Tag Archives: Leonard Stokes

Lieutenant Governor

22 Sep

Will Leonard Stokes get free public money and have Byron Brown’s cell phone number when Brown becomes Andrew Cuomo’s Lieutenant Governor?

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Paladino Monday

14 Sep
Photo credit: Artvoice

Photo credit: Artvoice

Carl Paladino is a character.  WBEN gave him three solid hours to rip Byron Brown a new a-hole this morning which was interesting, if a bit one-sided.  Paladino’s on Twitter now, and he posted a “Declaration of Independence” he talked about today at length.

WBEN’s Tim Wenger explained that Byron Brown is loath to participate or speak with WBEN in any way, even during the straight newscasts.  That, I suppose, explains why Brown or a pro-Brown partisan won’t be getting 3 hours’ worth of time on the highest-rated AM talk station in town.

Among the blockbuster allegations Paladino made on the radio today was that Leonard Stokes had a run-in with the BPD in 2008 and that there was a paper trail, that the Mayor intervened, and that it was drug related.  Artvoice has and posted a copy of the memo, and it turns out it deals with Leonard’s brother, Lamar Stokes.  At first blush, it makes the whole thing a bit less blockbustery.  But Geoff Kelly asks, correctly:

Why did Leonard’s brother, Lamar Stokes, address his complaint to the mayor? What did the mayor say to the police commissioner? We also sent an email to the mayor’s spokesman, Peter Cutler, with a copy of the memo. He has not responded to that email yet, but when he does, I’ll post his response here.

What matters here though is that Paladino is right that the city and region are held back, in part, because of the entrenched elites who like things just the way they are.  I wonder why George Maziarz’s name doesn’t appear there, but it’s not the first or last time a Republican has overlooked Maziarz’s longstanding do-nothingtude.

In any event, Paladino expressed his support for Mickey Kearns, who appears on row 3A on tomorrow’s Democratic primary ballot.  As I discussed Sunday, Byron Brown has squandered a historic chance to bring progress, change, and – above all – vision to Buffalo.  Kearns, at least, promises more openness and an open door.

Vote Kearns.

Handicapping the Buffalo Mayoral Race

14 Sep

brownhandicap

Courtesy Marquil at EmpireWire.com

Leonard Stokes – Good Credit Risk

12 Sep

Clearly, Leonard Stokes was an excellent credit risk, and someone who was most deserving of a couple hundred dollars’ worth of public money to open a lounge on Delaware, next to a swanky gas station, that his buddy Terrell Owens might enjoy.

Mayor Brown calls Leonard Stokes a “young man with promise.”

That’s why he bought a stolen handicapped parking permit from some guy at the Walden Galleria.

Sources tell us that Stokes told police he wanted the permit because, as an athlete, he’s not accustomed to walking long distances.

This from a 6-foot, 6-inch, basketball star.

No wonder the cops were peeved.

He doesn’t like to walk a long way from his car to the store?  Well, he’s definitely a Buffalonian!  Also, Mayor Brown challenged a cop to come forward with the Stokes-demanded-to-see-the-mayor-to-get-out-of-being-arrested.  According to Channel 4, he has his wish.

Buffalo Police Detective Sergeant Thomas Donovan wants to talk about the Leonard Stokes incident. Sources tell News 4 Donovan is the one who transported Stokes to Mayor Byron Brown’s office January 8th 2007 after Stokes was detained for possessing a stolen handicapped parking permit.

A more objective observer might call Mr. Stokes a “serial misdemeanorer.”

Wheee goes the Boomerang

9 Sep

1. Why is the Mayor’s spokesman – a city employee – commenting on a poll concerning his boss’ re-election?

2. Why is the Mayor’s spokesman – a city employee – commenting on Carl Paladino’s probably-too-little-too-late support of Mickey Kearns?

Finally, for the Mayor to whinge about “dirty politics” is droll, considering the guns-a-blazing attempt by the Mayor’s political allies, Mssrs. Casey and Pigeon, to annihilate Sam Hoyt last year.

What goes around comes around, Mr. Mayor.

Karma’s a bitch, Mr. Mayor.

You reap what you sow, Mr. Mayor.

Insert karma/boomerang cliche here.

Stokesgate Tuesday: Mayor Brown Ducks the Question

8 Sep

Here’s the question posed to Mayor Brown by Buffalo News reporter Brian Meyer: Did you meet with Leonard Stokes in 2007 after he was apprehended for possession of a stolen disabled parking placard?

The answer the Mayor of Buffalo provided ranged from “no comment” to “nothing illegal took place” to “I don’t have to tell you who I meet with.” When Meyer said that it could be inferred from the Mayor’s answer (i.e., “nothing illegal took place”) that he had, indeed, met with Stokes in 2007 under these circumstances, the Mayor completely lost his cool, blowing up at Meyer. From the Buffalo News:

That’s quite literally the first time I’d ever heard Brown speak that way, and on Facebook, Meyer said,

I’ve known Byron Brown for over two decades, going back to the days when he was a Common Council aide. The audio exchange you’ll hear in this post is probably the most lively & emotional I’ve seen him get in a public setting.

While the hyperpolitical mayor of a dying city decries the election-time politicization of politics, there is an actual problem here. Contrary to what many have said, this isn’t even about a parking ticket. It’s about theft of public property, misuse of stolen property, and abuse of power by the Mayor on behalf Leonard Stokes.

I’d add to Meyers’ roster of questions for the Mayor: what is your relationship with Leonard Stokes and why would he be entitled to special treatment by the Mayor’s office in a case of theft of public property?

I’m always interested in the why.

The anti-Brown bloc in the Buffalo Common Council has asked for an FBI investigation into Stokesgate, led first by former cop David Rivera, and followed up today by David Franczyk. On the floor of the Common Council today, Councilman Demone Smith, an ally of the Mayor’s, taunted the opposition with, “call the FBI!”

Artvoice’s Geoff Kelly reports that the FBI is already on the case, and that Mayor Brown’s temper tantrum today may be related this:

Sources close to the officers involved in the case say they have already been contacted by the FBI. Further, they say that the officers made a record of the events of the day in question.

If the officers contemporaneously recorded what happened and can corroborate the underlying facts of Stokesgate, the Mayor may be in very hot water indeed. Think Butch Holt trouble. Think Public Officers Law trouble.

In other news, SurveyUSA has the Mayoral race tied. Regardless of the poll’s internals, this is a huge psychological boost for Kearns and a devastating day for Byron Brown, all around.

It's the Environment – not the Details – that Count

21 Aug

One Sunset has blown into a full-blown scandal.  All that’s missing is the suffix “gate”.

In a nutshell: the city’s main economic development agency lent money to Leonard Stokes (left) when it shouldn’t have; Barron helped manage the joint; and the venture was “doomed to failure,” in the words of the report.

The audit said $90,000 of the $160,000 in public financing is unaccounted for and nearly $39,000 in inventory and furniture is MIA.

“There was an ongoing infusion of public money,” said SanFilippo. “Frankly, none of these loans should have been approved.”

The city’s Buffalo Economic Renaissance Corporation gave loan after loan after loan to a failing business that had no leadership or plan for success, and the Buffalo News’ Jim Heaney has been hammering at this story for months now.  When the FBI gets involved, and the DA gets involved, you’ve got a real, genuine problem on your hands.

In a normal place, this would not bode well for the current city administration’s re-election.  But Buffalo is hardly a normal place, and the scandal-plagued Mayor will most likely sail to re-election.  That there is a fundamental problem with that fact is glaring, but beside the point, for now.

Not a Godwin violation

Not a Godwin violation

Mayor Brown deflects, using the Sergeant Schultz defense.  The problem isn’t, however, whether Mayor Brown knew all of the intimate details of the BERC handouts to One Sunset, or that a BERC employee, now fired, all but managed the restaurant for a time, or that the putative owner didn’t invest what he was supposed to invest to qualify for the handouts, or that a lot of the money either got spent irresponsibly or simply disappeared.

He’s probably telling the truth.  He had no idea.

But he is to blame for bringing about the environment that permits this to happen.  When you operate an administration that values political considerations above merit, this kind of thing is inevitable.  When you promote unqualified sycophants and political supporters to positions of fiscal power, failure will result.  When your software program that’s supposed to keep an eye on efficiency is instead used for political purposes, failure will result.  When people with no business experience counsel people with no business experience, failure is the only possible result. When you operate a hyper-political operation that is more concerned with obedience and politics than good policy, you’re doomed to fail.

In a macro sense, Buffalo really can’t afford this kind of thing anymore. Unfortunately, too many people are too focused on the micro aspect of how city government affects them and the economy.

Byron Brown and his administration may not have micromanaged the One Sunset deal.  But they created the system that led to it.  This is a gross violation of the public trust, and firing Michelle Barron is scapegoating.  There’s far, far more blame to spread around.

But if the Ice Cream Guy Joined Grassroots…

7 Jun

Perhaps James the Ice Cream Bicycle Guy could apply for six figures’ worth of loans from BERC, but in smaller, less scrutinized incremental amounts, and then retain the assistance of a BERC official who’s friendly with the mayor and have her pay his bills, negotiate with vendors, and otherwise run his business while James himself flits off doing nothing. You can catch up on One Sunset with Jim Heaney.

Or maybe we don’t need that sort of excuse for “business development” and stop giving handouts to the misguided and well-connected, and start easing the path to success and growth to existing entrepreneurs.

When failures are self-inflicted, and happen with such regularity, you have to stop being apologetic or sad about it. You have to get angry.

An online petition has been set up, but frankly the travails of the ice cream bicycle guy, when juxtaposed with the too-generous handouts to One Sunset and the Mayor’s buddies, should be blown up into a massive campaign issue.