A lesser-known Buffalo-based attorney who feeds on local government work provided to him by Erie County and his political patron, County Executive Mark Poloncarz, is smearing the billionaire founder of Paychex and former owner of the Buffalo Sabres as a ‘ratfucker’.
In a spate of Twitter rants, Buffalo-based attorney Alan Bedenko smeared B. Thomas Golisano with obscenities, following a days-long rash of expletives spewed at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and its CEO Candace Johnson.
Bedenko is not known for his lawyering. Indeed, he bills in the bottom quartile of attorney fees. But for years he has produced political content on his blog with a sordid history of aggressively and relentlessly smearing local candidates for public office who are not politically aligned with Poloncarz and Erie County Democratic Party headquarters.
It’s benefited him in the way that municipal political contacts can benefit fourth-rate attorneys. He landed an appointment from Poloncarz to the Board of Trustees of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library. He also enjoyed a slew of legal work from the County, representing Child Protective Services in a series of wrongful death cases from the survivors of children who were murdered while having open case files in the office.
Observers are finding the behavior unsettling and have openly worried about the state of Bedenko’s mental health. He goes by the Twitter handle ‘BuffaloPundit‘.
B. Thomas Golisano is an American businessman, philanthropist, and author. He is the founder of Paychex, which offers payroll and human resources services to businesses. Golisano also owns Greenlight Networks, a fiber internet provider based in Rochester, New York. He owned the Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bandits from 2003 to 2011. Golisano unsuccessfully ran for Governor of New York as a third-party candidate in 1994, 1998, and 2002. As of 2018, Golisano had a net worth of $3.1 billion.
Golisano regularly donates $300 million annually to various charitable causes, including the Golisano Children’s Hospital in Rochester.
Bedenko abruptly left the law firm of Burden, Hafner & Hansen, which he joined in 2018 as an Associate, after leaving the firm of Feldman Kiefer, where he held a more senior position since 2012. Before moving to Buffalo, Bedenko was in sole practice as a criminal defense attorney in Boston.
Neither Andrew Feldman or Donna Burden, the managing partners of those firms, have been willing to discuss their relationships with Bedenko.
Recently Bedenko joined the lower-tier Syracuse-based firm of Smith & Sovik, which has satellite offices in White Plains and Buffalo, where Bedenko is one of two attorneys on staff. Of the firm’s 30 attorneys, 21 hold the title of partner, including Bedenko. Kevin Hulslander, the Managing Partner of the firm, did not respond to a request for comment.
It’s unclear if the firm takes on political clients or private clients with political interests, for whom Bedenko may be operating.
In the past, Bedenko has made public commentaries that have offended African Americans, Native Americans, Italian Americans, Jewish Americans, Republicans, and supporters of President Donald Trump.
When one offers critical feedback to Bedenko’s commentaries, backlash from the blogger can be reasonably expected. He made this comment about local photographer David Torke after Torke made comments defending Roswell Park, the cancer research hospital that Bedenko has been berating on social media for the last several days.
Linked to that post is a website that assaults Torke’s character as if to intimidate him into silencing his defense of Rowsell Park. Torke publishes FixBuffalo, a photographic journal of local architecture and historic preservation.
Bedenko linked this post to his Tweet:
In another post he seems to threaten litigation against Roswell Park for terminating Laura Krolczyk, the Vice President of External Affairs (who was previously a political operative to Senator Hillary Clinton) for making non-satirical social media commentary telling supporters of President Donald Trump not to show up to a hospital during the COVID-19 outbreak, and if they did, that they should not have access to life-saving ventilators.
In another Tweet — he often posts dozens of Tweets daily — he seems to threaten Roswell Park and Johnson with litigation. Roswell Park is a State hospital and receives tens of millions of dollars each year in federally funded research grants.
Bedenko seems to smear Republican political operative Mike Caputo, a political advisor to President Trump, as a ‘stalker’ and somehow equivalent to Germany’s Nazi-era police force. It was Caputo who first voiced his outrage at Krolczyk’s comments.
Bedenko repeatedly and relentlessly — on nearly a daily basis, and often multiple times a day — smears supporters of the President as ‘Nazis’. The President’s daughter and grandchildren are of the Jewish faith, and the President enjoys high approval ratings in the Jewish community.
Bob Lonsberry is a conservative radio talk show host a WHAM 1180 in Rochester. Lonsberry was offended by the hospital executive’s ‘death-wish’ against conservatives.
Unlike most lawyers, whose professional norms typically manifest a more restrained personal character, Bedenko is not one for understatement:
The Jacobs family is Buffalo’s wealthiest and most influential, owning the multinational concessionaire and casino operator Delaware North and the Boston Bruins. Chris Jacobs is currently running for Congress against Poloncarz’s preferred candidate, Nate McMurray.
Bedenko is more than willing to fawn over political candidates who are aligned with his patron, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz:
Bedenko casually accuses the President of murder. Typically, attorneys are more careful with their written language and their public records, particularly as it relates to the technicalities of law:
Obviously, there is no legal basis for manslaughter charges to be brought against the President.
Typically attorneys — especially small market attorneys — take it upon themselves to maintain strong relationships with local media outlets, for the sake of their clients’ interests. David McKinley is the most senior investigative journalist at WGRZ, the local broadcaster that has enjoyed a dominant market share for nearly two decades:
Pegula Sports & Entertainment is among Western New York’s largest procurers of legal services. The firm owns the Buffalo Bills, the Buffalo Sabres, the Buffalo Bandits, the Rochester Knighthawks, and the Rochester Americans, in addition to a slew of restaurants and event venues.
The owner of the firm, Terry Pegula, is a wildly popular figure in Buffalo — both in the business community and among the team’s many fans. Pegula is widely heralded for his commitment to keeping the Buffalo Bills in Western New York.