Tag: City Hall

Jul 19

2012

Who is stiffing Housing Court?

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Investigative Post identifies the biggest scofflaws who have failed to pay fines and why the court came down so heavy in the first place. Featured Thursday on WGRZ.

Posted 10 years ago

Jul 18

2012

City Hall forgoes millions in housing fines

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You can’t get away without paying your property taxes or garbage fee or even a parking ticket without City Hall coming after you. Letting your property go to seed is another matter. Judges in City Housing Court have imposed more than $22 million in fines since 2006 against some 1,470 property owners who ignored orders to repair building and health code violations. A vast majority have ignored the fines and gotten away with it, an Investigative Post inquiry has found. Less than $800,000 in fines have been paid during that period – less than a nickel on the dollar. It’s[...]

Posted 10 years ago

Jul 4

2012

Feds find aiding city is risky business

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Federal housing officials are tightening the screws on City Hall over its chronic mismanagement of anti-poverty funds. A series of critical reports and audits have documented problems dating back to the Griffin-era, but meaningful sanctions to this point have been few and far between. But the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is now moving on three fronts to force compliance from City Hall in how it spends about $18 million a year – three-quarters of it block grant aid that is the primary pool of money used to combat poverty in one of the nation’s poorest cities. HUD,[...]

Posted 10 years ago

Jun 12

2012

Only in Buffalo

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A proposed bill by Common Council Majority Leader Demone Smith would prohibit employers from requiring job seekers to disclose any criminal convictions on their application. Buffalo would stand alone among cities, towns or villages statewide in limiting the ability of private employers to make the inquiry. Employers would, however, be able to obtain the information as the application process moves forward.

Posted 10 years ago

May 31

2012

The rap (sheet) on the Common Council

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Brian Davis’s plea to federal corruption charges Tuesday comes as no surprise. Neither does the Common Council’s appointment of a bartender to fill Mickey Kearn’s vacant seat. Such is the state of the Common Council. Jimmy Griffin used to call them the “Comical Council” back in the day and yes, they used to bicker a lot. But once upon a time, the Common Council had a core of stellar lawmakers—think Gene Fahey, Jim Pitts, and Dave Rutecki, among others, followed in later years by the likes of Brian Higgins and Kevin Helfer—who attempted to deal with serious issues and function[...]

Posted 10 years ago

Apr 5

2012

Lessons for Buffalo from a boomtown

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Buffalo is not Austin, Texas, and never will be. They bake. We freeze. They have Lance Armstrong. We had OJ. They don’t pay state income taxes. We do. Oh boy, do we. But I’ve come away from two visits to Austin since last summer thinking there are lessons to be learned. The Texas capital is booming. Austin proper added some 160,000 residents between 2001 and 2010, up 20 percent. Only one major metro area grew at a faster pace. The region also added jobs at a faster rate than any major metro area in the nation over the past eight[...]

Posted 10 years ago

Feb 27

2012

High pricetag of City Hall politics

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I couldn’t help but be reminded of Joel Giambra’s relationship with Jim Spano when I got through reading the profile of Adam Perry and his law firm’s dealings with Bryon Brown’s administration in Sunday’s Buffalo News. Spano, if you recall, was Giambra’s chief campaign fund-raiser when the Democrat turned Republican ran successfully for county executive in 2000. Once in office, Giambra’s administration rewarded Spano’s firm with 85 percent of the county’s office furniture business, worth $2.5 million. Spano’s company, not content with the lion’s share of business, overbilled the county by an estimated $550,000 according to an investigation I did[...]

Posted 11 years ago