Updated: 3:00 PM ET May 3
Pigeon hosts late night Democrat soiree

Insiders tell PoliticsNY.net there was quite a unique event Saturday night at Democratic political operative Steve Pigeon's Admiral's Walk penthouse apartment: Billed as a Mayweather v. Pacquiao viewing party, the gathering ran until the wee hours of the morning as the fight lasted all 12 rounds with the final bell rung near 1:00am. After that, the party just got going. New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, the guest of honor, was joined by a Democrat "who's who" including Mayor Byron Brown, Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples Stokes, State Sen. Tim Kennedy, activist and lobbyist Maurice Garner, and NYSUT regional director Mike Deely. Heastie, who hails from the Bronx, was in town to address the annual dinner for Grassroots Inc., the power base of Buffalo Democrats founded by Garner. The Speaker dropped into Pigeon's waterfront digs after a small reception at Joyce and Jeff Nixon's Linwood Avenue home. 

Updated: 11:00 AM ET April 28
Poloncarz walks away from Conservative line

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz just posted this on his Facebook page, virtually assuring his Republican opponent Assemblyman Ray Walter the Conservative Party endorsement in the race.

"After careful consideration, I have informed Chairman Lorigo I would not seek nor accept if offered the Conservative Party's endorsement. While I respect the members of the Conservative Party of Erie County I cannot reconcile a number of the party's positions with mine."

To be clear, the endorsement was not offered. However, it might have been as Poloncarz was discussing the possibility with Chairman Ralph Lorigo, as was Walter.

Updated: 11:19 AM ET April 2
Lancaster cops drove County pol home after late night accident

According a Lancaster Police Department report, Erie County Commissioner of Real Property Joe Maciejewski was driven home by an officer after he struck a telephone pole and left the accident scene. The report notes that at 3:21AM on Saturday, March 28, Maciejewski drove into a utility pole at Lake and Sherburne avenues, then continued on. He was issued a summons for speeding (1180A) and leaving the scene of an accident (6001A), but not arrested.

That night, weather conditions were normal. Locals tell PoliticsNY.net that the intersection in question was not icy, either.

Tongues are wagging in Lancaster about the highly unusual nature of Maciejewski's encounter with local law enforcement. The report states he was "driven to a friend's house by patrol" - apparently noting that another patrolman happened by the scene and relieved the officer of his perpetrator. It's not clear from the report when the Lancaster Police Department became a taxicab service, or if they offer such kindness to perps who are not county officials.

The police report is HERE, and a photograph of the utility pole Maciejewski struck in his late night hit-and-run is HERE. Congrats to NYSEG for their quick action replacing the shattered pole.

NOTE TO MEDIA: Please don't forget to credit PoliticsNY.net for this report. Thanks.

Updated: 3:00 PM ET March 30
Maciejewski in a late night accident too?

Rumor has it Joe Maciejewski, Erie County Commissioner of Real Property, was also involved in an accident on Saturday night which might have also been a hit-and-run. Commissioner Maciejewski was leaving the Green Buffalo Pub on Como Park in the village when he hit a light post. He was not arrested; only a ticket was issued. Important note: When Lancaster Councilwoman Donna Stempniak stepped down earlier this year, some said Maciejewski might run for her seat.

Are the Lancaster Democrats coming apart at the seams? Do they all need a drivers refresher course? Or are they so upset about the Redskins mascot change that they're drowning their sorrows in the local fire water?

UPDATE: An insider tells us Maciejewski doesn't live in Lancaster yet. He recently bought a townhouse there in preparation for his entry into electoral politics but hasn't closed yet. His official residence is still Hamburg.

Updated: 8:14 AM ET March 30
Lancaster Councilman nailed for DWI

A Lancaster insider told PoliticsNY.net that in the late hours of Sunday, March 29, Lancaster Councilman Mark Aquino was arrested in DWI and hit and run charges on Como Park in the Village. The well-known local attorney, a Democrat up for reelection this year, allegedly hit a parked car before leaving the scene and was later arrested in the village. 

UPDATE: After PoliticsNY.net broke this story early today, Aquino tendered his resignation effective immediately.

Updated: 12:00 AM ET March 23
Hardwick aide gets paid for leaking

Susan Gregg, the controversial aide to Republican Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick, will get a $2,800 check for leaking to the Democrats. After an internal GOP email was anonymously passed to Democratic county legislators in December 2014, everyone wondered who was the leaker. Majority Leader Joe Lorigo asked majority staffers to open their county email accounts for inspection - accounts owned by the Legislature, not the staffers. A search proved conclusively that the leak could only have come from Gregg. She was suspended, then later reinstated after a few not-so-mysterious whiney leaks to the press.

Somehow, when you get caught red handed screwing your own people in the Erie County Legislature, you can get paid a few grand by the taxpayers. Feel free to shake your head with disgust.

Updated: 1:13 PM ET March 16
DSS Cover Up for Urban League?

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz moved methodically to replace embattled Social Services commissioner Carol M. Dankert-Maurer, announcing Al Dirschberger as her successor last week. It took quite awhile, but it's done and Dirschberger appears to have clear sailing toward legislature affirmation. Still, this isn't likely to diffuse a recent DSS scandal - covered well by Investigative Post - indicating the Buffalo Urban League over billed the county for social work, then fired employees who blew the whistle.

The county department has so far been unresponsive to audit questions from the county comptroller's office. In fact, since a late November comptroller announcement of an investigation into the matter, not one of government watchdog's questions has been answered. Not even 100 days later.

Insiders say Dankert-Maurer was not responsible for the delays, but instead first deputy commissioner Judith Shanley is the one dragging her feet. She won't depart with the lame duck commissioner; she's still on the job. The prevailing opinion: Shanley and others were moving quickly behind the scenes to cover up Urban League invoices a whistleblower called "blatantly fraudulent billing". Insiders say Shanley has begun her own investigation, reaching out to whistleblowers to find out exactly what they know about the questionable billing as part of the cover up. Somehow, these will become blatantly simple billing errors.

Some say DSS has been slow to respond to the County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw's audit because Urban League president Brenda McDuffie is tight with Poloncarz. And the County Executive is clearly concerned about the issue: One Urban League whistleblower told PoliticsNY.net that Poloncarz personally requested her contact information from Investigative Post reporter Charlotte Keith. (She hasn't heard from him yet.)

Mychajliw is said to be busily preparing subpoenas. But now, with the fix in, you'll soon see a months-late response of "Nothing to see here!" as sure as the sun will shine.

Updated: 7:00 AM ET March 12
Morton returning to Leg??

Insiders say Republican Erie County Legislator Ted Morton will return to the chamber today, something many say is nothing short of a miracle. Just a few short weeks ago, Morton was discovered unresponsive in his home and was rushed to the hospital. He spent several days in a coma and prospects for his recovery were rumored to be dark. Quite the opposite happened: he bounced back with a vengeance. Now out of the hospital, he's still visiting specialists as an out patient. His social media posts are chock full of thanks for the thousands of concerned people across Western New York who prayed for his recovery.

If you don't believe in miracles, stop by the Erie County Legislature this afternoon and you'll see one in the flesh. Welcome back, Ted Morton. Now, get back to work!

Updated: 12:00 PM ET February 26
Morton on the Road to Recovery

Insiders say that while Erie County Legislator Ted Morton remains in Sisters Hospital intensive care, he's made significant healthy progress and is on the road to recovery. The popular freshman legislator's sudden and yet unexplained illness took the entire community by surprise last week and, for a time, there were rumors of a variety health issues careening around County Hall. However, today Morton is awake and communicating and everyone PoliticsNY.net spoke to is optimistic about his recovery.

Updated: 2:00 PM ET February 19
Silver laundered his money in Buffalo?

Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s indictment came down Thursday. Turns out there’s a deep Buffalo connection to his scams: he parked $100,000 at a Buffalo company called Counsel Financial Services. Almost $400,000 more sat at another called JoRon, registered in the Buffalo offices of Z80 Incubator Labs. That’s Queen City bigwig Jordan Levy’s place that just got a cool million and a half from a taxpayer fund controlled by Governor Cuomo. Hmmmm. 

A dozen Buffalonians working in Silver’s laundry include Former Supreme Court justice Joe Mattina and Paul Cody - he’s president of Counsel Financial. He used to head up JoRon. But I'm sure that's just a coincidence, too. Right?

Updated: 7:00 AM ET February 18
Legislator Morton hospitalized

People of all political stripes across Western New York are scrambling for details about the condition of Erie County Legislator Ted Morton, who was discovered unresponsive in the early morning hours Wednesday. The well-liked freshman Republican legislator was admitted to St. Joe's hospital and there's not much more information available. Please say a prayer for Ted's full recovery and for his family as they endure this trying time.

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