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Chasing Pigeon: The Bad Reporter

The Buffalo edition of the September 9 Niagara Falls Reporter, with Sam Hoyt on the cover. These copies, according to the guy whose car trunk this is, sleep with dead presidents now.

The Buffalo edition of the September 9 Niagara Falls Reporter, with Sam Hoyt on the cover. These copies, according to the guy whose car trunk this is, sleep with dead presidents now.

In this week’s Niagara Falls Reporter, editor Mike Hudson writes:

Speaking of the Buffalo News, you may have noticed that Bob McCarthy — who seems to be assigned to the Tom Golisano beat — didn’t write a word about the Buffalo Sabres owner’s $10 million gift to Niagara University a couple of weeks ago.

It was the largest financial endowment in the august 152-year history of the venerable institution, after all.

But I think I have it figured out. McCarthy is paid by Warren Buffett and who knows who else not to report on Golisano in any generally accepted use of the term. In reality, he makes his money by smearing Golisano at every opportunity.

Anyway, we’ll see whether he writes about it next week when grand larceny charges against the sole source he used in attempting to harm the reputation of the Niagara Falls Reporter in a fraudulent Sept. 28 News story are filed by the Niagara Falls Police Department.

We’re guessing he won’t, since the charges will serve to completely discredit his earlier attempt at journalism.

As a rule, I won’t rush to the defense of the Buffalo News generally or Bob McCarthy specifically. And, though I don’t much care for the politics of Steve Pigeon, who so far has spent $3,283,730.06 of his patron’s money this election season, I do like Tom Golisano. (What’s not to like? The Sabres are winning. His company prints my paycheck twice a month. He’s pro-windpower, anti-casino, and the Buffalo Niagara Partnership leadership hates him.) But I wonder why Hudson thinks a political reporter like McCarthy should write about a donation to a university? What was wrong with Jay Rey’s front-page, above-the-fold Buffalo News story on October 8? Was that insufficient coverage of the gift?

No, it’s that “fraudulent Sept. 28 News story” that draws Hudson’s bile. Former Reporter publisher Bruce Battaglia accused Hudson of taking money from Pigeon in exchange for editorial services rendered—two attack pieces on Sam Hoyt, for example, and a piece promoting Joe Mesi—and McCarthy wrote a piece about the resulting squabble. Hudson, meantime, convinced the Reporter’s board and shareholders that Battaglia was stealing money from the paper. Hudson and the paper’s soon-to-be-new publisher voted to kick Battaglia off the three-member board; then, using proxy votes obtained from the majority of the paper’s shareholders, the two fired Battaglia as publisher. Whether or not this sad family drama will actually end in criminal charges remains to be seen. I hope not, for the karmic health of all parties.

At the shareholders meeting in which Battaglia was fired, Hudson acknowledged that Pigeon had in fact paid for an extra press run and expanded distribution of an edition sporting a cover story about Hoyt’s affairs with interns. (At least, that was the cover in Buffalo—the papers distributed in Niagara Falls that week had Mayor Paul Dyster on the cover. Hudson claimed Pigeon had not paid for the extra expense for printing separate covers.) Responsible New York, the committee funded by Golisano and directed by Pigeon, supports Mesi and opposed Hoyt in his primary against Barbra Kavanaugh. So Pigeon’s motive in picking up the tab is clear.

The extra papers and distribution could not have cost too much, in any case; the bill certainly did not approach the $5,000 mark, at which point Responsible New York would be required by state election law to itemize the expense.

Here’s the germane paragraph:

Whenever a person or entity, such as a consultant acting on behalf of a committee which supports or opposes candidates for any pubic office or party position or which supports or opposes any proposition, subcontracts for finished goods or services, the treasurer of the committee shall, in addition to reporting the expenditure made to such consultant or agent, report the name, address and amount expended to each person or entity providing such goods or services the cost of which exceeds, in the case of a committee supporting candidates for statewide office, $ 10,000 and all other committees, $ 5,000.

Leave aside whatever petty cash Pigeon has thrown Hudson’s way for advertisements, extra papers, and extended distribution. There’s no crime there except against journalistic sensibilities.

But that provision of the election law suggests that Responsible New York should itemize and report payouts over $5,000 by limited liability corporations like Landen Associates (a consulting firm controlled by Pigeon), which spent $93,103 of Golisano’s money on print ads in the last month alone. And what about New York Media Strategies (controlled by Pigeon associate Jack O’Donnell), which has spent $1,286,000 of Golisano’s money in the last month on TV advertising? Certainly some of those expenditures exceeded $5,000.

The law allows Responsible New York to file itemized breakdowns of its consultants’ spending on behalf of candidates after the election, but don’t count on that happening: This section of New York election law is routinely ignored. (A source at the local board of elections said Eliot Spitzer was the only candidate to have complied in recent years.) And Responsible New York did not file such reports after the September’s primary election, as the law requires.

More on Pigeon’s bad reporting on Thursday.

  • “Hudson claimed Pigeon had not paid for the extra expense for printing separate covers.”

    there was no extra expense for the two covers. i’ve got the bills.

    i wouldn’t know about any of this “karmic health” bullshit, but do know about the grand larceny laws in the state of new york.

    david staba, who of course is “the guy whose car trunk this is,” better watch his ass because i’m finding myself more and more interested in getting into the junk business down in darien center.

  • Wrong car trunk.

    Nice deal on the extra cover.

  • hey geoff….the one sided account concerning what i said at the stockholders meeting leads me to believe what i do about your source, who was at the meeting and is employed by your publication.

    i wrote two stories about hoyt and one about mesi, who has been a friend of the paper since we started and has appeared numerous times on the cover of the niagara falls reporter.

    our former publisher is going to be criminally charged in this case, yet somehow i am being portrayed as the bad guy by you, mccarthy and alan bedenko at buffalo pundit. this doesn’t really make any sense to me, and leads me to question the motivation behind the attacks.

    i can tell you that to golisano has appeared on the cover of the reporter exactly one time, and the story was a puff piece staba did that i objected to. staba enjoyed sitting in golisano’s box at sabres games, if i recall correctly. i can also tell you that i did everything i could to help staba following his two drunk driving arrests while working as an independent contractor for the paper, and even sent a falls building contractor up to buffalo to put in a new sewer line at his dilapidated house.

    the buffalo news has now printed as many stories attempting to discredit me as i printed containg the email texts between sam hoyt and the young broad he was banging in albany. if they do one more, they will have done as many as i wrote about hoyt and mesi combined.

    it kind upsets the mrs., but if the only thing a hipster such as yourself living in a hip town like buffalo can find to write about is me, knock yourself out.

    by the way, my new book MOB BOSS: A BIOGRAPHY IN BLOOD will hit the bookstores on November 7. It is the first book-length account of stefano magaddino and the rise and fall of the buffalo mob from the 1920s through the 1980s, and costs just $19.95!

  • Twixt

    Mr. Hudson, take a time out!
    There’s no doubt about whose trunk that is!
    And “odds are” 2 to 1 that he’s reading this.

    The last time I saw him he was paying the kids at Delta Sonic some extra money to clean his trunk.
    He told them he hit a deer.

    I’m sure he’ll be buying your book…

  • Peter A Reese

    Tom Golisano may be the best thing to happen to Western NY in the last several generations. He is hated by the Partnership/Buffalo Club axis because he actually spends some of his own money on his projects. Our other business leader pretenders always need a handout of my public money before they will attempt anything.

    However, I have to question Golisano’s seeming total reliance on Pigeon for his political consultation. There is no question that the work done by the Citizens for Fiscal Integrity PAC was extremely sloppy and often haphazard. I seriously doubt any criminal intent, but a there were way too many loose ends which never got any follow up. (People for Accountable Government was better, but not great.) Seems like Steve was counting on the continued negligence of the State Board of Elections in monitoring and regulating such activities. This is an extremely risky tack for an outside rabble rouser who needs to have a well developed sense of paranoia to survive. In Mesi’s case, it left the door open for Commissioners Ward and Mohr to make political hay with simple accounting and reporting matters which never should have been open to any serious discussion. The net result will cost a lot of money and effort to remedy.

    A well intentioned guy with as much money and class as Golisano deserves to be advised by someone with better technical skills and more concerned about protecting his patron’s ass.

  • Mr. Bumble

    People don’t give Pigeon the credit he deserves.
    Who else but Steve Pigeon could have united the Democrats and Republicans during an election cycle?
    Who else but Steve Casey could have united the City?

    Have these people coordinated illegally? Of course they have.
    But so what?
    They only people they’ve managed to damage are themselves.

    Our concern should be; what would happen if they ever coordinated mentally!

  • Twixt

    As someone said; Goloisano pretends to be unaware of what everyone is telling him, and prepares to throw Pigeon “under the bus if the going gets rough!”

  • wow! artvoice readers/writers seem spectacularly well-informed about what people they don’t even know are thinking! i’ve never seen anything like it!

  • Twixt

    Stating the obvious;
    Artvoice readers, by definition, are spectacularly well-informed!
    And we don’t even know what people are [or could be] thinking!
    And we have never seen anything like it:

    The Niagara Falls Reporter dropped thousands of copies of their paper at the local distributing points of Artvoice, the Buffalo Rocket, the Riverside Review and Hispano Panorama (Sam Hoyt’s 144 Assembly District).
    The Niagara Falls Reporter made their drops on Tuesdays.
    The newspapers listed above begin their distributions on Wednesdays.
    The newspapers simply collected the free copies of the Reporter.
    That is why no one ever got to see an issue of the Reporter.
    I have THOUSANDS of copies of the Reporter from those two weeks, and I don’t have a relationship with any of the newspapers!

    So your comment; “wow! artvoice readers/writers seem spectacularly well-informed about what people they don’t even know are thinking! i’ve never seen anything like it!” Is absolutely 100% correct!


  • Mr. Bumble

    The Gold Medal Answer in all of this goes to NYS Assemblyman Sam Hoyt.
    When asked about his victory the Assemblyman said; “If Tom Golisano would have spent $5 million on Daniel Briere or Chris Drury, we would have a Stanley Cup!”

    Hoyt stated; “His money was poorly spent.”

  • for the record…the niagara falls reporter had absolutely nothing to do with the distribution of those copies in buffalo. the customer picked up their copies at the printer and took them i don’t know where. this week, our cover subject is buffalo boxer paul marinaccio and his upcoming nov. 15 title fight here in the falls. we distributed those ourselves, putting them where the proprietors of the various businesses we left them at told us to put them.

    your comment is interesting though. if, as you say, “no one ever got to see an issue of the Reporter,” why the fuck are geoff kelly, bob mccarthy and alan bedenko making such a big goddamn deal out of it?

  • Twixt

    “if, as you say, “no one ever got to see an issue of the Reporter,” why are geoff kelly, bob mccarthy and alan bedenko making such a big deal out of it?”

    I said it because when I delivered what I thought was a giant collection, I found out that everyone else had me beat.
    I’m sure a few copies made it out.
    I sent kelly, mccarthy and bedenko 2 copies each.

    The stuff you put out was very good, it was nothing personal, but professionally speaking; you should have put it out on Fridays.

    And you could remind people; “there’s always next time!”

  • funny story about coming out on tuesdays. we used to come out on thursdays like a normal weekly but david staba convinced our soon-to-be-criminally-charged former publisher that it would be better to come out on tuedays so that his riveting two-day-old buffalo bills coverage would still be “fresh.” it was a dumb idea, but our former publisher thought it brilliant. i wonder if david’s making the same pitch to jamie?

  • And did I mention that my new book MOB BOSS: A BIOGRAPHY IN BLOOD will come out a week from Friday, on November 7, and will be available at Barnes & Noble, on and at the finest independent bookstore in Western New York, the Book Corner on Main Street in Niagara Falls? You can even order signed copies direct through the Niagara Falls Reporter!

  • Twixt

    I am definitely going to get a copy of “MOB BOSS: A BIOGRAPHY IN BLOOD!”
    And I suggest that after you put few excerpts in the Reporter, a few others will too.

    Now those are the issues of the Reporter that you should drop into Buffalo!

  • thanks twixt…I”ll alsobe appearing at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland at 7:30 p.m. on November 29 to read from and sign copies of my recent memoir, DIARY OF A PUNK, desribed by renowned rock critic Ira Robbins as “Riveting, rattling and detailed … full of death-defying tales, angry Cleveland brio and self-inflected disasters. It’s truly as punk as the band ever was.”

    Copies of the book are available for purchase at the Hall of Fame gift shop, or may be ordered direct at the Niagara Falls Reporter!

  • “More on Pigeon’s bad reporting on Thursday.”