Investigations

Exposés, reports
and analysis.

Outrages & Insights

Muckraking blog
by Jim Heaney

GreenPost

Environmental blog
by Dan Telvock

Tom Toles

Editorial cartoons
and commentary

Dec
21

Fired OTB whistleblower claims retaliation

The Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. has fired its second-in-command, a whistleblower assisting federal and state agencies investigating the organization. Michael Nolan, OTB’s chief operating officer, was notified of his termination Dec. 18 when he showed up to work, according to his attorney, Steve Cohen. His dismissal is the culmination of two years of harassment […]

Dec
17

Firms left behind in quest for pandemic aid

Nearly 19,000 businesses in Western New York received a federal loan to help them through the pandemic. Laythanette Shine’s firm wasn’t one of them. Shine’s business, USA Occupational Services on Jefferson Avenue, provides drug and DNA testing services and background checks for employers. There’s a memorial in the front window to the man who helped […]

Dec
16

Popular nonprofits obtained pandemic aid

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. […]

Dec
15

Sliver of companies got half of pandemic aid

A lot of businesses received forgivable loans from the federal government to help them through the pandemic. To be exact, 18,768 in the eight counties of Western New York. The loans were worth $2.2 billion, altogether. But a fraction of the companies — some 5 percent — received about half that sum.  Two businesses got […]

Dec
14

Doctors and lawyers cash in on pandemic aid

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. […]

Sep
30

M.T. Pockets is open – and under investigation

M.T. Pockets, the North Buffalo bar that closed earlier his month after its patrons shouted racist slurs at demonstrators rallying for police reform, has quietly reopened. The Erie County Health Department cleared the Hertel Avenue bar to reopen Monday, after it submitted a plan to ensure the safety of patrons during the COVID-19 pandemic. Plywood […]

Sep
17

Working for $1 a day

The company that oversees people held at the immigration detention center in Batavia exploits detainees by paying them $1 a day to perform menial labor, according to a lawsuit filed in state Supreme Court.  The lawsuit, filed Sept. 3, stops short of saying the detainees are forced into doing the work, but suggests that there’s […]

Jul
23

A critical voice on OTB board?

The Erie County Legislature has appointed a prolific Democratic donor as its representative to the Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp.  Francis Warthling was approved in a unanimous vote Thursday to replace Beverly Mazur, who served in the role for ten years. His appointment follows nearly 18 months of controversy at OTB, including ongoing federal and […]