Dirty Politics In A New Media World

5 Feb

By now, most people in WNY have heard something about the plight of Syaed Ali.  Ali has been accused of sending emails and instant message transcripts to media outlets which claimed various indignities and shenanigans conducted by members of Byron Brown’s administration.

These emails surfaced shortly after a shadowy political organization alleged as loosely affiliated with Steve Pigeon and Responsible New York called Mothers and Fathers Demanding Answers launched a scandalous and anonymous campaign targeting one of Pigeon’s longtime adversaries, State Assemblyman Sam Hoyt.  At the time, it seemed as if the internecine squabbling between various forces in the Democratic Party had reached an all-time fever pitch.  After Joe Illuzzi published private emails between Assemblyman Hoyt and an Albany associate, all hell broke loose on the media front.  No one was sure as to the veracity of WNY First’s claims, nor did anyone know who sent the messages.

At WNYMedia, we were copied on the press releases from WNYFirst and were privy to the desperately salivating responses from local media outlets who wanted to run the story.  At the time, we decided not to touch the issue with a ten foot pole.

Now, with the allegations against Ali making the rounds of local alternative weekly Artvoice as well as the pages of the venerable Buffalo News, we decided to publish the emails in question (with all names redacted) so the public could see what was alleged and how the story developed.

From: WNY First [mailto:wnyfirst@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2008 5:41 PM
To: wnyfirst@gmail.com
Subject: Breaking News: (Name Redacted) Caught Pants Down with Male Journalist

WNY First
Press Release
Sunday, August 17, 2008

For Immediate Release

Contact:wnyfirst@gmail.com

(Name Redacted) Caught Pants Down with Male Journalist

Buffalo, NY – A top official in Buffalo’s Mayoral Administration has confidentially and anonymously disclosed a series of emails, and text messages, between (name redacted) and a local journalist. These email and text messages suggest a romantic relationship between (name redacted) and a male journalist. The administration official alleges that (name redacted) often utilizes his city car and driver to visit his companion’s home, and forces (names redacted) to guard the front door.

“(name redacted) romantic partners are irrelevant but when (name redacted) makes city employees guard the door, and uses transportation at the taxpayers expense for personal reasons it should become a public matter,” says the top aide.

The official has asked to remain anonymous for safety and employment reasons of the individual, and the official’s family.

This initial email was responded to by Nancy Sanders, News Operations Manager at WIVB, which was sent out to all the initial recipients by WNYFirst:

On Mon, Aug 18, 2008 at 11:44 AM, Nancy Sanders wrote:

Dear WNY First….

What do you really have on this? Text messages were seen, subpoenaed? If your contact has time/date of messages maybe we can FOI.

Nancy Sanders
News Operations Manager
WIVB TV

and the response from WNYFirst:

—–Original Message—–
From: WNY First [mailto:wnyfirst@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, August 18, 2008 12:31 PM
To: Nancy Sanders
Subject: Re: Breaking News: (Name Redacted) Caught Pants Down with Male Journalist

Our contact does indeed have exact times and dates, and has seen the text messages.

Later that same day, WKBW hopped into the fray with a request for more information:

On Mon, Aug 18, 2008 at 4:47 PM, Joe Maxfield (email address redacted) wrote:

Dear WNYFirst.
My name’s Joe Maxfield.  I’m the Executive Producer for 7 News.  We’re very interested in looking into this story, but need more information.  What kind of evidence do you have?  When were these emails and text messages sent and how does this anonymous source say he or she knows about them?  Please let us know anything else that may help us pursue this story.  Obviously, we won’t report on any substanciated rumors, but if we have solid evidence of any impropriety we will certainly investigate aggressively.

Thanks for your help.

Joe Maxfield
Executive Producer, WKBW 7News
phone: (redacted)
cell: (redacted)
email: (redacted)

and the response from WNYFirst:

—–Original Message—–
From: WNY First [mailto:wnyfirst@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, August 18, 2008 7:12 PM
To: Joe Maxfield
Subject: Re: (Name Redacted) Story

Well our contact is a top official and has access to (name redacted) schedule 24/7.

The (name redacted) confides in that individual numerous personal details, and that individual is privy to the (name redacted) text messages, emails, and other communications.

Furthermore (name redacted) has asked our contact to accompany him to visits to his companion and guard the front door

All of (name redacted) text messages can be converted into email format and is most of the time.  The emails/text messages confirm meetings/dates and other details of the relationship with the companion. These email and text messages span about 22-23 months.

Our contact was a little hesitant to disclose, but hinted that (name redacted) could be giving the companion compensation for meetings and encounters.

The companion has visited City Hall before, and an employee walked in because (name redacted) had another appointment, and learned some interesting facts. (name redacted) threatened to make the employee “Scajaquada jack’s friend” if details were to be revealed.

The fact that the emailer would “reply to all” whenever a media outlet started hunting added to the hilarity of it all.

As quickly as this rumor popped up, it went away even faster.  We heard nothing else for nearly two weeks.  It was whispered about by media members at press conferences and there were rumors that a local television station had assigned a tail to members of the Brown Administration trying to dig up more dirt.  We thought the whole thing died down, but the story really took off as the primaries drew closer.

From: “WNY First” <wnyfirst@gmail.com>
Date: August 29, 2008 11:31:03 AM EDT
To: wnyfirst@gmail.com
Subject: (Name Redacted) The Next (Name Redacted)?

WNY First
Press Release
Friday, August 29, 2008
For Immediate Release
Contact:wnyfirst@gmail.com

(Name Redacted) Caught Pants Down with Male Journalist

Buffalo, NY – A top official in Buffalo’s Mayoral Administration has confidentially and anonymously disclosed a series of emails, and text messages, between (name redacted) and a local journalist. These email and text messages suggest a romantic relationship between (name redacted) and a male journalist.  The administration official alleges that (name redacted) often utilizes his city car and driver to visit his companion’s home, and forces his top aides to guard the front door.

“(Name Redacted) romantic partners are irrelevant but when (name redacted) makes city employees guard the door, and uses transportation at the taxpayers expense for personal reasons it should become a public matter,” says the top aide.

The official has asked to remain anonymous for safety and employment reasons of the individual, and the official’s family. Two IM message communications have been placed at the bottom of this release

Here are those Instant Message Conversations in all of their poor grammar glory:

Chat with (name redacted)
1 message
Tue, Jul 22, 2008 at 9:27 AM
To: nameredacted@gmail.com

9:28 AM (admin official name redacted) You wannna play later today?
9:28 AM (journalist name redacted) is your wife gonna participate this time?
9:28 AM (journalist name redacted) Just not feel comfortable in threesomes
9:29 AM (journalist name redacted) Could it be just the two of us?
9:30 AM (journalist name redacted) She can watch if she likes
9:31 AM (journalist name redacted) you know what I mean?
9:31 AM (admin official name redacted) sure, don’t you want like dick and cunt at the same time?
9:33 AM (journalist name redacted) not really like them separately
9:43 AM (admin official name redacted) bring your wife too we can have four way
9:45 AM (journalist name redacted) You out of your fucking mind, my wife does know about all this stuff
9:45AM (admin official name redacted) so what than tell her
9:46 AM (journalist name redacted) no, not really never you asshole
9:47 AM (admin official name redacted) you like my asshole?
9:52 AM (journalist name redacted) well it is nice and tight
9:53 AM (journalist name redacted ) more tighter than my wife’s pussy
9:53 AM (admin official name redacted) ok, how about a nice steamy sandwich fuck
9:53 AM (journalist name redacted) sandwich fuck? What the hell is that?
9:53 AM (admin official name redacted) I fuck my wife’s cunt, and you fuck my ass
9:55 AM (journalist name redacted) not sure its kind of weird
10:00 AM (admin official name redacted) come on please we can change roles, you fuck cunt while I fuck your ass
10:20 AM (journalist name redacted) ok only if your not going to video tape it this time
10:48 AM (admin official name redacted) that should give us the juice, I can pick you up later today were you going to be today?
10:49 AM (journalist name redacted) in Amherst
10:53 AM (admin official name redacted) Blvd mall parking usual place work for you?
10:54 AM (journalist name redacted) yeah
11:28 AM (admin official name redacted) can you do me a favor and buy condoms and birth control pills
11:29 AM (journalist name redacted) yea
11:56 AM (admin official name redacted) pick you late tonight at blvd mall
12:08 PM (journalist name redacted) I will get horny for you guys
12:45 PM (admin official name redacted) I will call you later and pick you up late tonight
1:28 PM (journalist name redacted) see you than big boy
1:34 PM (admin official name redacted) ok talk to you than

Chat with (Name Redacted)
1 message
nameredacted@gmail.com

Wed, Jun 18, 2008
To: nameredacted@gmail.com

9:35 AM (admin official name redacted) Can we meet today for a release?
9:35 AM (journalist name redacted) Why
9:36 AM (admin official name redacted) I just need you suck me off
9:37 AM (admin official name redacted) some new develppment is supposed go up their
9:37 AM (journalist name redacted): I was just curious, before not really into fag encounters anymore
10:29 AM (admin official name redacted) wives do not have to know
10:33 AM (admin official name redacted) have good time get best information and greenbacksd
10:37 AM (admin official name redacted) What you say
10:42 AM (journalist name redacted) Not sure
10:47 AM (admin official name redacted) man you enjoyed it for two years what happened now?
10:55 AM (journalist name redacted) yes, but I am not a faggiot and have a wife,
11:12 AM (admin official name redacted) so what I have one too
11:12 AM (journalist name redacted) yeah but people know who you are dumb ass,if people find out we are both just shit
11:12 AM (admin official name redacted)  Greenbacks your career no will ever know
11:14 AM (journalist name redacted) ok I will stop by your place
11:15 AM (admin official name redacted) There is my stud, hey wife and kids are gone for the night wanna go all the way for the entire night?
11:16 AM (journalist name redacted) Yeah but my wife will wonder were I am
12:19 PM (admin official name redacted) Just tell her that you have to overtime on big case
12:48 PM (journalist name redacted) Ok see you late tonight
12:51 PM (admin official name redacted) I will call you in a few minutes on your celle people around
12:52 PM (journalist name redacted): anything particular you want me to wear tonight?
12:53 PM (admin official name redacted) Will let you know on phone have to run to meeting hugs and kisses
12:54 PM (journalist name redacted): ok bye

After the instant message “transcripts” were released, things went quiet for a week or so.  Until WNYFirst upped the ante with their purported videotapes of gay sex between an administration official and a local journalist.

From: “WNY First” <wnyfirst@gmail.com>
Date: September 5, 2008 1:07:41 PM EDT
To: wnyfirst@gmail.com
Subject: Press Release: (Name Redacted) Sex Acts with Male Journalist Caught on Video Tape

WNYFIRST

Press Release
Friday, September 5, 2008
For Immediate Release
Contact: wnyfirst@gmail.com

(Name Redacted) Caught on Tape Engaging in Encounters with Male Journalist

Buffalo, NY- A top official in Buffalo’s Mayoral Administration has previously confidentially and anonymously disclosed a series of emails, and text messages.  Now video tapes of sex acts between (name redacted) and a local journalist on public time have been disclosed, and will be made available for public viewing on YouTube.  The administration official alleges that (name redacted) has a library of such videos of encounters with him and his companion, and some with his wife partaking in activities.

“(Name Redacted) should resign and protect the reputation of the City of Buffalo, before these videos are released”, says the top aide.

The official has asked to remain anonymous for safety and employment reasons of the individual, and the official’s family.  The individual has indicated that the videos will be released one by one online, and those members of the public and press interested can receive copies beforehand.

Again, our old friend Joe Maxfield from WKBW popped up…

On Fri, Sep 5, 2008 at 1:17 PM, Joe Maxfield <jmaxfield@wkbw.com> wrote:

Can you send us a link to this video on youtube or wherever else we can access it?

WNY First responded to all on the initial distribution with the following:

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: WNY First <wnyfirst@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Sep 5, 2008 at 1:44 PM
Subject: Re: Press Release: (Name Redacted) Sex Acts with Male Journalist Caught on Video Tape
To: wnyfirst@gmail.com

The videos will be released in the next few days, and the information required to view it will be electronically distributed.

To date, we are still waiting for the release of these videos to YouTube.  I think we’ll be waiting forever.

At times, reading these, it almost seemed like bait – would City Hall’s opponents post this stuff? Would it end up on a site like ours or Gramigna’s?  While the mainstream media’s eagerness to get to the underlying facts was amusing, the text of these emails was so outlandish as to be patently false.  They were passed around more as an exercise in, “can you believe someone might actually believe this” than “wow, what a huge story this is.”

The content of these emails is so outrageous that no one in their right mind would have believed their accuracy.  They were so libelous as to be self-parodies.  We don’t know how it is that Ali allegedly got himself caught up in this mess, or whether he sent these emails.  We can tell you that this is the material that so pissed off Buffalo City Hall and Mayor Byron Brown that they allegedly took Ali and treated him in a way more appropriate for a third world banana republic than the second-largest city in the state of New York.

Two things:

1. What City Hall and law enforcement are alleged to have done to Ali is wrong and actionable.
2. Whoever wrote these emails is, at worst, liable for defamation. I can’t imagine what crime has allegedly been committed.

As with promises of Nigerian riches, don’t believe everything you get in your inbox.

4 Responses to “Dirty Politics In A New Media World”

  1. Dick Kern at 4:41 pm #

    Chris:

    Thank you for finally making more public the apparent “basis” & reasoning behind the Mayor’s massive attack on Syaed Ali & his family.

    You have been kind in removing names from the incredible emails, but as you have observed, there is scant evidence that a crime has been committed, let alone that the Mayor or his family’s “safety” has been threatened.

    It is likley just another chapter in the disgusting culture that underlies too much of Bflo politics. The Mayor can hardly claim that he has been ‘pure’ in this morass, as his unethical use of the Police Commissioner to help him attempt to cover-up his son’s late-night demolition derby so dramatically illustrates.

  2. Jon Splett at 11:27 pm #

    So basically, the Buffalo media got trolled and that apparently warranted the use of police force.

    Unreal.

    This city is a joke sometimes.

  3. Sean C. at 2:33 pm #

    I wonder if the journalist was Don Paul

  4. mark at 11:20 am #

    that was the most ridiculously fake AIM conversation in the history of mankind. kthxbai.

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