Does Darius Pridgen have trouble with his base?

Council President Darius Pridgen has political problems with the base of support that elected him.

A wealthy pastor of one of the poorest congregations in the city, the Councilman’s expensive tastes, flamboyant style, and coziness with the city’s most wealthy real estate interests have alienated him from the voters and congregants who elected him. Expensive suits, impressive watches, Cadillacs, and worldly travels have come off as distasteful to the worshipers who attend his sermons in their Delavan-Grider neighborhood.

Pridgen lives on the Erie Basin Marina with sweeping views of the Canadian shoreline and waterfront sunsets that are unrivaled on the east coast. His exclusive Waterfront Village neighborhood — home to judges and some of the most connected economic actors in the region — is seemingly worlds away from the abject poverty of his Ellicott District.

Pridgen was elected to the seat four years ago in a three way race. Soon thereafter, he conspired with then Council President David Franczyk to adopt one of the most egregious gerrymandering schemes seen anywhere in the country.

Over three decades in office, Franczyk oversaw the collapse of his Broadway Fillmore district, and the ethnic Polish population that was once his base is nearly nonexistent. They have either moved to the suburbs or died. Fearing the district’s large black community, the Councilman was scrambling for a base of white voters, so he redrew the district into Allentown. And in order to do so, he divided the Latino community into three Council districts, effectively denying the community from gaining any political clout in the region.

In one swoop, Pridgen allowed Francyzk to steal a black district from the Eastside and a Latino district from the Westside so that he didn’t have to represent the gay community in Allentown — and could continue to represent the poorest neighborhood in the city from his waterfront condo.

But that didn’t seem to unsettle his largely black constituency, which at the time was seemingly mesmerized by his charismatic delivery of biblical references and sermons which were often delivered with a theatric flare.

His marriage to a 24 year old woman who grew up in his church did. The marriage continues to raise the ire of some prominent older black women, who form the backbone of the east side’s political power structure. They view the role of “the pastor’s wife” as an important and pivotal figure in the community — someone who is expected to be an older, wiser, calmer woman.

Since the marriage, the community has been more willing to look at the pastor critically.

They say that his close relationship to the city’s real estate developers is unseemly, while he continues to refuse to speak publicly about the dysfunctional management of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority. BMHA manages several large properties in the Ellicott district. Some even speculate that Pridgen’s support of millions of dollars in state subsidies for high end luxury housing in historic buildings could be a result of his cozy relationship with those developers.

Just last week, Pridgen and the Council authorized BMHA to transfer ownership of AD Price Courts, the first African American public housing complex in the nation, in a privatization scheme advanced by housing authority officers and a firm named Northstar.

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12 comments

  1. I don’t care anything about where Darius Pridgen live what, what’s he driving, etc. this is the only man in this city and in government that get things done. He is out there everyday fighting for poor people, all people in general! He has no control over the mismanagement at BMHA! As far as him marrying a 24 year old woman is his private life and it’s not affecting his ability to help the people that got him elected. I have the utmost respect for him and to be frank, the hell with the Buffalo Chronicle👎🏾

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  2. Absolutely Not… this article is erroneous in all aspects, with these statements and typos this article should be taken down. I agree with the previous remark. Thumbs down to you Buffalo Chronicle, clearly this is an article not of information but of jealousy and hate for someone that does nothing but seek good for the city and people.

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  3. this piece seems to be a smear tactic, by a hater or group of haters. What good does this “mostly opinion” article do? Simply, he gets the job done!! He gets to the root cause of a problem, determines the best steps to take, and takes them! Remember, this man started ministry with a small congregation, an even smaller budget, and a big vision!

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  4. I don’t know where you get you information from, but all that Darius Pridgen has, he got before he was elected into office, and he worked very hard for. I’ve seen on many occasions when he has given away thousands of dollars to help people in need. He is for the people black and white. He’s a very smart and successful business man. To say that he has one of the poorest congregations is absurd. He’s employed many people, and his congregation is continually growing with successful people. All lies. The truth speaks for itself.

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  5. Why are you trying to assassinate the character of this man? He has been nothing but a blessing to the community! No weapon you formed against him is going to prosper.

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  6. It’s unbelievable how people are still attacking this man that has done so much for the youth, seniors and any he comes in contact with. No other politician is as real as him and no gets the Job done like him. He is very successful because of his ideas and love for his communist. No one talks about white pastors or rich white people who lives on the waterfront. Thank God this man has built a foundation for his family. This man has no other motives but to help the lives of others. State facts next time!

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  7. This is clearly an attempt to discredit a Good man! He has done so much for so many. He uplifts this community. The individual’s responsible for this article should be nothing less than ashamed for this very negative attempt.

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  8. It is disappointing how brainwashed and irrational many of these comments are. What exactly did or does the pastor do to raise the funds that allows him this excessivelly oppulent lifestyle other than use the poor congregations tithing? Remember the pastor himself said he could not afford the water front condo but that the condo was and luxury car were bought and owned by the church. But one thing is clear, he like many of the other preachers are smart enough to con all these gullible soles. There’s never a reason why any minister of the gospell of Christ should live such a worldly lifestyle. They should all learn a lesson from the likes of Mother Theresa or pope Francis. There’s nothing this article state that are not facts. The Buffalo News quoted one of the major developers Rocco termini of going to the pastors church office to lobby him for support of incentives for development of downtown luxury lofts which he got in a few minutes of conversation etc. you may not know it but the pastor has parlayed the religious and political status and influenc to become a developer of sorts awash with state funds….opportunities that are not available for better trained and experienced Buffalo black professional engineers, architects and lawyers etc. Heck he even got the Mayor to appoint his daughter who got out of law school only a few years ago to a City Court Judgeship….How is his judgement in not something a rational constituent would not have a second thought about.

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  9. I will not be brain washed based on false implications or unproven accusations. Religion and politics don’t mix and the ability to divide yourself to satisfy everybody’s expectations is impossible. I refused to pass judgment but I won’t ignore facts. Our political representative should be chosen based on their ability to represent not a popularity contest. Be careful what you ask for and who you choose to represent you. You wouldn’t buy anything based on what a salesmen tells you with out doing some research would you? THINK ABOUT IT!

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