Articles for Geoff Kelly

Feb 12

2024

Political Post: Tax hikes for snowplows

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. This column was adopted from Investigative Post’s weekly “Political Post” newsletter. Subscribe here and get “Political Post” in your inbox every Wednesday morning. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told the Buffalo News editorial board two weeks ago that sending snowplows down side streets in the immediate aftermath of a snowstorm might require a tax hike. Clearing residential streets promptly is a new, boutique service, Brown claimed, never before contemplated in what he called “the standard city snow plan.” “But now, the public is saying, ‘We don’t want that. We want more than that,’” Brown told The News. [...]

Posted 4 months ago

Feb 6

2024

Brown angling for top job at OTB

From left: Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, OTB President and CEO Henry Wojtaszek, OTB board member James Wilmot. Mayor Byron Brown, who has pursued at least two jobs outside City Hall in the past six months, has his eyes set on yet another: president and CEO of the Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp., sources tell Investigative Post. And those political insiders say the job’s current occupant, Henry Wojtaszek, is looking for an exit strategy, too.  It’s little wonder that Brown would be interested in the job. Wojtaszek has one of the best-compensated public service posts in the state. The OTB president[...]

Posted 5 months ago

Feb 1

2024

Accused spitter stuck in legal limbo

Charged with spitting on guards at a federal detention facility nearly four years ago, Samuel Boima is still locked up. And there’s no end in sight. He’s a schizophrenic with convictions for armed robbery and assault. A final deportation order has been issued, an appeal denied. Sierra Leone, Boima’s native country, has granted travel documents. Federal prosecutors in Buffalo are keeping him in the United States, according to a federal judge who has urged the U.S. attorney’s office to drop charges of assaulting federal officers so deportation proceedings can resume. Boima in May 2020 spat while two guards at the[...]

Posted 5 months ago

Jan 25

2024

All Tim Kennedy’s money

State Sen. Tim Kennedy State Sen. Tim Kennedy’s campaign committee spent nearly $1.5 million in 2023, a year in which the Buffalo Democrat wasn’t up for re-election. He spent more last year than he did on his two previous re-election campaigns combined.  He spent nearly four times as much as he did in 2021, the last off-year for state legislators. And he spent two-thirds of that money — more than $1 million — after word began circulating in July that Kennedy’s political mentor, U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins, would step down mid-term, opening up a seat that Kennedy would like to[...]

Posted 5 months ago

Jan 17

2024

PoliticalPost: City auditor quits

This is PoliticalPost, a weekly newsletter we launched last week. Subscribe here to get Political Post delivered to your inbox every Wednesday morning — because it won’t usually be available online. Buffalo’s chief auditor, Kevin Kaufman, has quit his job in the city comptroller’s office. Multiple sources say Kaufman, 48, left for a private-sector job, at least in part due to his frustration with working conditions under Comptroller Barbara Miller-Williams. He’d been working for the city a little more than 11 years. Miller-Williams declined to elaborate on his reasons for leaving, referring those questions to Kaufman. She told Investigative Post[...]

Posted 5 months ago

Jan 9

2024

How the Council presidency was won

Last Tuesday South District Council Member Chris Scanlon won the Council presidency in an 8-to-1 vote. But if the Council’s reorganization meeting had taken place two weeks earlier, it might have been Niagara District Council Member David Rivera instead. The Council presidency is a powerful role — appointing committees, overseeing Council operations, signing off on nearly all the legislative body’s actions. The post was held since 2014 by former Ellicott District Council Member Darius Pridgen, who announced a year ago he would not seek a fourth term in office.  The race to succeed him has raised particular intrigue because Mayor[...]

Posted 6 months ago

Dec 27

2023

Geoff Kelly’s reporting on Roswell, City Hall

Buffalo’s firefighting fleet Last year’s Christmas blizzard, which killed 47 people, exposed weaknesses in governmental capacity to navigate emergencies. The storm compelled the City of Buffalo, in particular, to confront numerous shortcomings, including inadequate investment in equipment for first responders. As it happened, we’d been investigating the condition of the city’s firefighting fleet in the weeks before the storm hit.  We published our findings in January: Over the past dozen years, Mayor Byron Brown and the Common Council failed to invest in new fire trucks as they aged out. The result was a ramshackle fleet that sometimes failed firefighters even[...]

Posted 6 months ago

Dec 14

2023

Lawsuit: Radioactive slag at affordable housing project

A developer claims subcontractors used radioactive slag as construction fill at an affordable housing project just north of Buffalo’s medical campus. Now the developer wants the subcontractors, and the company that sold them the contaminated material, to pay $1.6 million for the cleanup, and other costs. The allegations were made in a lawsuit filed last week in federal court by the Buffalo-based McGuire PV Holdings, LLC. The company is in the midst of a years-long effort to revitalize the Pilgrim Village affordable housing complex, located between Michigan Avenue and Ellicott Street, across the street from Gates Vascular Institute. McGuire claims[...]

Posted 6 months ago
Investigative Post

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