Jeremy Zellner, the chairman of the Erie County Democrats, is being accused of shaking down party loyalists for $250 under the premise of a birthday invitation, alleges Katrinna Martin-Bordeaux, the Chairwoman of Young Black Democrats of Western New York and a county zone chair who intends to challenge Zellner for the chairmanship later this year.
“When I am party chairman, our patronage staff should know that they will not lose their jobs,” she explains. “When I am Chairman, you will be respected like the professionals that you are and not shaken down with birthday party invitations at $250 a pop.”
Martin-Bordeaux finds the premise of the fundraiser distasteful.
“These are party loyalists who are typically making $30,ooo or $40,000 a year and being extorted with the implied premise that their jobs are one the line,” she said. “Unlike young Jeremy, I’m unwilling to work people like dogs during campaign season and then demand hard earned money from their pockets in the off season.”
Martin-Bordeaux is going out of her way to ensure that a leadership transition will not lead to upheaval among those holding political positions. At the same time, she is reaching out to members of the party committee to coax support from various factions of the party. A vision statement and strategy document for the future of political organizing in Erie County, authorized by Martin-Bordeaux, is expected to be released in the in the next three to four weeks.