The editors of Time magazine inveigh against “alarming efforts to politicize and defund libraries,” particularly by right-wing activists. The Time magazine piece reflects the fears Buffalo and Erie County Public Library Director John Spears spoke of in a recent Buffalo News article, saying “If people think this couldn’t happen here, they’re wrong.” In an earlier interview with Investigative Post, Spears spoke of the importance of libraries in society, suggesting that they are one of the few remaining community spaces people can use freely. Time’s editors[...]

Posted 1 week ago

Sep 20


Erie County sheriff wants $10 million helicopter

Erie County Sheriff John Garcia wants to double his department’s helicopter fleet with a new chopper that would cost more than $10 million. “It’s a matter of safety,” Undersheriff William Cooley told Investigative Post in justifying a new Airbus H135 helicopter that would take two years to build and outfit. “We see an absolute need for a new machine.” The sheriff’s office boasts that its current helicopter helps nab suspected car thieves and controls traffic at Buffalo Bills games.  The department says that its 22-year-old chopper, often grounded for maintenance and repairs, has saved lives. The department once considered replacing[...]

Posted 2 weeks ago

Sep 19


Council member requests audit of workers on paid leave

A Buffalo legislator wants to know how and why a clerk in the city’s fire department was kept on paid administrative leave for seven and half years, collecting nearly $600,000 not to work. Fillmore District Council Member Mitch Nowakowski also wants the city’s comptroller to find out how many similar situations are hidden in the city’s payroll. Nowakowski, chair of the Council’s Civil Service Committee, filed a resolution Monday asking Comptroller Barbara Miller-Williams to perform an audit to find out how many city employees are being paid to stay at home, why, and for how long — and what the[...]

Posted 2 weeks ago

Sep 15


Judge throws out counts in fatal police shooting lawsuit

A federal judge has dismissed several counts against the Buffalo Police Department and two officers involved in the 2017 fatal shooting of Jose Hernandez-Rossy.  Left intact in a lawsuit filed by Margarita Rossy, the dead man’s mother, are claims that police improperly used lethal force after violating Hernandez-Rossy’s rights against unreasonable search and seizure when they pulled him over on suspicion of smoking marijuana while driving.  Otherwise, U.S. District Court Judge William Skretny on Sept. 5 threw out claims that police targeted Hernandez-Rossy, 26, based on race and that the disciplinary history of Officer Justin Tedesco, who pulled the trigger,[...]

Posted 2 weeks ago

Sep 14


City Hall clerk paid not to work

In February 2016, the City of Buffalo accused a clerk in the fire department of tampering with the payroll in order to pad her checks. Since then the former Jill Parisi — now appearing on city payroll records under her maiden name, Jill Repman — has collected well over a half million dollars while on paid administrative leave, awaiting a resolution to the disciplinary charges against her. For six of those seven-and-a-half years, she has held a second job in the private sector, managing payroll for a local healthcare company. According to the city’s law department, there was never any[...]

Posted 3 weeks ago