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Nov 30

2022

Councilman recalls racism as a cop

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Add Niagara District Councilman David Rivera to the list of Buffalo police officers who have described a racist “culture” within the city’s police department. In an interview with Investigative Post two years ago, Rivera — who chairs the Common Council’s Police Oversight Committee — remembered the thrill of joining the Buffalo Police Department 30 years ago. “When I came on from the Academy, I was excited,” he said. “I wanted to hit the street running. I wanted to get in the police car, I wanted to patrol, I wanted to answer calls. I wanted to stay busy.” He was quickly[...]

Posted 12 hours ago

Nov 29

2022

More subsidies for high-end apartments

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Industrial development agencies were initially in the business of creating or retaining jobs. Their mission these days includes finding new uses for old buildings. The Amherst IDA last month approved $1.88 million in tax breaks for a project that does neither. The planned construction of apartments and retail space at 5877 Main Street in Williamsville will create only two permanent jobs. And the older building that was located on the site — Milos Restaurant — is slated for demolition. A four-story building will go up in its place. The first floor will include Excuria Salon and Spa and retail space.[...]

Posted 1 day ago

Nov 28

2022

Monday Morning Read

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The felony convictions of Louis Ciminelli and Alain Kaloyeros will be reconsidered by the Supreme Court this week, as reported yesterday by Jerry Zremski of The Buffalo News. Their lawyers will argue that prosecutors went too far in their application of federal fraud and bribery statutes.  Regardless of the technical merits, this much is clear: Ciminelli’s company, in league with Kaloyeros, played dirty in the drafting of bid specifications to develop Tesla’s solar panel manufacturing plant in South Buffalo. As I reported in 2014, the original bid documents required bidders to have been in the development business in Buffalo for[...]

Posted 2 days ago

Nov 25

2022

Investigative Post’s groundbreaking police coverage

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Geoff Kelly wrote a couple of blockbuster stories for us over the past week involving allegations of racism in the Buffalo Police Department. One was based on depositions given by retired police commanders in which they acknowledged use of the N-word by officers and a failure to properly train, supervise and discipline cops working on special street units. The other story was based on a federal lawsuit in which officers accuse their captain of making racially derogatory remarks about Black officers and justifying racist attitudes among whites. These revelations were shocking, to be sure. But given Investigative Post’s reporting on[...]

Posted 5 days ago

Nov 22

2022

Lawsuit: Police captain went on racist ‘rant’

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A Buffalo police captain told officers she supervised that Black cops were more likely to cheat on their wives than white cops. The captain said she’d be suspicious if she saw a Black man in her neighborhood. She claimed white police officers suffered post-traumatic stress disorder from working in Black neighborhoods, but Black officers did not, because they were more accustomed to violent crime. The captain told Black officers they should try to understand how the criminality of Black people justified some racism. These claims are detailed in a lawsuit filed Monday evening in federal court by two Buffalo police[...]

Posted 1 week ago

Nov 21

2022

Monday Morning Read

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WeeklyPost is a free newsletter emailed first thing Sunday morning. It includes summaries of our reporting the previous week and Jim Heaney’s recommended reading, which is below. You can subscribe here. There are a lot of reasons for Buffalo’s segregation, a lack of affordable housing in the suburbs chief among them. Lack of affordable housing is also an issue on Long Island and voters earlier this month decided to do something about it: impose a surcharge on the sale of high-priced homes. Reported New York Focus: The tax, which is likely to take effect next spring in the towns of East Hampton,[...]

Posted 1 week ago

Nov 17

2022

Thanks to WNY, Amazon subsidies hit $5 billion

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A $124 million subsidy package given to Amazon by the Niagara County Industrial Development agency this summer helped the e-commerce giant reach a milestone: $5 billion in total government subsidies. That total came from 309 subsidies in 38 states since 2000, according to data compiled by Good Jobs First, a nonprofit that tracks corporate tax breaks. Washington, the state where Amazon is headquartered, gave the company the most subsidies, a total of $824 million. Illinois ranked second with $732 million, followed by New York at $671 million. Those subsidies went towards facilities ranging from warehouses to offices to film and[...]

Posted 2 weeks ago

Nov 16

2022

No environmental review for new Bills stadium

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When major league sports venues are built in New York, they almost always undergo a thorough environmental review before a shovel is put in the ground. That was the case for Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, Barclays Center and USB Arena in New York City. And it was the case for KeyBank Center and Sahlen Field in Buffalo, as well as other minor league baseball stadiums around the state, and a 14,000-seat soccer stadium in Rochester. Yet Erie County officials are poised to give Pegula Sports and Entertainment and the Buffalo Bills a free pass — called a negative declaration —[...]

Posted 2 weeks ago