Syaed Ali

10 Jan

At least two people sent me this article from Artvoice, detailing the very disturbing case of one Syaed Ali. Back in November – right after election day – Mr. Ali was served with a search warrant, had many of his personal belongings taken by the police, was alternately told that he was, then wasn’t, charged with a crime, and was threatened with criminal charges if he lawyered up or went to the media.

Mr. Ali has now done both, and there are massive question marks surrounding the propriety and legality of the search warrant executed against him, and although he has not yet been charged with any crime, his property has not yet been returned to him.

Why is the city going ballistic against a young Democratic activist like Ali?

It’s alleged that he was the author of a series of pre-election-day emails sent from anonymous Gmail accounts under the name of a fictitious group called “WNY First” and “Buffalo First”.

Those emails, which were so defamatory that I was loath to even refer to them here, threatened to release video of Mayor Brown in a scandalous situation. These were sent to every media outlet in town, including and me, and they were hilarious not just in terms of the outrageous allegations being made, but also in the eagerness with which local media – most notably Channel 7 News – wanted those tapes OMG RIGHT NOW! The author of the emails had a habit of replying to individual news outlets’ requests by hitting “reply to all”. I alluded to it once or twice on the site.

In the end, no tapes were produced, and the whole thing was a small-time exercise in libel and breathless anticipation. I doubt whether any of it was criminal, and at this point it seems to me as if the city and police are just screwing with this guy to get back at him. I don’t quite understand why they’d go all Dick Cheney on him rather than just charge him with a crime or bring a civil action.

14 Responses to “Syaed Ali”

  1. Mr. Justice January 10, 2009 at 11:07 am #

    Usually their is more to a story such as this. The cops screwing around with someone is not right for the sake of doing so. Even if someone did such as things, its illegal to use cops in this fashion. Usually this suggests to me, as a law enforcement person, that the accusing party is the one that is guilty of something.

    This should be reported to the public corrpution unit

  2. Mike In WNY January 10, 2009 at 11:35 am #

    The actions against Mr. Ali are totally in character for a Mayor that puts spy-cams all over the city.


  3. Johny January 10, 2009 at 12:04 pm #

    Some call the public corruption unit at the FBI

  4. rastamick January 10, 2009 at 7:56 pm #

    O.k, can we safely say the fact that this man’s name is Syaed Ali may have something to do with the lack of public outrage on the way Brownie’s goonsquad stomped all over his civil rights ? I implore readers to think of some names that would possibly engender community outrage/support. Maybe if his name was ohhh I dunno, Jim Gtriffin… ?

  5. rastamick January 10, 2009 at 7:57 pm #

    errr Griffin !!!!

  6. Jim Ostrowski January 11, 2009 at 12:56 am #

    “call the public corruption unit at the FBI”

    Please don’t accuse the FBI of engaging in public corruption. That’s just a rumor.

    Seriously, these allegations are very disturbing and need to be fully investigated.

    “Syaed Ali” No, they have done this kind of crap to guys with “American” names, believe me.

  7. rastamick January 11, 2009 at 3:09 pm #

    Jim, no question Brown’s guys would do this to a guy with any sounding name, my point is that he’s going to get very little public support and so far the only media outlet interested aside form this one is Artvoice.

  8. johny January 11, 2009 at 4:25 pm #

    The media is slow probally not going to research till end of week

  9. Gene Simmons January 11, 2009 at 11:41 pm #

    What was the purpose of the search warrant ? If City Cops executed it then it is probably for drugs. What Judge signed it ? What brought it on ? Where did the info come from to seek the warrant ? Narcotics warrants are served quite frequently, and they don’t always produce.

  10. Jonhy January 12, 2009 at 7:35 am #

    It says Hannah signed the warrant, and it was agg. harassment, not for drugs. Politically motivated for sure

  11. Christi January 12, 2009 at 10:57 am #

    i worked for Mr. Ali as an intern, and employee for one of his companies. these above-mentioned allegations are very hard to believe for a guy who preaches to his employees to never do anything “illegal”, “immoral” or “unethical”. Secondly I know that he travels frequently on business, and not sure how he would be sending e-gossip in cars and aiplanes.

    I severely doubt a guy that helped me the way he did and has a high ethical standard would be involved in such a e-mail cmapign, and besides what those people did was wrong. I remember working for him, and my husband became ill resulting in tsking alot of days off in succession and perdiocally , and the other shareholders asked that I be let go for being unreliable. Mr. Ali who was legally obligated to listen to the other shareholders, so he did relieve me of my duties, but he continued to pay my salary from his personal resources, which most would not do, and would not care, but had he not I might be in a homless shelter.

    Also all the ignorant people should realize that this is not some foreign born wack job, as he is a astute multimillionaire businessman that could buy and sell all the bigoted ignorant person bloggers, making slurs.

  12. Dick Kern January 15, 2009 at 9:58 pm #

    Glenn Gramigna has joined the fray, exposing more evidence of amjor police misconduct.

    Here is his two part account:

    COPY, Part II (today?):

    Arrest Or Kidnapping?…Businessman Alleges Officers Tried To Force Him To Implicate Hoyt, Kearns
    Written by Glenn Graminga, Editor


    Exactly why anyone would want to detain 24 year old information technology entrepreneur Syaed Ali for political offenses against the Mayor of Buffalo is unclear. Actually, his political associations have been minimal, ranging from a brief spurt of activism in the Satish Mohan campaign for Amherst Supervisor to some casual involvement in the Draft Michael Bloomberg for President movement. It’s true that he briefly flirted with running for the NYS State Senate and the Erie County Legislature but, in the end, did neither.

    “I was just too busy expanding my business,” are the words he uses to explain his relative lack of preoccupation with the political world. Yet, last Nov. 7 he reports that he found himself being pressured by someone who claimed to be a Buffalo Police Officer in the local headquarters of the FBI. The apparent goal: To try to get him to implicate WNY Assemblymember Sam Hoyt and/or Common Council Member and likely 2009 mayoral candidate Mickey Kearns in a slander campaign against Mayor Brown.

    “Look, we have special technologies we can use to make it seem like you implicated them whether you did or not, so you might as well just say it,” Syaed reports a female officer telling him. “So you might as well say it. You’ll feel a lot better.”

    However, according to Syaed, he never did say it, preferring to remind his interrogators that this would be perjury and he would have no part of it. And, though the alleged law enforcement delegation on the scene, continued to refer to him as “a piece of shit…all we have to do his scare him a little more and he’ll say it,” the young man, though admittedly scared and upset, refused to give his captors what they so desperately seemed to want.
    “I told them over and over again that what they were asking me to do is against the law, that it is worse than what they were accusing me of,” he remembers. “But, they just kept asking me the same thing.”

    At times, there were variations on the theme in the form of purported internet chat transcripts.

    “They showed me what they said were transcripts of a conversation between Mayor Brown and Joe Illuzzi in which they were discussing various things,” Syaed recalls. “They kept asking me if I knew anything about it. I told them I didn’t know Joe Illuzzi, though I do look at his site as well as a number of other local sites at times. But, they kept asking me about these transcripts. Then asked me what my relationship was with ‘that new site, you know the one run by that piece of shit, Glenn Gramigalia or whateve his name is.’ I told them I look at that site too and that I had met Glenn a few times but didn’t have any real ‘relationship’ with him.

    “Then they showed me this other transcript that was supposed to be a conversation between the Mayor and some other person which was very graphic and involved other activities. I told them I had never seen it before and didn’t know anything about it. But, that didn’t stop them from continuing to ask me.”

    Meanwhile, back at the Ali family home on Breckenridge, officers were seizing everything from $750 in cash to personal business papers to his mother’s pension documents to tax records and bank statements, despite the fact that the search warrant signed by Judge Hannah only covered computers and related materials. As of press time, none of these materials had been returned, accordng to Syaed. In any case, the Ali family refused to be cowed by the invasion force which had temporarily overwhelmed them. Syaed’s brother eventually made his way to the local offices of the state Attorney General’s office in the Main Place Towers to demand his release.

    Syaed alleges that his captors had an interesting way of handling such potential interruptions.

    “When my brother called me on my cell phone, they told me that he was creating a ruckus and to tell him that this was all a case of identity fraud, that everything was all right and that I’d be home soon and to hang up,” Syaed reports. “Of course, my brother didn’t believe any of it.”

    Denied access to an attorney and any opportunity for honest communication with family members and never read his Miranda rights, according to Syaed, his captors did, amazingly enough, generously offer him the chance to listen in on their personal conferences.

    “They would go in the next room to speak privately, but I could hear every word they said,” he reports. “Finally, the guy from the FBI or the state said to the others, ‘Look, we got involved with this because the Buffalo Police told us there was something here. But, there isn’t any evidence. We don’t want to particpate in this any further. We should just let him go.”

    Eventually, they did at about 2:15pm, he says, after keeping him captive for over seven hours without showing him any arrest warrant and without offering him the chance to eat or go to the bathroom, though the officers present eagerly wolfed down doughnuts and other delicacies in front of him. He al so reports that their manner of address to him was often abusive, referring to him as “you m____r f____r” or “you piece of shit.”

    “Finally, they told me they would let me go and asked me where I wanted to be taken,” Syaed adds. “They told me that if I got an attorney or talked to the media, I’d be arrested. I told them to drop me off at the Main Place Mall and they did. That’s where my brother picked me up.”

    But, that has not been the end of it. In fact, Syaed HAS engaged the services of a prominent local attorney who has filed preliminary paper work preparatory to filing a suit against the City of Buffalo on his behalf. And, of course, Syaed did sit for a three hour interview with

    “This kind of thing shouldn’t happen in America,” Syaed Ali concludes. “I have not been silent because I believe this is something people ought to know about. My family has been terrorized. They’ve had their personal possessions and their records and files seized and for no reason. I was never involved in any harassment of the Mayor or in spreading any rumors about the Mayor. Most of the things they asked me about are not against the law. All I have done is exercise my first Amendment rights at times to participate in the political process…If they can do this to me, they can do it to anyone.”

    COPY, Part I (yesterday?):

    “Because You Made The Mayor Mad” Given As Reason For Illegal Raid, Arrest, Businessman Alleges
    Written by Glenn Graminga, Editor


    Syaed Ali, 24, first became the CEO of his own information technology firm when he was only 21. His company started out servicing local dentists and real estate offices and has gone on to to develop a nation-wide client list. He is a 2007 graduate of Buff State who has been honored as a USSA All American Scholar while also finding himself listed in Who’s Who Among Executives and Professionals.

    Yet, he feels that nothing in his educational or professional background prepared him for the recent early morning police raid on his family home on Breckenridge St. during which he alleges that several police officers, not wearing badges and putting on their uniform tops on his porch, ransacked his family home while initially refusing to show him their warrant.

    “The officers told my brother that they had an arrest warrant for me charging me with computer fraud and aggravated harassment of the Mayor of Buffalo,” he recalls. “Yet, when a family member and later I asked them why they were doing this, two different officers replied, ‘Because you made the Mayor really mad!”

    According to Syaed, after a while, another officer arrived in a cab. Together the group who claimed to be members of the Buffalo Police Dept. and officers of the NYS Attorney General’s Office continued to ransack the home, abruptly entering the bedroom of his brother and sister-on-law.
    “They left my three year old niece and my four month old niece alone in a dark room for about an hour and wouldn’t let their mother and any other adult go back up there to help them,” Syaed adds. “The chldren were crying very loudly but they didn’t care. I told them I wanted to call an attorney, but they wouldn’t let me. I asked them to see the warrant, but they wouldn’t show it to anyone until they had taken me away…As it turned out, they didn’t have an arrest warrant. They only had a search warrant for computers in the home signed by Buffalo City Court Judge Hannah. Yet, they still took me away.”

    Once they did, Syaed alleges that he found himself in an unmarked car (The officers had arraived in a pair of unmarked SUVs) with a female Buffalo Police officer and an officer of the Attorney General’s Office.

    “One asked the other where they should take me, ‘my place or yours,” he reports. “They decided to take me to the NYS Attorney General’s Office in the Main Place Towers.”

    Once they got him there, according to Syaed, the questions centered, not about any computer fraud accusations but on his political associations.

    “They asked me what my relationship with Len Lenihan is,” he says. “They asked me what my relationship is with Chris Collins, to whose campaign I had contributed $1,500. What was my relationshp with (Common Council Majority Leader) Rich Fontana, with Mike Bloomberg, with other political figures. They asked me where I got the money to make the political contributions I have made.”

    When the officers would pose these queries, he would often reply with the question, “Is it against the law” to have spoken with Lenihan or to have been involved in the abortive Draft Bloomberg movement, for example. The officers didn’t reply…until they came to the names of Assemblymember Sam Hoyt, Mayor Brown’s arch rival within the local political infrastructure and South District Common Council Member Mickey Kearns who is planning to challenge Brown’s re-election in the 2009 Democratic Primary.

    “When I asked them if it’s against the law to associate with Hoyt, the female lawyer replied with the word, ‘Maybe,” Syaed alleges. “After that, for at least two to three hours, the questions centered on Hoyt and Kearns.”

    “We know you were involved in sending out those e-mails that said the Mayor is a homosexual and a crack addict, so why don’t you just admit that Hoyt put you up to it and we’ll let you go,” he alleges they asked him again and again. “Look, just admit that you were involved with Hoyt and Kearns and we won’t have to continue to bother your family. If you don’t admit it, you’re going to have a problem with the Buffalo Police. If we let you go, they are going to arrest you for computer fraud and aggravated harassment of the Mayor, so why don’t you just tell us what you did with Hoyt and Kearns…Why are you protecting them?”

    Syaed reports that the questioning went on in this vein for at least 2-3 hours as queries about Hoyt and Kearns were interspersed with threats and occasional attempts at psychoanalysis in an effort to get him to implicate the two mayoral opponents. It took place, not only at the downtown Buffalo AG’s Office but also at the Buffalo FBI headquarters. The detainee claims that he was driven to the second location by someone who identified himself as an FBI agent but wouldn’t reveal his name.

    “(The female officer) told me I would feel better if I told them what they wanted to hear,” he adds. “When I would ask if I was under arrest, they said no. When I would ask them if I could make a phone callto a family member, they would tell me that if I did, they’d arrest me, which was silly because I was already being kept there against my will. I would tell them that I wanted to talk to a lawyer and they wouldn’t let me, nor did they ever read me my Miranda rights”

    Finally, he reports that the officers tried to get him to implicate Hoyt and Kearns apparently whether it was true or not.

    “They would tell me, ‘Look, just say they did it and you can go home,” he alleges. “Just say it. That’s all you have to do and this will be all over. All you have to do is say they did it with you and you are free.”

    At one point, when he was at the FBI facility, the officers involved held a strategy session in another room.

    “I could hear them talking easily from where I was,” says Syaed. “One said to the others, ‘Look, this guy is a piece of shit. Just scare the hell out of him and he’ll implicate Hoyt and Kearns. We just have to scare him a little more.’…And, that’s exactly what they tried to do when they got back, but I kept telling me that what they were trying to get me to do is illegal and is worse than the crimes they were accusing me of. Actually, I hardly knew Sam Hoyt and Kearns. How could I implicate them in anything?”

    Coming tomorrow, The Syaed Ali Story, Part II…


  1. The Smell of Defamation In the Morning | Buffalo Pundit - February 18, 2009

    […] he was subsequently placed into custody and that his belongings have been confiscated. I’ve gone on record saying that, if what Ali said is true, it’s a grave […]

  2. Syaed Ali’s Claims are like an Iron Mountain | Buffalo Pundit - February 23, 2009

    […] was invented, and unfortunately, Mr. Ali embodies that caveat. Again – I have been nothing but supportive of him, if what happened to him actually happened as it’s been described in the media and his […]

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