Does a caged bird sing?

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.

Former Deputy Mayor Steve Casey.
Former Deputy Mayor Steve Casey.
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2 thoughts on “Does a caged bird sing?

  1. First off, Steve should fire his attorney who looked just terrible on television and was not very effective on Steve’s behalf. And Peter Reese was equally terrible in his part on Ch. 4. But it seemed to me that Reese was on there as an expert attorney, not in defense of Steve, although we all know how Reese is close to Steve these days. A bit too close for such a news report I think. So Ch. 4 was misled on that one.

    And don’t forget Peter Reese: You had Kristy Mazurek blurt out in an Artvoice interview that “the campaigns” provided her with the content for the mailings, as she couldn’t be bothered with such things, which is clear coordination. You also have what looked like a $25,000 skim paid to Steve’s consulting firm, Landan Associates; but once that was exposed (complete with a misspelling of his firm’s name on the financial filings) Steve says he never got the 25K, even though it was on the expense report filed with the elections board. Then Steve is reimbursed for the Robocalls, but the caller ID listed the Robocalls as coming from the candidate’s campaign.

    Why would you donate 100K, yet be reimbursed for the cheap Robocalls and bill for the 25K, but later say you did not get the 25K you billed WNY Progressive Caucus for? It doesn’t make any sense. And this doesn’t even include all the money movements, like from Tim Kennedy (75K), and the other far flung entities listed. That big money is what led to the investigation.

    Looks like Steve just didn’t factor in how some of these State legal officials have had enough of this kind of crazy election law-breaking, that’s all, and Steve’s been doing this stuff for decades. Remember the “two bags of cash,” during the Paul Clark race? Had Steve done all this in an aboveboard fashion, people would actually have more respect for the guy. I don’t know of anyone who would even think about such tactics. I’ve read right here on The Chronicle the trouble Joe Masca had with merely not filing the forms.

    Gee, Steve even threw Kristy Mazurek under the bus on WBEN back when he was on the Hardline show, and in the Buffalo News, saying something like “I’m only a donor and the treasurer is responsible for the committee, not me,” he said several times. Nice!

    Pigeon was all over this thing in order to destroy Lenihan and Zellner. That’s what this was all about. He couldn’t do it in 2010 with the Reform Coalition. He couldn’t do it when he installed O’Donnell at the Water Authority. And he couldn’t do it with the ousting of Billy Stachowski. So 2013 was the year to finally take back the party, damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead.

    Maybe, just maybe, they now know where the money actually came from, and that led to today’s events. Steve Casey and Chris Grant are probably collateral damage. And Chris Grant is actually a good guy. Too bad for him. He was just trying to make a few bucks doing the mail for the campaign after losing his gig working for County Executive Collins when Collins lost that office.

    Looking back to 2013 today can’t be a good vibe for Steve Pigeon, as Andrew is in and stronger than ever, Hillary is set to take off, Steve just started a new path with his lobbying firm. When you look back at the small potatoes of 2013, you have to ask: Was it really worth it?

    And I don’t see Steve ever taking any of those big politicians down. But Kristy may want to watch her back, Steve doesn’t need her anymore.

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  2. As I turne on the TV this evening to watch the Local News all I could say is WOW, All major hitters. Im sure that there are many Politicians just shredding away right about now or just maybe even preparing their own Resignation Letters.

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