Articles for Geoff Kelly

Dec 10

2020

Tech firm leaves Buffalo students in a lurch

After nearly two years of doubts and delays, Buffalo Public Schools is canceling a contract to provide free wireless internet to some of the district’s neediest students.  The reason: HarpData, the company the district hired to do the job, is going out of business. An attorney for HarpData, Joseph Makowski, confirmed that CEO Ivory Robinson Jr. is “winding down” the company’s operations. Staff has been laid off. The company’s offices on Delaware Avenue in downtown Buffalo remain under lease, Makowski said, but are closed for business. As a result, the beleaguered Connected Communities initiative — a $1.3 million project meant[...]

Posted 2 years ago

Dec 4

2020

Kelly discusses police spending on WBEN

Geoff Kelley reported earlier this week that Buffalo’s spending on police has skyrocketed under Byron Brown while funding for most other city services has shrunk when inflation is factored in. He discussed the story Friday with Brian Mazurowski on NewsRadio 930WBEN. Give a listen.  

Posted 2 years ago

Dec 3

2020

City Hall spending on police has skyrocketed

The Buffalo Police Department’s budget has grown at three times the pace of other city services since Mayor Byron Brown took office in 2006, an increase fueled largely by the cost of health insurance and pension payments for current and retired cops. The city spends 54 percent more on police than it did 15 years ago. Meanwhile, spending across all other city departments has increased just 17 percent. That’s less than two-thirds the rate of inflation. In inflation-adjusted dollars, the city’s spending on police has effectively defunded other city services.  The city spends less today than it used to on[...]

Posted 2 years ago

Nov 18

2020

Missing persons report for city’s control board

Editor’s note: The original version of this column incorrectly reported on events related to actions by the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority involving the city’s four-year budget plan. The source of the errors: The control board, on its website, incorrectly labeled videos of  special meetings held on June 16 and July 20. Investigative Post based its reporting in part on those videos, which resulted in a conflating of events. The text below has been revised accordingly. A control board spokesman said the agency was attempting to correct the errors on its website. Three times in the past five months, the city’s state-imposed[...]

Posted 2 years ago

Nov 2

2020

Problem cop still on Buffalo police force

There is exactly one Buffalo cop whose past conduct has so damaged his credibility that the Erie County District Attorney’s office refuses to put him on the witness stand. His name is Joseph R. Hassett.  In an April 2019 letter to Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood, DA John Flynn wrote that Hassett, 34, suffered from “irremediable problems of credibility.” As a result, Flynn wrote, he would “no longer call Officer Hassett as a witness in any pending or future criminal action.”  In an arbitration proceeding that began two months later, Hassett’s employer, the City of Buffalo, sought to fire him.[...]

Posted 2 years ago

Oct 28

2020

M.T. Pockets gets liquor license renewed

Two months after an ugly altercation between bar patrons and Black Lives Matter demonstrators, M.T. Pockets remains open for business. In fact, the State Liquor Authority has just renewed the North Buffalo establishment’s liquor license for the next two years.  At the same time, the authority has charged M.T. Pockets with two violations: “operating disorderly premises” and “failure to supervise.” The charges are a result of the Sept. 1 confrontation, according to Bill Crowley, an authority spokesman. The SLA opened an investigation shortly after the incident, Crowley told Investigative Post last month. At the time, Crowley said, the SLA was[...]

Posted 2 years ago

Oct 22

2020

Kelly discusses Delong transfer on WBEN

Lt. Michael Delong, under suspension for his vile, misogynist insult of a West Side woman this summer, wants a transfer to head up police units that investigate sex crimes or trains rookie cops. Geoff Kelly discusses the story on NewsRadio 930WBEN.

Posted 2 years ago

Oct 16

2020

He shoved a cop and got away with it – maybe

Back in June, acting New York State Supreme Court Justice Mark Grisanti shoved a Buffalo cop as police attempted to sort out an altercation between the judge and his wife, Maria Grisanti, and some neighbors. Police body-camera video, obtained and published earlier this week by Law360.com, has drawn considerable media attention. In the video, Maria Grisanti stomps about screaming obscenities at her neighbors and the cops. An officer tackles and cuffs her, prompting the judge — his t-shirt torn and hanging around his waist — to run across the street and try to wrestle the officer away from his wife.[...]

Posted 2 years ago