Articles for J. Dale Shoemaker

Feb 23

2024

OTB wants to expand gambling in Buffalo

After an eight-month delay, Buffalo’s new representative on the Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. board of directors participated in her first meeting Thursday and has already taken on a major project: Changing state law to make it easier for Buffalo residents to bet on horse races. Crystal Rodriguez-Dabney, former deputy mayor to Mayor Byron Brown, said she wants to give bars, restaurants and bowling alleys in Buffalo and Western New York the opportunity to install betting terminals, supplied by OTB, as a way to earn more revenue. The terminals, called E-Z Bet, allow gamblers to bet on any horse race[...]

Posted 1 week ago

Feb 15

2024

AG launches probe after inmate death ruled homicide

The New York State Attorney General says that Shaun Humphrey died after he became unresponsive while jailers at the Erie County Holding Center were handcuffing him. Photo courtesy of Humphrey’s family. The New York Attorney General’s Office has opened an investigation into the August death of an Erie County Holding Center inmate that’s been ruled a homicide. Shaun Humphrey, 52, died at Buffalo General Hospital on Aug. 15, one week after an encounter with guards, according to a press release from the attorney general and Ashley Isaac, Humphrey’s daughter. Humphrey appeared to be having a seizure, then became combative with[...]

Posted 2 weeks ago

Feb 15

2024

Workers protest loophole in state wage law

  With the first glints of sun coming up over Kenmore Avenue, slowly burning off the morning’s 22-degree freeze, several dozen construction union members rallied Wednesday in protest of developer Michael Wopperer, hoping to highlight loopholes in New York’s prevailing wage law. Wopperer, the tradesmen and organizers said, had amassed some $17 million in public subsidies for his $23 million renovation of the former Wood & Brooks factory just across the road, yet will not be required to pay prevailing wage to the workers he’s employing on the project.  Wopperer told Investigative Post he’s employing some union workers on the[...]

Posted 2 weeks ago

Feb 9

2024

Labor’s challenges and opportunities

Watch our panel discussion on organized labor. Video by Garrett Looker. Regardless of who wins the presidential election in November, it will be incumbent on workers and union members to fight for better pay, schedules and working conditions. And that’s to say nothing about addressing the effects of climate change and rectifying social injustices. In other words: The labor movement is going to have to save itself. That was one of the big takeaways from Investigative Post’s panel discussion on the labor movement Wednesday night. President Joe Biden may be better for labor than Donald Trump and the Republicans, the panelists[...]

Posted 3 weeks ago

Feb 8

2024

Minimal discipline for problem Buffalo cop

In the space of 10 months, Buffalo police officer Davon Ottey cursed, wrongly arrested people, used excessive force, lied about brandishing a knife and sprayed hand sanitizer on a man who used a phone to record police, according to the New York State Attorney General’s office. Ottey’s conduct between June 2019 and April 2020 prompted five citizen complaints and was sufficient to warrant a criminal investigation, the attorney general’s office wrote in a Dec. 28 letter to Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia. For its part, the department sustained two complaints against Ottey, issuing a six-day suspension in one case and a[...]

Posted 3 weeks ago

Feb 7

2024

Investigative Post sues FBI over records

Nearly a year after first requesting the records, Investigative Post filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against the Federal Bureau of Investigations, arguing that the agency is unlawfully withholding thousands of pages of documents. Some of the records are related to the Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. which is currently under FBI investigation. The FBI says it has the records, but wants to take more than four years to review and release them. “The information contained in the requested records will allow Investigative Post to bring transparency and accountability to OTB and its public officials in order to protect the public[...]

Posted 3 weeks ago

Feb 2

2024

Unions, lawmakers renew push for IDA reform

Union officials, lawmakers and good-government groups gathered in Albany this week to announce a renewed push for industrial development agency reform. Photo by Arabella Saunders, New York Focus. A version of this story was first published by New York Focus, a nonprofit news publication investigating power in New York. Sign up for their newsletter here. The fight to curb tax breaks issued by industrial development agencies has a powerful new ally: labor unions. Good government groups, legislators, a local development authority board member and their latest allies from the statewide teachers union and the AFL-CIO gathered in Albany Wednesday to urge the[...]

Posted 4 weeks ago

Jan 30

2024

Tonawanda Senecas to feds: Reject Plug Power loan

The Tonawanda Seneca Nation is urging the Biden administration to reject a $1.6 billion loan sought by hydrogen producer Plug Power, alleging the company is evading federal environmental reviews at its planned Genesee County facility.  At issue is what Plug Power will spend the money on should the federal government approve its loan application later this year. Company executives have discussed the loan as essential for the company after it filed a statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission in November which stated “substantial doubt that we will have sufficient capital to fund our operations through the next 12 months.”[...]

Posted 1 month ago
Investigative Post

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