Western New York’s political world has been inalterably rocked today with the issuance of search warrants at the homes of the renowned political operative G. Steven Pigeon, and two others: former Deputy Mayor Steve Casey and Chris Grant, Congressman Chris Collins’ Chief of Staff. The warrants were signed at 2:15 pm Wednesday and executed beginning Thursday morning.
The warrants come less than a week after Pigeon severed ties with Underberg & Kessler, billionaire Tom Golisano’s longtime law firm. The Rochester based firm maintained an office at Fountain Plaza for Pigeon. Golisano has been a longtime donor to Pigeon’s various political endeavors, so the break surprised many local political operatives.
Pigeon is inextricably linked to Mayor Byron W. Brown, who owes him his political career. Casey served as Deputy Mayor in the Brown administration until late last year, when he left to join developer Scott Congel’s venture to build a shopping mall in West Seneca. Congel is a Syracuse based developer with ties to Golisano.
The retired attorney and longtime Pigeon operative Peter Reese has appeared on television characterizing the charges as “very hard to prove.”
At the time that Pigeon used $100,000 of, what he says, was his own money to fund WNY Progressive Caucus, Chris Grant was the Chief of Staff of then County Executive Chris Collins — and trying mightily to retake the County Legislature from the Democrats. Pigeon and Grant teamed up on the an independent expenditure committee run by Kristy Mazurk, observers speculate. Mazurk’s residence was not included among the search warrants.
The local media has reported that Pigeon contributors have been subpoenaed in the ongoing investigation.
In recent weeks, Pigeon announced that he is teaming up with Maurice Garner to form a new lobbying firm. Garner is the longtime east side political operative responsible for Grassroots, Inc, a formerly influential African American political club whose message has grown stale and confused in recent years.
The major question on most operatives’ mind: will a besieged operative offer up a high profile politician to the Attorney General? It seems Pigeon has quite the hand still to play, with a mayor, a congressman, a governor, a billionaire, and a presidential contender still in the deck for trade.