Mayor Byron W. Brown and his associates have been promising city jobs to “goons and street thugs” in exchange for doggedly harassing critics on social media platforms, a source familiar with the arrangement tells The Chronicle. The practice of promising publicly funded jobs in exchange for election work is illegal.
Veronica Hemphill-Nichols has confirmed in commentary on Facebook that she does not believe it is inappropriate that she is being promised things in exchange for her ‘work’ bullying opponents on Facebook — which includes the distribution of nude photos of Democratic Party nominee India Walton, coupled with outrageous and derisive commentary.
Walton is expected to be elected the first woman to serve as Mayor of the City, as well as the first African American woman to serve in the role.
Hemphill-Nichols orchestrated several media smears against Walton in The Buffalo News, which she boasts about openly on her Facebook page. She credits herself with architecting the allegation that Walton had been accused of dealing drugs from her former Fruit Belt residence — an accusation that has been unsubstantiated. Walton’s former landlord even refused to go on record to make the accusation, which Hempsted-Nichols says she brought to the News and demanded its publication.
She has been assisted by Tanniqua Simmons, the former write-in candidate for Mayor who was once wildly critical of Brown. Her rhetoric on Facebook turned sharply following his primary loss. Her behavior mirrors that of Hemphill-Nichols and others in the community who are known for their aggressive tactics.
“They are being promised city jobs in exchange for bullying folks online, and they have others bullying voters inside the polls,” the source tells The Chronicle. “Brown’s political machine is at the core of what’s wrong with the political culture of this. city.”
Much of their commentary on social media is racially inflammatory, divisive, and designed to infuriate a disgruntled electorate around abstractions like ‘socialism’.
“Brown is engaging in widespread voter intimidation and he’s trowing around money at the street-level to do it,” he explains.