Eddie Egriu: Ordinary Guy, Extraordinary Problems

10 Mar

Last week, walking, talking chain e-mail Kathy Weppner decided that she was throwing her hat in the ring to challenge Democratic incumbent Brian Higgins for the congressional seat in the 26th district. Weppner is a stereotypical low-information WBEN caller, and she somehow managed to parlay “Kathy from Williamsville” into an actual, paying radio gig. You should note that Weppner has gone back and scrubbed her webpage of the especially racist and vile things that used to be there. 

That’s ok. The Google cache and waybackmachine will help us to revisit the ideas that were convenient when she was a WBEN personality, but somehow inconvenient now. 

But from the left (ostensibly) we have another challenger – Emin “Eddie” Egriu. Egriu is set to announce that he is running in a Democratic primary against Higgins. Egriu is something of a perennial candidate – think “Kosovar Rus Thompson” – and used to pay Illuzzi and Gramigna off to get articles written about him. Both individuals are now deceased. 

Egriu is something of a character, but the problem is that he’s been lax about his duties as a citizen. Here’s what we know: 

1. The federal government filed liens against Egriu for unpaid taxes, most recently in November 2013 for $90,225.69. He evidently failed to pay his 2005 and 2006 income taxes. In 2009, a federal lien for almost $7,000 was filed, and in 2008 there was one for almost $8,000. 

2. New York filed warrants against him for failure to pay unemployment insurance premiums (under his bizarre dba, “Violation Enterprise”) in 2006 and 2007. He also failed to obtain necessary worker’s compensation insurance, and a judgment was filed against him for $3,000.

3. Egriu is late on his 2013 and 2014 Erie County property taxes. It’s not a lot – less than $200, but then again it’s not a lot – less than $200. 

4. In 1998, he lost two properties to foreclosure for unwillingness or inability to pay his bills. 

5. Since 1995, over $32,000 in civil judgments have been filed arising out of lawsuits against him. 

 Egriu says this in a press release this morning: 

He will make his announcement at the corner of Pulman Place and Shepard Street, near Broadway and Bailey avenues, in the heart of Higgins’ decaying district.

 It’s Pullman Place, and that part of town was decaying long before Mr. Higgins went to Washington. 

Eddie is a liberal anti-war populist challenging Higgins, a right-of-center neo-conservative, in the Democratic Primary.

  • Eddie supports universal single payer healthcare and will fight to eliminate the profit seeking industry that has been leeching the life out of our healthcare system. Higgins voted for Mitt Romney’s plan. 

Higgins voted for Obama’s plan. In 2012 Mitt Romney ran – and lost – opposing Obamacare. 

  • Eddie is anti-war. Higgins is a neo-con who sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Homeland Security Committee.

It’s easy to be anti-war when you’re, at best, a local housing activist. 

  • Eddie opposes the bank bailouts. Higgins voted for them. 

Yes, but is Higgins in favor of the needed Egriu bailout? 

  • Eddie supports the legalization of marijuana for adults. Higgins does not.


Mr. Egriu’s heart may be in the right place, but his track record reveals a fundamental inability to be taken seriously, and to pay the taxes and fees we all pay to maintain a civilized society. 

13 Responses to “Eddie Egriu: Ordinary Guy, Extraordinary Problems”

  1. Colin Eager March 10, 2014 at 9:12 am #

    “It’s easy to be anti-war when you’re, at best, a local housing activist.”

    I don’t know that it’s ever easy to be antiwar in a militaristic society, but in any event, the fact that Egriu never had his hands on the levers of power doesn’t invalidate his claim or excuse Higgins.

    Also, why is the legalization bit pandering? It’s a real issue.

    • Tom Beecher March 10, 2014 at 9:21 am #

      I would say his claims being inaccurate do more than enough to invalidate his claims.

    • Alan Bedenko March 10, 2014 at 9:43 am #

      Because it’s not going to be legalized for recreational use at the federal level any time soon. We can’t even move the discussion in New York State past medical marijuana.

      • Colin Eager March 10, 2014 at 10:01 am #

        Well, one of the surest ways to change that is to get pro-legalization candidates elected, and to make it an important political issue more generally. Trying to make that happen isn’t pandering.

      • Alan Bedenko March 10, 2014 at 10:16 am #

        Well, I’m dumbstruck by Egriu’s long laundry list of activism and accomplishments towards that goal.

      • AdamaDBrown March 10, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

        Not going to change. Seriously. If you think that’s getting 60 votes in the Senate any time in the near future, I have several bridges to sell you.

      • ckg1 March 10, 2014 at 11:31 am #

        Not to mention it isn’t being advocated for at the federal level, either…

  2. Marc Rebmann March 10, 2014 at 9:33 am #

    Well done on your hit piece Mr. Bedenko, you’ve done the party proud 🙂

  3. The Buffalo Ruse March 10, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

    Decent piece. But what about the Higgins machine challenging incumbent Chris Collins?


  4. robrobrobislike March 11, 2014 at 11:48 am #

    Higgins isn’t even your Congressman, why do you care so much about this non-contender to publish a bunch of opposition research on the guy?

  5. Michael Rebmann March 11, 2014 at 6:21 pm #

    I’ll vote for Egriu, and his human failings, any day over Higgins. The oligarchial Higgins doomed us to another 50 years of the monopolistic Power Authority and its high electric rates.

  6. Prava1 March 12, 2014 at 10:37 am #

    Thanks for letting us know, Allan. Did Chuck Eaton give you any more dirt to leak? Did he tell you what Bri promised to the Gioias et al at the fundraiser?

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