Tag Archives: Joe Illuzzi

The llluzzi Legacy

26 Sep

Let’s operate under the assumption that there is/are no god(s); that there is no heaven or hell, and that when you die you no longer exist. You are nothingness. There is no life everlasting where you get to see all your loved ones and hang out with all your heroes. These are all fairy tales that people made up to make death less scary, and with the advent of “hell”, we scare you straight. Then again, for a lot of people, you can apparently be a horrible miscreant 6 days a week so long as you go to services and confess or ask forgiveness on the 7th. 

So, while operating that assumption you have the choice of being a good person, or a bad person. You have numerous chances each day to do the right or wrong thing. If you have faith, you figure doing the right thing will make your god happy, and you can ease your slide into heaven. But when you don’t have faith, being nice or good is something you undertake for its own sake; something you do simply because you choose it. Your only life everlasting is your memory and legacy – how you leave this world, and how you’re remembered. Joe Illuzzi, who died yesterday, was a very pious man. 

About a year ago, it was revealed that Joe Illuzzi filed for bankruptcy. At the time, we were still writing for another website, and both Chris and I mocked him for being a deadbeat. He was incensed and, as usual, threatened to “reveal” some utter fabrication about me in an effort to shut me up. So I called him – it was Election Day. I told him to do his worst and print whatever he wants. But as we got to talking, he explained to me that he was hooked up to oxygen and was close to death. He told me that he was declaring bankruptcy because it was his last chance to not saddle his young daughter with his estate’s growing debt. I thought that was a rare show of humanity from someone I hold in low regard. Clearly, I have no problem with his daughter and thought that, in this case, he was doing a noble deed. I removed my posts and Tweets out of respect for that. 

But make no mistake – as far as the political scene in western New York is concerned, Joe Illuzzi left a sordid, hateful, and sad legacy. I received numerous emails from elected officials and hopefuls who unloaded years’ worth of frustration. If you’re not already aware, what Illuzzi ran was a shakedown operation. I can’t tell you how many elected officials appreciated the things we wrote about him over the years – exposing his operation, and how little his site was actually read – because they were sick of being bullied by him. You can go to Glenn Gramigna’s site right now and see that the Illuzzi business model remains alive and well, although Gramigna is less of a bully and more of a nebbish. 

Here’s how it works, in a nutshell: the politician buys an ad on the site. The website owner publishes the ad and agrees to publish all of your campaign’s press releases. Except in extraordinary circumstances, the website owner will take the advertiser’s side in any dispute with a non-advertiser. In the rare instance where both candidates advertise, Illuzzi would take the side of the more conservative advertiser, the one with bigger pockets, or the one who is aligned with either Steve Pigeon, Ralph Lorigo’s Conservative Party, or with the Erie County GOP. 

Imagine that – in just 7 months, Mike Hudson leaves Niagara Falls for L.A., and Joe Illuzzi is gone. Which website will Steve Pigeon now use to get his message out? Will someone take over Illuzzi’s site? Will it be the Niagara Falls Reporter? Where will we now find supposedly earnest paeans to alleged Albany cults

Without electoral fusion, and the transactional interference by minor parties in our political system, there would have been no Illuzzi website. Under the Orsini regime, you could only be assured of the IP line if you advertised with Illuzzi. No exceptions. Likewise, I’m aware of it being a condition precedent for candidates to buy an ad after securing a nomination from various parties at various times. A racket. 

We were never able to convince a politician to record a conversation with Illuzzi to reveal the way he operates. Although New York has a one-party consent rule for recording phone calls, the political fallout was something no one wanted to risk. What Illuzzi did was commit extortion on a daily, casual basis. If you didn’t pay him, he’d threaten you, he’d print horrible rumors about you, he’d make up lies about you, he’d threaten to destroy you. It was truly a protection racket, and he was doing other people’s dirty work. 

Because one thing about Joe Illuzzi is that he was always influential when it came to the horrible, transactional Independence “Party”. Back when the local racket was run by Springville barber Tony Orsini, Illuzzi would print whatever Orsini told him to write, and swaying the IP nomination was one way Steve Pigeon held onto his political influence after he was replaced as Democratic committee chairman. So it should come as no surprise that Illuzzi loved the legislative coup of 2010, he loved Golisano’s short-lived “Responsible New York”, which was so “responsible” it brought now-convicted-felon Pedro Espada to a position of great influence in the state Senate. 

Illuzzi also hated Joel Giambra and was his biggest critic during the budget crisis of the last decade. (But – because of his backing by Pigeon – published all sorts of puffery about budget crisis bad actor Chuck Swanick just this year). Giambra is now an influential Republican consultant/operative who is very close to State Senator Mark Grisanti. 

Speaking of Grisanti, Illuzzi also hated gay people. Last year, Grisanti’s vote for same sex marriage came very close in time to the death of Williamsville North freshman Jamey Rodemeyer. Illuzzi was a pious attendee of a local megachurch and was consistently, devastatingly homophobic. He wrote and said utterly horrible things about people who are homosexual, and about the homosexual community  in general. When same-sex marriage was passed, he wrote terrible things. When Jamey Rodemeyer took his own life after being bullied for being different, Illuzzi sided with the bullies. It was one of the rare instances where Illuzzi found himself with public rebukes from people who demanded he take their ads down. He always refused, and the checks had already cleared, but he was unrepentant and swung back at his critics like a cornered animal. 

It seems there’s some idiot tradition – completely unencumbered by facts or history – where people are expected automatically to be respectful of the dead, no matter what. I don’t understand that tradition. Just because someone stops breathing and descends into a box in the ground doesn’t mean we need to ignore the very real fact that the person led a life significantly pockmarked with crime, neglect, and hatred. Those are choices that person made, and we shouldn’t simply ignore them because he suddenly finds himself without any vital signs.

I wish Joe’s family well, and hope they find comfort in their grief.  

Joe Illuzzi: Deadbeat Tax Evader

8 Nov
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Joe Illuzzi when he had more than $13 in the bank

Remember that guy Joe Illuzzi?  He’s got a sordid past filled with robbing banks, being a deadbeat, bankruptcies, and generally being a massive part of the WNY political problem.

Turns out, he hasn’t stopped his deadbeat ways. Just within the last week, Illuzzi has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection for almost $233,000 in debts against $19,000 in assets. He claims to be earning just $1,600 per month, and has tax liens from the feds and state of over $66,000 – a tax debt means there was income earned to incu

Lots of his debts seem health care related, so one could assume Mr. Illuzzi would begin to advocate for a different type of healthcare system, instead of saddling local medical and nursing providers with zero cents on the dollar.

You can read Illuzzi’s bankruptcy filing here.

Highlights of his filing include the revelation that Illuzzi has $13 in his checking account, and $950 cash on hand. That’s WNY F-You money! He owes $18k on a 2008 Buick that’s worth $13k.  There are federal tax liens for 2006, 2009, 2010, and 2011, and a 2009 state tax warrant.

Deadbeat.

He owes the Bon Ton $26,000+ from a 1996 judgment against him, we’ll cover the sordid details of that judgment in a future article. The Buffalo News judgment from 2001 is for $2,300. He maxed out his Capital One credit card to the tune of $25,000. He owes E-Trade $15,000. He even owes his dentist $90.

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As much as Illuzzi has become some kind of Republican mouthpiece and a hateful holy roller, this is his second bankruptcy in 25 years, and it seems as if he has a hard time accepting and paying the debts he incurs. That local politicians continue to want to be associated with this homophobic spewer of hatred and rumors is astonishing.

Yes, it was absolutely worth coming out of blogging “retirement” to publish this article. Yes, there will be more details tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that. Also, I’ll be at the courthouse to cover Mr. Illuzzi’s bankruptcy hearing on December 12th.

A few background posts on Mr. Illuzzi:

Joe Illuzzi, Shakedown Artist

Illuzzi, Lying As Usual

 

 

The Morning Grumpy – July 26th

26 Jul

I have a voracious appetite for internet memes, video, podcasts, news and analysis, so each morning I’ll share several links that you can consume during your “morning grumpy”.

I’ll keep it short today, just two items, but I’ll be back tomorrow with your regular dose of 8-10 stories.

1. Joe Illuzzi, my favorite convicted felon, alleged blackmailer, and “journalist” decided to respond to our in-depth coverage of marriage equality with the following post on his website:

Now, I certainly won’t defend myself against an accusation that I’m gay. Why? Because I don’t feel the word “gay” is a pejorative. I will, however, defend the fact that we have written over 50 stories, posted several videos and taken to the public airwaves to advance the marriage equality agenda while small-minded religious assholes like Joe fought to deny people their human rights.

The marriage equality movement and the vote for its passage into law was one of the most important social justice and civil rights issues of our time. I am proud of every word we’ve written, every frame we’ve shot, and every syllable we’ve uttered in support of it and we will continue to fight against religious bigots like Inmate Illuzzi.

Politicians who advertise with this horrible excuse for a man should be ashamed of themselves and do not deserve your support until they re-evaluate their subsidy of his hate, bigotry, corruption, and terrible web design skills.

Pro Tip for Joe: Get a spellcheck program you ignorant fucking moron.

2. I’ll skip posting any analysis of last night’s showdown at debt ceiling corral between our weak-kneed President and the lunatic fringe of American politics and instead leave you with this. The closing editorial by Bill Moyers during the last episode of his PBS show, Bill Moyers Journal.

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Moyers is a hero of mine and his words provide the proper perspective on everything that is happening right now on our national political stage. Please share this video in as many places as you can.

Illuzzi, Lying As Usual

16 May

Last week was a pretty eventful one in NY-26.  As usual, WNYMedia was right in the middle of it with Alan Bedenko, Chris Charvella, Marc Odien and Tom Dolina raking the muck as quickly as it came in.  The result?  A pretty terrible week for the Republibot5000 Candidate, Jane Corwin.

So, what happens when we take a local Republican to task for either a penchant for tranny buggery, a predilection for horse pornography, employment of campaign staffers who moonlight as prostitutes, affiliate with pederasts or provoking a doddering old man into a sissy slapfight?  Joe “The Felon” Illuzzi shows up on his circa 1995 website to insult us and cast aspersions on the quality of our fine, upstanding media organization.

Normally, Joe calls me a liberal scumbag, refers to Marc as a pot smoking hippie and leaves Alan out of it.  Pretty standard fare, really.  However, once in a while, he “writes” something that is patently false and should be countered.

“Sources” tell us that Illuzzi has “allegedly” eked out a living (between bank robberies and long cons of local retailers) with his horror show of a website through intimidation.  “Allegedly” extorting local politicos for advertising money by “allegedly” threatening to “allegedly” print false and damaging information about them for the pleasure of Joe’s “alleged” 31 readers.  Most local electeds in WNY cut him an annual check for $500 or a $1000 just to keep him off their backs and to curry favor with Joe’s alleged friend, Tony Orsini.

So, yesterday, when he posted the following in an effort to burnish his support for Jane Corwin, ambivalence for Kathy Hochul and disdain for Jack Davis, I had to chuckle.

Why did I chuckle?  Because at the very top of his own god damned webpage is the following:

Yes, those would be advertisements for Jane Corwin and Kathy Hochul.  Furthermore, a quick look on the New York State Board of Elections Campaign Finance Disclosure pages reveals the following:

 

Yes, those are disbursements to Joe Illuzzi from the Jane Corwin Assembly Campaign Committee and Friends of Kathy Hochul (for County Clerk).  I would post the link to Corwin’s or Hochul’s payments from their Congressional Campaigns, but the FEC does not require candidates to itemize disbursements for media buying.  Corwin has paid nearly $1MM to Tom Reynolds’ favorite Washington D.C. media company (Greener & Hook) and a source close to Corwin confirmed a payment to Illuzzi for the advertisement on his “website”.  The same is true for Ms. Hochul who is using an out-of-town media buying firm and I have no idea if she spent any money with Illuzzi this time.  No one would confirm shit, even if I asked.  And I don’t really care, so I didn’t ask.

Yes, we accept political advertisements from politicians, unions, special interest groups and issue campaigns.  They buy space here because they like the demographics of our audience.  They want YOU (24-40, professional, white collar, politically active, socially conscious and mildly wealthy) to see their message and they don’t give much of a shit about what we write on the website.  In turn, we curry no favor to our advertisers.  It’s in their contract.

What was the point of all of this?  Not much, really.  I simply saw an opportunity to point out what a liar Joe Illuzzi was and I took 10 minutes to write it up.  I hope you enjoyed it!

Also, it would be nice if local politicos would stop giving money to Iluzzi and instead gave the money to charity or bought an extra ad in the Am-Pol Eagle or the Bee Group or something.

Stop paying crooked dummies to be crooked.

Joe Illuzzi, Shakedown Artist

23 Jun

I was notified by email today that Joe Illuzzi (a barely literate local shakedown artist, deadbeat dad, felon, Steve Pigeon sycophant, and serial scam artist) appears to have taken umbrage with my article about the comment policy on WNYMedia.  You could go to his abortion of a website to read it, but you’ll just feel dumber for having done so.

I’ve written about Joe and his former sidekick (nebbish Scientologist creeper Glenn Gramigna) before.  They are the toe fungus and swamp ass of the local political scene, respectively;  loathsome individuals who scratch out a living on their poorly designed, horribly written websites by bullying local politicians into advertising contracts.  The shakedown Joe operates goes something like this – politicians dole out thousands to Illuzzi for the benefit of an aforementioned ad on his website, but, in reality, it’s a protection racket. Pay the man and you don’t see you name dragged through the muck in one of his “exclusives.” Woe be the politician who refuses to play Illuzzi’s game, or becomes the target of one of his benefactors – ask Sam Hoyt.  Nice business model.  Gramigna does the same sort of thing, but he has a less loathsome past and doesn’t directly threaten the potential “advertiser”.

I was going to respond directly to Joe’s ramblings about the media and our place in it, but honestly, who cares?  I’d rather take this opportunity to re-post all the horrible things I’ve found out about him in recent months after researching public records for the PolitiFAIL tournament.  Mind you, this is only about 25% of it.  He’s an overly bronzed, felonious parasite on the ballsack of Western New York and I look forward to the day of his retirement.

On with the show…

There is a famous courtroom scene in the TV show “The Wire” in which Omar Little explains to an attorney how he makes his living robbing drug dealers and noted that there is little difference between himself and the attorney.

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Joe Illuzzi is Buffalo’s Omar Little.  He has staked out a lawless territory of shaking down politicians for money in exchange for a promise that he will not publicize their actual, alleged or completely imagined (by Illuzzi) indiscretions.  Not only do Illuzzi’s business ethics mirror those of Mr. Little, they both have prodigious criminal records in their past.

Court records indicate that Mr. Illuzzi has robbed a bank, failed to pay child support, and has accumulated nearly $100,000 in tax liens and judgments for not paying his taxes on time, allegedly kiting checks, and other various and sundry business scams. I have a pretty thick manila folder containing all the documentation and it is impressive.  Essentially, Mr. Illuzzi has created an entire career “exposing” or (allegedly) threatening to extort those who have done less sinister things than he…all if they won’t buy an ad on his website.

And this weasel has become the unofficial organ of the local Independence Party, and to a lesser degree the local Republican Party. That means Illuzzi will print whatever Chris Collins and Steve Pigeon tell him to print. Oh, and don’t lets forget Roger Stone – the worst of the political worst in New York State. Locally, Pigeon is weaseling his way into becoming the Wizard of the ECDC Oz (using someone else as a placeholder, of course), and it should be noted that part of Pigeon’s strategy to gain and wield his power involves feeding slanted information to washed-up has-beens like Joe Illuzzi and the editor of a WNY-based free weekly.

Illuzzi and Pigeon are a symptom of a larger evil, which is electoral fusion. Pigeon’s de facto control over the local IP endorsements, coupled with Illuzzi‘s “whatever Steve tells me” beat ensure that candidates who are not backed by that machine are ridiculed, ignored, or dragged through the mud. Before Pigeon, Illuzzi and former ECIP chair Tony Orsini reportedly went as far as to tell prospective political candidates that buying an ad on Illuzzi‘s site was a surefire way to get the IP line. Quid pro fail.

But the astonishing thing about Illuzzi’s site is that nobody reads it. Anyone who is not intimately involved in the WNY political process in some way has no idea who the hell this person is. It’s a website for insiders, mostly existing so that candidates can show off their best haircuts in their ads. And all of those people know exactly what Illuzzi is, but they continue to pay him off because some of them are so ignorant that they think an ad with Illuzzi isn’t just protection money, but a way to prove that they’re legitimate.

Illuzzi manufactures a culture of fear, arrogance and selfishness in our politics that is at the very root of why we fail to progress as a region.  He is a sexually transmitted canker on the lip of this city and county, an enabler of the politics of personal destruction and a provocateur of political dysfunction.  He is the used condom on the floor of the no-tell motel that is WNY politics.  But, as Omar Little likes to say…

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PolitiFAIL Tourney Results, Sweet Sixteen

30 Mar

We have now reached the Epic Elite Eight of FAIL.  It was a fun round with some of the best matchup previews to date.  A reminder, the winner of the WNY PolitiFAIL Tournament will be announced at a press conference in front of the Rusted Hulk of Invisible Casino FAIL on Fulton Street in Downtown Buffalo at 5PM on April Fool’s Day.  I hope you’ll be able to join us, we’ll be streaming it live on the site and we’ll invite the winner to receive our FAIL Trophy.

Let’s revisit the day in FAIL.

Joe Illuzzi vs. Andrew Rudnick

This contest was much closer than originally predicted.  In the matchup thread, Illuzzi was compared to both Omar Little and a used condom.  I employed every tactic and insult I had in my quiver to establish a resume of FAIL that would get Mr. Illuzzi past the Bow-Tied Boss of Business Bologna, Andrew Rudnick and into the Elite Eight.  However, the voters rewarded Rudnick’s  seeming lack of accomplishments, high salary and inability to attract women with his feral scent of failure by sending him forward in this tournament with a victory of 204-182.

Byron Brown vs. Mickey Kearns

A rematch of Mayorpaloozer 2009 with Brown once again besting Kearns in a rout.  I thought this contest might be closer than the shellacking Kearns received at the polls last November, but it is pretty clear that the Mayor has no friends among the readership of WNYMedia.  We had expected that a last minute blast of campaign cash from Carl Paladino to help get Mickey over the hump, but he failed to organize his campaign and fell flat on his face, again.  When asked for comment on his victory, the Mayor said, “Ummm, ahhh, ummm, victory in this contest, ummm, ahh”

Dale Volker vs. George Maziarz

This was a clash of FAIL heavyweights.  Two of the most senior members of the FAIL delegation facing off in an epic battle of weak prostates and frivolous mailers to voters.  In the end, Volker’s resume of FAIL, lack of distinguished legislative record, general arrogance and general dickishness carried the day by a margin of 262-198.  Volker can credit his victory to Pundit’s epic matchup preview, which will serve as his magnum opus to local political failure.  Maziarz was last seen hightailing it back to Albany where he can be found spooning up with downstate interests, union insiders and other toxic assets.

The WNY Voter vs. Steve Pigeon

This was a showdown between the citizenry of WNY, who each year shuffle to the polls like labotomized minions of the monied insider club of local politics and the king of inside political baseball, Steve Pigeon.  The WNY voters shook off their thorazine induced shuffle to yank Pigeon from his closet and spank him in the light of day.  The voters rout Mr. Pigeon to move on to the next round after winning by  margin of 296-178.

Antoine Thompson vs. Bill Stachowski

Antoine routed in this one, primarily because most people in the area don’t know who the fuck Bill Stachowski is.  Thompson’s ratio of FAIL/Tenure seems to have struck a chord with the voting audience, 281-167.

Tim Howard vs. Lynn Marinelli

I’m getting tired…Rosco P. Coltrane took it to the high priestess of parliamentary procedures, 271-114.

Chris Collins vs. Barbara Miller-Williams

This wasn’t even close.  It was rumored that BMW tried to buy off voters with the proceeds from her three pensions, but Collins’ Six Sigma’d his way to victory, 311-98.

Steve Casey vs. Bonnie Russell

Casey in a cakewalk over a common councilwoman who few know of and less care about.  She snuck through the early rounds due to weak matchups and once faced with a quality opponent, shrunk faster than Casey’s manhood in a cold pool.  Casey wins 161-72.

Our elite eight matchups are as follows:

City Bracket:

Byron Brown vs. Steve Casey or as others are referring to it, Willie Tyler versus Lester.

State Bracket:

Dale Volker vs. Antoine Thompson

County Bracket:

Chris “Boss Hogg” Collins vs. Tim “Rosco P. Coltrane” Howard

Other Bracket:

The WNY Voter vs. Andrew Rudnick

Matchup previews will be published through the course of the day, stay tuned and keep voting!

Illuzzi vs. Rudnick, PolitiFAIL 2010 Sweet Sixteen

29 Mar

There is a famous courtroom scene in the TV show “The Wire” in which Omar Little explains to an attorney how he makes his living robbing drug dealers and noted that there is little difference between himself and the attorney.

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Joe Illuzzi is Buffalo’s Omar Little.  He has staked out a lawless territory of shaking down politicians for money in exchange for a promise that he will not publicize their actual, alleged or completely imagined (by Illuzzi) indiscretions.  Not only do Illuzzi’s business ethics mirror those of Mr. Little, they both have prodigious criminal records in their past.

Court records indicate that Mr. Illuzzi has attempted to rob a bank, failed to pay child support and has accumulated nearly $100,000 in tax liens and judgments for not paying his taxes on time, kiting checks and other various and sundry business scams. I have a pretty thick manila folder which contains all the documentation and it is impressive.  Essentially, Mr. Illuzzi has created an entire career “exposing” or (allegedly) threatening to extort those who have done less sinister things than he…all if they won’t buy an ad on his website.  Illuzzi manufactures a culture of fear, arrogance and selfishness in our politics that is at the very root of why we fail to progress as a region.  He is a sexually transmitted canker on the lip of this city and county, an enabler of the politics of personal destruction and a provocateur of political dysfunction.  He is the used condom on the floor of the no-tell motel that is WNY politics.  But, as Omar Little likes to say…

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Andrew Rudnick is the Smithers to Robert Wilmer’s Mr. Burns.  A feckless bow-tied sycophant who collects failure the way Smitthers collects Malibu Stacy dolls.

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Rudnick is the carnival barker in charge of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, and nominal leader of the business community.  Rudnick routinely claims that his organization is fighting for lower spending in New York, lower taxes for businesses, but he then endorses status quo politicians and advocates for billions in local spending.

Rudnick heads a half-assed, unaccountable chamber of commerce that bleats endlessly about excessive taxes and government spending on the one hand, but demands $500 million in government handouts for its members’ pet projects on the other hand.  I’d like to sum up the message of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership as follows:

“Stop taxing us to death, you’re making it hard to do business in this state with all of your spending that does not directly benefit us and what we deem to to be the priorities.  Also, please make the money appear from thin air because as mentioned above, we hate taxes and government dependence and whatnot!”

His two-fisted ham sandwich of uncoordinated messaging earns him roughly $300,000 per year in salary and the right to stick his nose in just about every planning or governmental decision in the region.  Even with such a fat wallet, he seemingly can’t get a date.

We thought we’d help Dr. Rudnick of find his match by providing a little advice for his personal advertisement.

Must Hate Carl Paladino and Love Dogs

SWM with affinity for bowties seeks SWF who enjoys long walks on the beach, puppies, rainbows, rainstorms, and remaining silent during lenghty periods of economic and political upheaval.

My match should enjoy blowing up organized business groups to serve ego of herself and friends.  She should have a professional track record of accomplishing little while being paid much and be willing to blame anyone but herself for the mess which surrounds her.  Responsibility and accountability are for the little people.  You should also enjoy giving footrubs to local plutocrats and patting yourself on the back for no good reason.

Favorite Books:  Green Eggs and Ham, The Little Engine That Could But Was Too Lazy and Content To Bother

Favorite Music:  Loggins and Messina, Dan Fogelberg, Bread, Creed, Nickelback

Favorite Movies:  Big Top Pee-Wee, Failure To Launch, Doomed To Failure

Good luck, Andy!  Let us know how it all turns out.

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The Buffalo Geek Mailbag

17 Mar

You may have noticed that I posted my email address in a link on the right hand side of the page. Since I did that, I’ve received an email or two each day from readers that offer constructive criticism and applause.  I’ve also received random “You’re a Douchebag” emails as well.   It’s been fun.

In a completely random and unscheduled feature at BuffaloGeek, I’ll attempt to answer the various questions of my readers.   Hopefully, this kind of customer service will get me some additional votes over that blowhard assface over at BuffaloPundit in the Artvoice Best Blog category.  Vote early and often!

I encourage you to submit your questions; whether they be about Buffalo, Erie County, Unix, the banking system, child rearing, why Alan sucks, the eating habits of groundhogs, the improper use of semi-colons, what it’s like to spend hours each day working with Marc Odien, Glenn Gramigna’s scientology beliefs, the musical stylings of Neil Diamond or the best way to cook a steak.

I’m a full service blogger, hit me up with an email and I’ll smack you across the face with some knowledge.  It’s my way of serving my community.

Let’s begin! All of these emails are unedited and have indeed been sent to me but, I will redact the details of the individual senders this time. I hadn’t included a disclosure stating that anything sent to me would be published thus, the redaction.

Email #1:

Check out http://wnyclicks.com/.

I would love to get a link or a mention on your site. The site has been up since last summer and has over 200 signed up users, over 13,000 images and thousands of visitors.

Thank you,
WNYClicks Guy

Well, I won’t link it regularly because the only blogs/sites which achieve the lofty perch of sidebar permanence, are blogs to which I subscribe in my RSS Reader.  But, I will link it here because I’m feeling generous.  So, there’s that.

This begs the question, “What does one need to do to enter into the glorious sidebar position on this incredible blog?” Well, I’d start with not sucking, regular updates on shit I care about, and occasional videos of guys getting kicked in the nuts.

Seriously, most blogs kind of suck…lots of updates about your shopping habits, what you had for breakfast and pictures of your fucking cat.  I don’t care about any of that.  If any of those types of items are your “go to blog content”, well, you’re not getting a link from the most awesome blog in Buffalo.  Actually, I care about those things if you’re Jen14221 because she’s hardcore about her new purses and what her kid won’t eat for lunch.  The lesson?  If you’re gonna be a personal blogger, be more like Jen.  You’ll get more readers.  If you have a shitty blog featuring mopey pictures of your significant other and articles about peanut butter, well, send your link to Alan.  He’ll link anyone with a heartbeat and a URL.

Email #2:

from Leo
to chris@wnymedia.net
date Tue, Feb 24, 2009 at 11:02 AM
subject you are an idiot

Lee

I posted this to give you a glimpse at what constitutes about 60% of the email I get from readers. It’s either “You’re an arrogant disk” or “You suck”. I mean, seriously. Step it up, folks. If you’re gonna insult me, put some energy into it.

Email #3:

to: chris@wnymedia.net
subject: Keep up the great blog

Hey Chris,

After reading through pages of your site I walked away with a broader view of the machine. Just wanted to say keep up the good work and I will make sure to keep up with your blog.

As a diehard Nation member I have to ask….Are there any (Red) Sox friendly bars around here? Judging from the proliferation of Sox stickers on cars in the area I figured there would be at least one in this cool city of ours.

Thanks,
New Buffalonian

Always nice to have someone stroke my ego, can I get more of this type of email?  That would be nice.  Also, as a new Dad, I now watch Sox games from the comfort of my living room.  I don’t know of a specific location to watch Red Sox games with like minded fans, but I know some of my readers can point you in the right direction. I used to watch Sox games at the Sterling Tavern on Hertel as they have excellent burgers and dozens of great beers on tap. I will tell you that the Wellington Pub up the street on Hertel is Yankee territory and entering with a Sox jersey or Yankees Suck t-shirt has been known to stir the pot. Tread carefully.

Email #4:

to: chris@wnymedia.net
subject: Syaed Ali

Geek,
Just wondering why you’re pursuing the Syaed Ali story the way you are. It seems like he’s a guy who got caught up in the campaign season and he’s being mistreated by the city and now the local blogs. What’s the angle?

Thanks,
Interested Party

Good question and thanks for asking.  The Syaed Ali story is incredibly fascinating to me.  At best, it’s a story about the systemic corruption, fraud and backroom politics that are the principal reasons why WNY has been unable to shake off a forty year economic downturn.  At worst, it’s about a lonely guy with delusions of grandeur, a phony company and the worst press releases ever written…a conspiracy of dunces.  Either way, it’s a good story.

When you add in the peripheral discussion about shakedown artists like Gramigna and Illuzzi and the roles they play as clearinghouses for half truths, innuendo and dirty politics, it gets even more interesting.

In essence, I think there is a much bigger story about what Syaed Ali represents and how politics works in Buffalo.  I’m going to keep digging at his personal credibility and the story of his alleged illegal detainment by the Mayor’s jackboot squad.  Perhaps it’s too “inside baseball” for the masses, but it’s the kind of story that everyone should care about.  Our system is broken here, bordering on irrevocably broken, and this guy (as dumb as he appears to be) might give us a glimpse into what we need to do in order to fix it.

Email #5:

to: chris@wnymedia.net
subject: Chris..

I know you have joked around about running for office in some capacity..but did you ever seriously consider it?  We need someone who truly understands what the problems are..think about it.

Your friend,
Anonymous

Yes, I have given thought to the idea of running for political office.   However, a few things hold me back.

1.)  Campaigning is exceptionally difficult.  I’ve helped several grassroots candidates run for office and the machine is designed to discourage regular people from joining the race.  When you have a full time job, it’s tough to canvass and lit drop all the precincts in a particular district.  Especially when your opponent is an incumbent with party/interest group support and plenty of time on his/her hands.  Visiting all the party committees, attending the chicken dinners, gladhanding supporters, debates, media availability, plus designing and executing a campaign strategy is exceptionally difficult when you work 8-5 each day and that job supports your family.  Simply raising the money to run for an office that matters is another challenge, especially if you haven’t spent years working your way up the rung of your local party of choice.  Elections are not a marketplace of ideas, they are contests between those who have done the most work building connections and raising money.  Is that a bad thing?  Yes and no.  But in order to build an army of volunteers and raise the money to support them, I’d have to make deals with lots of people and groups which I think are the problem.  Tough choice.

2.)  There is no greater movement.  I might run for office and have the best ideas on the legislature or council, but will I be able to swim upstream against the establishment and get things done?  Or will I be marginalized because I’m not doing it the way it’s always been done?   As the lone voice of reason, will I be able to get the wider citizenry to work towards the achievement of my ideas?

If I could bring together four or five people to run as a caucus from the start, we might have something.  Shared fundraising, campaign staffs, volunteers, lit, signage, etc.  We’d be independent, raise money in small denominations from regular people and generate our own publicity and editorial content.  So, maybe it could be done after all…I think I’ll explore this idea in more depth.  This guy had some good ideas worth considering.

Before it goes much further, I’d probably need to take some lessons on improving my rosy personality and find four like-minded people to run with me.

That concludes this session of the BuffaloGeek mailbag.  Keep sending me those emails and remember to vote no on Alan for Best Blogger and vote yes for The Geek!

Syaed Ali and Glenn Gramigna

10 Mar

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve written a few articles about the ongoing saga of Syaed Ali and his alleged unlawful detention and questioning by city personnel affiliated with Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.  I have also looked into Mr. Ali’s background and publicly available information about both he and his company.

After all, if someone claims that thuggish associates of a Mayor in a major American city essentially kidnapped him, stashed him in a dark room and questioned him for hours to pursue a political end, it might make sense to look into the integrity and credibility of the accuser.  Even if the Mayor and his political organization are known to dole out political punishment to those who deign to criticize them in public.

Over the past month or so, we have learned the following:

– Syaed Ali’s corporate website contained copyrighted material stolen from Iron Mountain, Sayers Media Group and other local companies.

– Syaed Ali and SAIL-IT claimed to offer product lines and services that were the property of other companies.  Phone calls to those companies confirmed that they had never had any business dealings with neither Ali nor SAIL-IT in any capacity.

– SAIL-IT has no corporate offices and their claims of world class facilities should probably be dialed down and described as Syaed’s kitchen in his Breckenridge Avenue apartment.

– SAIL-IT’s account on the Buffalo Niagara Partnership jobs page was suspended due to frequent posting of bogus job listings on the BNP website.

– SAIL-IT even steals its job descriptions from other companies.  I mean, for fuck’s sake.  This doofus makes it too easy.  Anyone with a google search engine and a brain cell can determine he is an absolute phony.

Ali cut and paste the job description for Public Government Relations Specialist for Terrebonne General Medical Center in Houma, LA and posted it on Glenn Gramigna’s website as his own.

– After issuing a press release informing local media outlets that he would be pulling up the stakes of his invisible company and moving it to Southern Ontario, I posted about it.  Yesterday, Glenn Gramigna implied that I am rumor-mongering and passing false information about Ali’s company.  To the contrary, I simply reposted Ali’s own press release.

This story is so incredibly weird, it’s fascinating.  We have a guy with delusions of grandeur related to a company that doesn’t really exist claiming that the Mayor of a major American city kidnapped him and questioned him without representation for hours.  The Mayor’s thugs accused him of defamation for circulating emails that alleged that members of the Mayor’s staff enjoyed fellating local reporters.

Wait, it gets better!  Acting as the public relations agent for this guy is a nebbish scientologist “reporter” formerly affiliated with a crooked political reporter/convicted bank robber/child support deadbeat.  Gramigna was employed by Illuzzi for years and their split was public and nasty.

Gramigna and Illuzzi have operated with impunity for years as shakedown artists and the politicians have been willing to hand money over to them for the privilege of not being defamed or harassed with outlandish claims.  Now, Gramigna is allied with a guy who is making outlandish claims against Illuzzi’s political sugardaddy, Byron Brown.

It’s incestuous, weird and utterly fascinating from an inside baseball perspective.  However, there is a bigger story here and the longer we keep pulling at the strings, I suspect we’ll get to the bottom of it.

Over the next two weeks, we’ll be talking to other sources in the community about Syaed Ali, his imaginary company, his political connections, his ill-fated run for County Legislature, his pursuit of state funding for personal interests and how Gramigna and Illuzzi shake down your local politicians for money.  We’ll also eagerly await further reports from Geoff Kelly at Artvoice about Ali’s allegations.

Mike Hudson Is Confused By The Internets

23 Feb

hudson1-jpeg-image-350x367-pixels

Mike Hudson is the editor of The Niagara Falls Reporter.  He’s also more commonly known to regular readers of Buffalo Pundit’s blog as a desperate attention whore with a burning hathos for our site.  He stops in several times daily to insult us and remind our audience that his books are available for purchase at various outlets around WNY.  He is a self-aggrandizing parody of a washed up journalist.

His writing as of late has ranged from the delusional and bizarre to the patently incorrect.

Big catfight in Buffalo last week between amateur bloggers Alan Bedenko of Buffalo Pundit and Glenn Gramigna of New WNY Politics, precipitated by the self-important Bedenko’s decision to publish what he even said was a series of fraudulent e-mails purporting to have been sent between some top aides to Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown last summer.

Clearly, the e-mails were meant to slander and defame the people at Buffalo City Hall. Why Bedenko, who is an attorney in real life, chose to publish them is anyone’s guess.

Here’s the thing, Alan did not publish the emails in question, I did.  Alan had no input into the publication of the article.  I compiled the emails, added some context and published them on the frontpage of WNYMedia.net.  Not on Buffalo Pundit’s blog.

In what has turned out to be an irritating twist of fate for Alan, the sexagenarian amigos of internet FAIL in Western New York continue to accuse him of various misdeeds related to the publishing of that article.  He has now twice been accused of writing the original emails and people seem to confuse him with me.

Here’s a handy diagram for Hudson, Gramigna and Illuzzi:

geek_and_pundit

I even made it so they can click on the picture to make it bigger, I know these old guys have bad eyes.

Hudson takes great pride in stopping by our network of sites several times each day to tell us how little we matter and to call us dilettantes, but it seems the grizzled old “professional” can’t even take the time to conduct the most basic of fact checking prior to making accusations in his newspaper.  Funny that.