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Chasing Pigeon: Past Is Prologue

Steve Pigeon

Steve Pigeon

In making his case that Responsible New York—the political committee endowed with five million of Tom Golisano’s dollars and operated by former Erie County Democratic Party chairman Steve Pigeon—coordinated illegally with the committees of the candidates it supported, Sam Hoyt supporter Jeremy Toth refers back to North District Common Councilmember Joe Golombek’s primary challenge to Hoyt in 2004:

In that campaign, Steve Pigeon directed the expenditures of hundreds of thousands of dollars against Sam Hoyt on behalf of his opponent Joe Golombek. These expenditures, all derived from the PAC Renew NYS, which was funded primarily by then County Executive Joel Giambra, far exceeded all campaign contribution limits.

Here’s Toth’s full complaint against Pigeon and Responsible New York, which he sent to the district attorneys of Erie, Monroe, and Albany counties. Toth hopes that the circumstantial case he makes that Responsible New York staff coordinated its activities with the Barbra Kavanaugh campaign—a felony—will compel the DAs to take a closer look at Pigeon and company.

Hoyt filed a complaint about the Golombek campaign and Renew NYS with the state Board of Elections in September 2004 and followed with documentation a month later, but received no response after nine months. So he wrote the Board of Elections again. Finally, in January 2006, the Board of Elections closed the complaint against Golombek—because in the interim, Renew NYS had changed its filing status from a PAC to a a multi-candidate committee, under which its illegal activities would have been legal.

Except that Renew NYS was a PAC when it spent money against Hoyt. “It’s a little like making a horse thief simply return a stole horse after winning the Kentucky Derby with it,” Hoyt wrote to the NYSBOE in response. The message, he said, was: Break the law with impunity during the campaign, apologize later, and skate away scot-free.

Pigeon has a history of skating away from campaign finance shenanigans. Take, for example, People for Accountable Government, another PAC controlled by Pigeon.  People for Accountable Government started funneling donations and buying ads and literature for candidates in September 2007, but did not file a campaign finance disclosure form until July 2008.

That’s a minor (and all too common) infraction, whose piddling nature is somewhat offset by how easy it is simply to comply with the election law. On Monday we’ll explore allegations of more egregious violations.


  • Peter A Reese

    The authors should do a better job of proof reading their grammar, as they switch between the plural “we” and singular “I” without explanation. (Looks like the signatories were rounded up and added after the document was written by Professor Toth.)

    The allegations in the complaint are very weak and clearly insufficient to support a criminal prosecution. Unless someone with inside knowledge gets nervous and turns canary, nothing is going to result from this opus. DA Frank Clark has never seen a politician he thought should be prosecuted. He prefers to go after minority kids who shoplift at the mall and troublesome reporters like Dick Kern.

  • Twixt

    Steve Pigeon is a moron.
    And because he is so stupid, no one takes him seriously; including the D.A.
    However, Joe ill Loser took his money!

    It’s a good thing he can’t buy Peter Reese!

  • Peter A Reese

    Don’t be so sure I can’t be bought. Its hard to sell out when no one is offering you anything.

    So let the bidding begin! No reasonable offers will be refused. Just remember I often wear a wire when I think someone intends to offer me a bribe or propose unethical or criminal activity.

  • Pomeroy

    It’s true; you do wear a wire, but that’s only until the money is delivered.
    Then you erase the tapes.
    (At least that’s what Judy Einach told us!)
    How else could anyone afford to eat at Fiamma’s?

  • Mr. Bumble

    I think the bidding might begin.
    Pigeon might land in a heap of trouble.
    If he had any smarts he’d hire Peter Reese.

    I guess that leaves Peter Reese out.

  • Judy Einach

    Keep my name out of this! I don’t have a clue what Peter does with info. I just like his sense of humor and his Don Quixote dedication to clean government.

  • Peter A Reese

    Judy Einach:

    I prefer a Ralph Nader analogy to Don Quixote. After all, I do win one every now and then (but only when the facts and the law are both on my side).

  • Mr.Bumble

    Hey Pete what do you want?
    Just because you always have the facts on your side doesn’t mean you’ll also have the law on your side.
    And Don Quixote is the perfect analogy for this column about Pigeon.
    Tom Golisano’s dollars are being spent to control the area where the new windmills are to be built.
    Tom Golisano bought the factory to produce the new windmill parts.

    Golisano and Pigeon could not care less about reform or the law.
    That’s for people like you and Judy.

  • Twixt

    Toth should show the famous “Kavanaugh for State Senate” ads as a demonstration of how Pigeon was coordinating off his / or her web site.

  • http://jeremytoth@roadrunner.com Jeremy Toth

    Actually, the Kavanaugh for State Senate ad is in the packet of information I sent to Frank Clark. Just so everyone knows, I also sent the packet of information to the District Attorney’s in Monroe County and Albany County. Pete Reese is, as usual, pretty insightful here. The other lawyers who signed on to this letter did so after I had written the letter. Also, I agree with Peter that in and of itself the information I have provided does not convict anyone of “coordination” beyond a reasonable doubt. BUT Peter implies that there is a possibility that someone from inside the campaign turns canary. If that were to happen I am convinced multiple people would be on the hook and would face criminal charges. And that COULD happen if one of these district attorney’s office makes some phone calls. Finally, I continue to gather information that will be turned over to the District Attorney’s office.

  • Pomeroy

    This should be a Top Priority for the District Attorney’s office in Albany County.
    It’s very obvious that there was coordination.
    His sworn duty is to prove who was behind it.

    The D.A. doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist; it is a very simple case.

  • Mr. Bumble

    Jeremy Toth, the D. A. in Albany, and Peter Reese may each have the facts on their various sides; but doesn’t mean they will also have the law on their side.

    Pigeon understands that if you have Golisano’s money on your side; you are the law!

    I wonder the Buffalo New’s cracker jack reporter, Tom Precious, will keep track of; “what the District Attorney’s office in Albany County does and doesn’t do?”

  • Mr. Bumble

    Jeremy Toth, the D. A. in Albany, and Peter Reese may each have the facts on their various sides; but it doesn’t mean they will also have the law on their side.

    Pigeon understands that if you have Golisano’s money on your side; you are the law!

    I wonder if the Buffalo New’s cracker jack reporter, Tom Precious, will keep track of; “what the District Attorney’s office in Albany County does and doesn’t do?”

  • Twixt

    Mr. Bumble, you’re repeating yourself.
    Careful on that trigger finger; you’re starting to sound like the Mayor.

    According to Artvoice, the above was; “a minor (and all too common) infraction, whose piddling nature is somewhat offset by how easy it is simply to comply with the election law. On Monday we’ll explore allegations of more egregious violations.”

    Let’s read on Monday what Reese and Toth have to say about that.
    In the mean time; get a look at Matt Quinn’s behind the scenes film of the second floor!
    That’s Casey pictured there in the first frame at the top of the page.
    He was just told his neighbor could keep her garden; including the wolfsbane.
    Not good news for lycanthropes…

  • Mr. Bumble

    I saw Casey on the 14th (Full Moon) and on the 17th and he looked like that on both days.
    It has nothing to do with Holloween.
    I,m surprised Matt Quinn was able to film him!
    I never thought that Casey could cast a reflection.

  • Pomeroy

    Lycanthropes, are mythological or folkloric humans with the ability to shapeshift into wolves or wolf-like creatures, either purposely, being bitten by another werewolf or after being placed under a curse. This transformation is often associated with the appearance of the full moon, as popularly noted by the medieval chronicler Gervase of Tilbury, although it may have been recognized in earlier times among the ancient Greeks through the writings of Petronius…

    And now Steve Casey has gone and given them a bad name.

    Judy Einach is correct when she says; “I hope Peter Reese carries some silver bullets in his legal briefs…”

  • ace

    Casey, unbelievable Mayor Brown really is just a suit, Casey is the manipulative wannabe in the background pulling all the strings.

  • Twixt

    No one gets it so I’ll have to explain.

    Byron Brown is a completely normal career politician.
    When the moon is full; he turns into Steve Casey.
    That’s why Casey is “Vice Mayor.”

    Pigeon is Igor, he always opposes the townfolk before being the first one torched.
    And Doctor Golisanostein always trys to help humanity by creating monsters.

    This is the reason why these people keep building moats around themselves.
    This is why the movies all end the same way.

    In the end; Buffalo will be saved.

  • Pomeroy

    Twixt, Buffalo doesn’t need to be saved; it needs to be reversed.

    Our highest tax system in the nation pays $17,000 per student per year for an education.
    And good jobs do exist.
    They exist in areas where the taxes are not as high.
    So the students we paid over $200,000 for a high school education leave for those jobs.
    That is why this is one of the systems that dooms this area to failure.

    The few good jobs in this area are the political ones that run these systems.
    Responsible N.Y. recognizes that fact and only asks to control the political system.
    Therefore owning people like Pigeon and Casey only makes sense.

    Today is October 22; what has been Responsible N.Y.’s position on education?
    Don’t know?
    What is their position on any of the other issues?

    Toth is right; Responsible N.Y. did illegally coordinate.
    And Peter Reese is correct; ” DA Frank Clark has never seen a politician he thought should be prosecuted. He prefers to go after ….. troublesome reporters like Dick Kern.”

    Now, if only the townsfolk could get together and chase the monsters out of our city.
    Wasn’t that the original intent for haloween.
    Or has “Beggars Night” (October 30) become our personal Ground Hog Day?

  • Mr. Bumble

    I’m becoming frightened 9 days ahead of time or 13 days ahead of time depending on how you look at it.

    Either way I’m hoping Judy Einach’s right and Toth and Reese have silver bullets.

    Otherwise Pigeon-Casey will be yelling “trick or trick!” 4 days after halloween.