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Who Is Syaed Ali? And What Did He Do to Make Mayor Byron Brown So Angry?

At seven o’clock on the morning of November 7, Syaed Ali and his family were awakened by a team of Buffalo police officers bearing a search warrant. The warrant, signed by Buffalo City Court Judge Craig Hannah one week earlier, accused Ali of aggravated harassment and empowered police to search his home and seize any and all electronic equipment—computers, discs, cell phones, etc.—that might provide evidence of the charge. Police searched Ali’s home, carted away boxes of seized material, and took him downtown for questioning, without an arrest warrant, without reading him his rights, without allowing him to contact relatives or an attorney.

Two months later, Ali hasn’t been charged and he can’t get his possessions returned.

The person that Ali says he was accused of harassing: Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.

When Ali asked that morning if he was under arrest, Mike McCartney, an investigator with the New York State Attorney General’s office, told him that he was—for computer fraud. Later Buffalo Police Detective Anna Mydlarz told someone else in the house that he was under arrest for aggravated harassment.

Authorities later claimed he was never actually arrested, but Ali’s lawyer, Richard Grimm III of the firm of Magavern Magavern & Grimm, says Ali felt as if he was in custody and could not leave. “He certainly doesn’t feel as if it was voluntary,” Grimm said of Ali’s subsequent trip downtown for questioning. “He apparently asked, ‘Am I under arrest?’ and they said, ‘No.” And he asked, ‘Can I leave?’ and they said, ‘No.’ It certainly sounds like a custodial interrogation when they won’t let him go.”

Police gave Ali a receipt for 16 items that they had seized. Ali says he counted 42 items, including material not covered by the warrant: credit cards, bank statements, checks, business records—not just Ali’s but those of his brother and father—even personal effects, including deodorant. Buffalo police took Ali down to Buffalo branch office of the New York State Attorney General in the Main Place Tower, according to documents his lawyers filed in December. There he was questioned and accused of various crimes, including harassment. When that interrogation was over, he was taken to the local FBI office, where an agent asked him a few questions and then let him go. Ali was never read his rights. When he asked if he could talk to a lawyer, Ali says, he was told that if he spoke with a lawyer they’d charge him with a crime. He asked if he could talk to a relative, and he was told he could not. When he asked if he could leave, he was told that if he left they would arrest him and charge him with a crime.

Eventually, at about 2:30 that same afternoon, Ali was released from custody. He says he was told by authorities not to tell anyone about what had happened. He was told that if his family asked what had happened, to tell them it was a case of identity theft and they had the wrong guy. He says he was told that if he talked to a lawyer or the media, he’d be arrested and charged with aggravated harassment.

Two months later Ali still has not been charged with any crime and authorities still have all the property they seized from him and his family.  He was told that his electronics remain in possession of Detective Mydlarz of the Buffalo Police Department and were being tested “off-site.”

Mydlarz did not return a call on the matter. Buffalo Police Department spokesman Mike DeGeorge said, “We would not comment on an ongoing investigation.” Asked if that meant there was an ongoing investigation, he said he would neither confirm nor deny that. When asked whether logic dictated that there must be an ongoing investigation if he was refusing to comment on it, DeGeorge said, “Listen again to my response” and repeated it. (Asked if he would comment if there was not an ongoing investigation, DeGeorge said, “I imagine our response would be the same.”)

Grimm  says that his firm has been unable to find an affidavit on which the search warrant was based. Ordinarily, a judge needs some sort of sworn statement to justify issuing a warrant. If there is one, no one has been willing to provide it to Ali’s lawyers.

“From a criminal procedure standpoint, that’s critical, so we’re trying to figure that out,” Grimm said. “There’s clearly some peculiarity, something unusual about the way the search warrant was issued, and I haven’t figured out why or how or what it is exactly yet.”

Peter Cutler, the mayor’s communications director, declined to comment on the matter, saying it was a police issue. He would neither confirm nor deny that the mayor had made a complaint against Ali that led to the warrant signed by Hannah. But Ali has no doubt that’s what he’s been accused of. He just doesn’t know what he did to deserve the accusation.

The warrant itself is sloppily written, accusing Ali of “Aggravated harassment, in violation of Penal Law Section 240.31-1”—a section of the law that covers damage to premises used for religious purposes. For his part, Judge Hannah won’t say whether or not he signed the warrant, claiming he has no recollection of the event. He told AV he’d only look into his files to see if he’d signed the warrant if ordered by a court.

Grimm says his firm sent letters to authorities inquiring into the status of Ali’s possessions. He says the firm tried to contact Mydlarz, who he was told was in charge of the investigation. Grimm says neither Mydlarz nor any other representative of the Buffalo Police Department have returned those calls. He has asked for the name of a prosecuting attorney and received no response. Both the FBI and the New York State Attorney General’s office have told Ali’s lawyers that it is a city matter and they have no interest in the case, and that Ali’s possessions are in the custody of the Buffalo Police Department.

On December 10, Ali’s lawyers filed a notice of claim against the City of Buffalo seeking to recover his property. They’ve received no response to that filing, either.

“They came to my house,” Ali said. “They made frivolous claims that are just not true. They’re making the accusations that I was harassing the mayor, and I did no such things. They used the cops, they filed false reports with the New York State Attorney General’s office and the FBI. I fully intend on suing them.”

So what did Syaed Ali do to precipitate this trampling of his rights? Who is Syaed Ali that someone, allegedly the mayor, should want to raid his house and take his computers?

Ali is a frequent email correspondent with city officials; most recently he sent a spate of emails criticizing the Brown administration for approving the JW Pitts Properties proposal for a waterfront hotel in the Erie Basin Marina. In those emails he used words like “sham,” “fraudulent,” “corruption,” and “malfunction of judgment.” Harsh, but hardly threats of the sort that constitute harassment. Others who have been copied on Ali’s emails tell AV that nothing they’d read rose to the level of a threat or of harassment. Ali calls his emails “informational” in nature.

Ali has also been active in Democratic politics: In 2007 he formed a committee to run for Erie County Legislature against incumbent Betty Jean Grant; the challenge was self-funded and ineffective—Grant successfully challenged his petitions and Ali did not make it on the primary ballot. Last summer he was a member of the Buffalo branch of the movement to draft New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to run for president. A couple local pols told AV that Ali was considering a challenge to State Senator Antoine Thompson last fall, at the behest of the Len Lenihan/Sam Hoyt faction of the local Democratic Party. Ali, too, says he was considering running against Thompson, but insists it was his own decision, and that he’d never done any serious political work for the Hoyt/Lenihan faction.

In any case, Ali did not run against Thompson, who maintains at least a nominal alliance with Mayor Byron Brown. (The widening breach between Thompson and Brown is grist for another mill, on another day.) So again: What did Ali do last fall to earn the mayor’s enmity?

Those same pols and their operatives suggested to AV that Ali may have been behind an anonymous August email campaign suggesting that the mayor led a secret gay life. Or perhaps Ali had run another anonymous email campaign, under the name “Save Buffalo,” demanding that Brown and Deputy Mayor Steve Casey resign by August 19 or face revelations that would prompt a common uprising against the administration. That, of course, did not happen, nor did the allegations that Brown is a closeted gay amount to anything.

Ali denies any part in those emails. He says that he’s done nothing wrong. (So, for the record, does his mother, who described the search of the family’s house as “armed robbery.”) “These are very bad people,” said Ali, whose reluctance to compromise any future legal action by talking to AV was undone somewhat by the aggravation of what has happened to him. “If they can do it to me, they’ll do it to anybody.”

More on this story soon.

  • Twixt

    There is a Big Difference between Russia and Buffalo;

    Russia is no longer run by the Communist Party!

  • keith borders

    This does not surprise me by the the Brown Administration.My rights were also violated when his Spokesman Hit me sitting at a red light while on my Motorcycle.He was drunk upon arrest which he was not charged for,was charged with Hit-N-Run/injuries which just 3 days after the accident walked on a Disorderly Conduct Charge.When spotted after fleeing his vehicle standing on a sidewalk a few blocks away from his car,told by Police to stop he runs to a backyard and tries hiding under a car,charge for that > Obstruction of Governmental Administration.
    My rights were violated in that plea deal because I nor my Lawyer were ever notified of that court date.That law was found by me after intense search of the Internet.It was under the Attorney Generals Web site under Crime Victims Bill Of Rights Act,642(1)which basically states that I was to be their at court to give the Judge my side of the story before the Judge can Render his Verdict.
    So I can vouch for someones rights being Violated by the City of Buffalo and when Brown was asked by Channel 2 News about it,His view was he stands by his spokesman and what he says.
    I also had a very nice conversation with the Former District Attorney,Frank Clark in which he told me that it was Bull, that Cutler didn’t get charged with the D.W.I. and I also told him that, him not being charged with the D.W.I.,that it would ultimately hurt my Civil Case and he stated yes it will.I must say that Frank Clark seemed very straight up and Truthful with me and my Conversation about the Mayor’s Spokesman’s Peter K Cutler’s Hit-N-Run/injuries case being expedited in just 3 days after accident.I was told that he was a young lawyer and that he never checked with his supervisor before allowing that Plea to take place,and that Lawyer does not work for the District Attorney’s Office anymore.
    I emailed the mayor a couple times with no responce// No Surprise Their either.
    I’m sure there is more stories out there such as these…
    I should also note that I had to have neck surgery and now after having a Disco Gram done on my back,which was so painful,I would never ever do that again,every level in my lower-back is screwed… I do want to say that I did have a Herniated Disc before this but was able to work,with some mild pain medication at American Harley-Davidson.I also found out that the cadaver bone which was used in my neck is starting to dissolve after 2 years and now causing me more pain again in the neck from that happening.It looks like I will need another surgery from that,but have not herd from my surgeon as of yet.
    Andrew Cappuccino an Excellent Surgeon and Down to earth guy,and the cadaver bone is out of his control.

  • Pomeroy

    Syaed Ali is lucky he lives in Buffalo.
    If he lived in Lackawanna he would have been blindfolded, flown to a place just outside of Las Vegas that had a sign stating “Welcome to Cuba” and water boarded by a couple of Brown Shirts under the control of Dominatrix Jessica Maglietto and her Silly-Stat assistant Tom Smith.

    Later, Jessica would report to Donna Brown on a televised episode of Silly-Stat that Ali had confessed to believing that he had a so-called “Right” to form his own opinions without getting prior approval by Steve Casey.

    Mike DeGeorge would then state that he could not confirm or deny that there were such things as individual rights and therefore H. McCraken Gipson should selectively enforce some laws against him.

    The final “Just and Fair” verdict would be:
    Syaed would have to drive home using only side streets after a 2 inch snowfall while being chased by Maglietto and Cutler in a City owned vehicle.
    Cutler would be issued a bottle of vodka and Maglietto would be given one of Lukasiewicz’s personal jockey whips.
    Syaed would also be given a cell phone that could only dial 311 for help and his vehicle would have 2 speakers that couldn’t be turned off.
    One would replay Byron Brown saying “um” over and over again.
    The other would replay Lukasiewicz asking “Where’s your Constitution now baby?”

    If Syaed made it home he could return to Yemen and tell them the stories about OZ were true!
    If Maglietto caught him he would be sentenced to live in Buffalo for the remaining 11 months of the Brown administration and given a ticket for parking in a snow bank.

  • Mr. Bumble

    Obama’s been Loudin’; Syaed it isn’t so!

    If it’s true, it’s terrible to think that in this day and age, a black mayor elected by a white majority, would think he could take advantage of an opponent because he has an Arabic sir name.

    Years ago, An Old Persian told me; “When you hear of Osama Bin Ladin you shouldn’t worry too much, It’s only when you hear My Momma’s Been Yellin’ that you should!”

  • Mr. Justice

    Change with the times pal, not everyone with Arabic sounding name is Arabic is foreign born or a terrorist, and secondly this is a serious a matter, someone should call the FBI public corruption unit

  • Dick Kern

    This is a VERY serious issue, Hopefully further responses will avoid the flippancy of some posts above.

    Exposure of this episode follows the Mayor’s recent highly unethical involvement in eliminating Harvey Garrett from the WSNHS Board.

    Some assume this dramatically extreme response is a reaction to rumors circulating about the Mayor last summer. Here is one response from a blogger . .


    There was a pretty nasty email campaign going out to all of the media last fall, accusing Brown of homosexual activity, having tapes, wife involved – really seriously crazy stuff. If this guy is it, he’s in trouble. If I were Michelle Brown, I wouldn’t want the stuff out there, wildly fictional or not. This could be about that. How to prosecute the originator and protect your wife? It would be understandable. (End Quote)

    Apparently this illegal & unethical response was about the nasty attacks, but it must be vigorously challenged.

    After Byron Brown went before media with his police commissioner & blatantly lied about Byron Jr’s late nite demo derby, then punished “Betty T” for complaining about her daughter’s destroyed truck, he set a very low threshold for truth.

    The ongoing cover-up of Peter Cutler’s dramatic Oct 15, 2005 DWI-hit-&-run encounter with Keith Borders (described above) adds to the morass.

    There is indeed no way to trace emails in this new technology??

    And why has the media silent about the vicious attacks on the Mayor??

    When I exposed then IP Chair & BMHA Commissioner Chas Flynn’s FHA flip scams in 2001, he (a widely documented sociopath) used about 12 anonymous email addresses to attack me & his other enemies, including charging me with sex with various children & my own daughters. The same police detective (Mydlarz) kept “losing” my info shared with them, & then, too, a City Judge (Ogden) & Sharon West facilitated the cover-up & relentless prosecution of me on false charges.

    The system is broken, I fear.

    What will new DA Frank Sedita do to correct Bflo’s very high tolerance for political corruption?

  • Welcome to the banana republic of Buffalo.

    Please see 42 USC 1983, statute of limitations, three years.

    As a I said in my book, the political class has seized control of the “legal command posts of society,” to protect themselves and screw their enemies.

    That kind of power can get you out of trouble you deserve to be in or into trouble you don’t deserve.

    (The Criminal Procedure Law tightly regulates search warrants.)

  • Twixt

    Harvey Garrett refused to be another brick in the wall and was politically erased by his opponents, but Syaed Ali had no appointed or elected authority and should have been left to his own devices.

    People are asking why the Mayor did this, he should have kept it quiet.
    But people are forgetting: this was kept quiet;
    until Artvoice exposed it.

  • keith borders

    Twixt you sound like you would rather live in a communist country or think this is one.
    Free speech is what this country is about and people like this should be exposed.
    I bet you work for the Mayor.

  • Twixt

    Keith, Just because someone works for the Mayor doesn’t mean you have to agree with him.
    And sometimes the end does justify the means.
    Buffalo has more than its fair share of obstructionists
    and sometimes you have to run over a few, (by accident if necessary).

    Now that’s just being honest and not being politically correct.
    Are you and Mr. Ali being as honest?

  • Pomeroy

    Mr. Kern is correct;
    I should not have been so flippant about this, but Twixt does pose a good question.
    How do we know Borders or Ali are being forthright?
    Are we seeing both sides of the coin?
    Like him or not, doesn’t the Mayor have a right to defend himself?
    Jim Ostrowski (The Criminal Procedure Law tightly regulates search warrants.) is giving us his personal opinion,(I’d gladly pay good money for his professional opinion), obviously this search warrant wasn’t “tightly regulated.”

  • keith borders

    Twixt I don’t even know ALI,so I can’t speak on his behalf but after what happen to me with Brown’s Spokesman I would have to believe what he Say’s.
    Like I said earlier that I emailed the Mayor with Cutlers’ Mugshot which if you look at that and look at work photo they look like two totally different people and everybody will see that when this goes to Trial.He was Extremely Drunk when he hit me and ran,and ran until his car would no longer enable him to flee the scene, Yet never charged for that because of who he is and who he knows and also was the previous Mayor’s spokesman for Massello and worked for Cuomo.
    What I do know is that everything I have said is True,and can back it up and will do just that at the trial.

  • Twixt

    I’ve heard Andrew Cappuccino is an Excellent Surgeon and Down to Earth Guy.

    Your attorney should keep in mind that the last thing Cutler’s insurance company wants is a trial by jury.

    I hope your judge was crossed endorsed and didn’t come from inside the City or the Democratic Party.

  • Mr, Justice

    Borders, Kern, and Ali should report this incidence to the FBI public corrpution Unit

  • Pomeroy

    Mr. Justice is right but the Federal Authorities in this area are too political.

    Borders, Kern, and Ali should use area code 202.

    (With Ostrowski’s permission of course).

  • Mr, Justice

    Some should really report this to the U.S. Att. Office

  • TJ

    It sounds like there are many questions that need to be answered in this case and since the Buffalo Police Department and the AG’s office seem to be involved, it may take an independent body to get to the bottom of this issue and whether there is an abuse of power on the side of the police or the Mayor’s office. Since the Buffalo Police Department is involved, and possible the Mayor, the Common Council has a vested interest and an obligation to make sure that there is no abuse of power at play.

    Someone on the Council must show some real leadership and independence to insure that there are no improprieties here. Let’s see if anyone shows the courage to stick up for the little guy rather than play protection politics for the Mayor. If their investigation shows that any actions taken were by the book and justified, than everyone is better for it and the Council will prove that they will use their oversight powers to insure that the public’s best interests are being served and that nobody’s rights are being violated upon.

  • Mr, Justice

    Common Council is far from indp. This is serious stuff same cop two incidences,hit and run by cutler. No one would lie about bone transplant, and being taken hostage, its crazy stuff, we have another Chicago Governor here in Buffalo.

    Someone should call the public corruption in Washington

  • TJ

    Mr. Justice, I somewhat agree but by the time any federal body acts we’ll all be dead. If the Council would take some initiative than it will attract some attention. If there is sometihing that goes beyond the Council’s authority than they can refer it to the proper place at that time.

  • Mr, Justice

    Do you really think the common council will act?

  • TJ

    [Do you really think the common council will act?]

    Yes, if they start getting pressured to do thier job and do some oversight. The members have to understand that their role isn’t just answering garbage and snowplowing complaints. They are more than willing to ask questions with regard to city operations when it comes to stuff like that. They now have to ask questions about whether or not the city police department acted appropriately in this case. I would also be curious to know what the AG’s office has to say about thier involvement.

  • Judy Einach

    Recall the way I was ordered out of City Hall, shortly after this administration took office, for posting a comment on my blog about the mayor’s first 100 days. What I said was nothing that hadn’t been said elsewhere. This administration seems to have a nasty habit of overreacting to criticism; overreacting to a point of at least the perception of abuse of power, and perhaps true abuse of power. For those who don’t remember this incident, I was volunteering for a non-profit, that happened, at the time, to work out of an office in City Hall.

    From my point of view the administration came darn close to trampling on my rights. I was simply told to leave the building. I continued my volunteer work but from home which just made it a little more difficult. I didn’t suffer the trauma Mr. Ali and his family suffered. You’d think if Mr. Ali were guilty of something he would have been charged by now. It sure sounds like his civil rights have been trampled on.

    No one, except real criminals, should live in fear of City Government. Sticks and stones may break our bones, but names will never hurt us. What about this has the current administration forgotten? Apparently we all ought to be walking on eggshells every time we use words, especially when our words aggrevate the administration. Words disappear into thin air. As for rumors of someone’s sexuality, aren’t some politicians the true masters of circulating lies? So what if a rumor circulated. Commendeering private property and holding someone who’s never charged go steps beyond words and innuendo.

    We’ve all heard about the punitive atmosphere in City Hall. Seems that someone in the administration would like that atmosphere to extend well into the community-at-large. How sad.

  • Pomeroy

    It is very clear what happened here.
    Does anyone think that Federal Authorities care what happens in Buffalo?
    Does anyone think that Byron Brown cares what happens in Buffalo?
    Does anyone think that Byron Brown actually gave the orders for something this stupid?
    Does anyone think that it may have been someone else from the second floor?

    I remember reading the Front Page when Judy Einach was removed from City Hall.
    How stupid was that?
    And I remember the Mayor apoligizing, saying that it wasn’t him.
    And I remember how, at that time, Judy gave him the benefit of the doubt.

  • Mr. Justice

    Yeah Byron is that stupid to give orders for such things. Pomeroy must work for the admin.

  • Christi

    i worked for Mr. Ali as an intern, and employee for one of his companies. these above-mentioned allegations are very hard to believe for a guy who preaches to his employees to never do anything “illegal”, “immoral” or “unethical”. Secondly I know that he travels frequently on business, and not sure how he would be sending e-gossip in cars and aiplanes.

    I severely doubt a guy that helped me the way he did and has a high ethical standard would be involved in such a e-mail cmapign, and besides what those people did was wrong. I remember working for him, and my husband became ill resulting in tsking alot of days off in succession and perdiocally , and the other shareholders asked that I be let go for being unreliable. Mr. Ali who was legally obligated to listen to the other shareholders, so he did relieve me of my duties, but he continued to pay my salary from his personal resources, which most would not do, and would not care, but had he not I might be in a homless shelter.

    Also all the ignorant people should realize that this is not some foreign born wack job, as he is a astute multimillionaire businessman that could buy and sell all the bigoted ignorant person bloggers, making slurs.

  • WNYmind

    Sorry AV, but this story is way over the top. Printing this trash is as salacious as the allegations against the Mayor.

    How about a less flashy, but more substantive story about how City Hall is run. Follow the money, read the charter, particularly the part about the OSP director (which the Mayor refuses to appoint), etc… etc…

    This story is just a diversion from the more mundane, but also more sad truth about how mismanaged Buffalo is and how deep patronage goes. I have to wonder if AV wrote this story under the supervision of the Mayor, just to deflect real inquiries into City Hall.

    One thing we all know. It will take more than a solid ethics scandal, or catching someone with their paw in the cookie jar to bring real reform to Buffalo. Ask Sam Hoyt, the Sabres owner, the Wendt Foundation, or anyone else who walked away guilty about that one.

    Peace. WNYmind

  • Mr. Justice

    This is serious stuff,civil rights violations,not a ethics violation.

  • Pomeroy

    Sorry Christi but today is only January 12th, we still have 8 more days to Seinfeld Mr. Ali.

    Then everything changes.

  • Twixt

    WNYmind, where’ve ya been?
    Everyone needs to be reminded that they are all corrupt!

    “If the Mayor’s corrupt; Einach is corrupt!”

  • Mr. Bumble

    The pious and beautiful widow Judith volunteers to deliver the Israelites after rebuking them for losing faith in God when under siege. She goes to the Assyrian camp, pretending to be an informer against her people, and charms their leader, who invites her to a banquet in his tent. At the banquet, their leader becomes drunk and falls asleep. Judith seizes a sword, beheads him, wraps the severed head in a bag, and returns with it to her people. The jubilant Israelites then attack the leaderless Assyrians, who flee in panic. Judith leads her people in a song of celebration and praise, and then all go to Jerusalem to offer thanksgiving.

  • Mr. Justice

    You people probably like your civil rights violated? Bunch Brown Stooges

  • Twixt

    Hey Judy Einach,
    I’ve got the sword for you,
    If you could figure out who the hell their leader is.
    (I think it’s Casey, who the hell else would do something that stupid?)

  • Mr. Bumble

    In the Bible, Judith serves them wine and cheese.
    The salt in the cheese made them thirsty for more wine.
    The wine made them hungry for more cheese.
    They ended up drunk on more than just power.

    That’s how Judith was able to behead the invaders.

    Well, you don’t get any cheesier than the Brown Administration and they are always whining.
    So if Judy Einach wants to meet me on Niagara Street at Porter Ave, I’ll lend her my machete.

    And she can send the invaders back to Queens, where they came from.

  • Pomeroy

    They’re from Queens?
    That makes it too funny!
    Although whining and cheesier wasn’t bad either.

    Queens, get it?
    They’re from QUEENS!

  • WNYMind

    Who is the director of OSP? Why does the economic devopment guru have no economic development training? Why does the Mayor have a bunch of appointed cronies doing jobs that civil servants are already hired to do? Why the duplication? Why do city employees contribute to political campaigns?

    This is the real stuff to focus on, not some fringe story about a computer of a crank who is stalking public officials. Brown, like others, will get a pass on the computer caper, but it is AV giving him a pass on his neglect to follow the City Charter. Read the part of the Charter about the OSP director’s qualifications and requirement to fill the position. Bown has effectively eliminated a position in local government that is required by charter and assigned an unqualified political appointee to do the work of this professional. Why would the Mayor do such a thing? Why would the Mayor use such bad judgement and allow the City to drift over and economic Niagara Falls in a barrel? Were there political favors behind this, payoffs, or is the Mayor just acting illegally out of recklessness?

  • WNYMind: We’ve put a writer on the OSP story. When the people clamor, we answer as best we can. Meantime, I’m sticking with this one for a while. I think there may be more to it than a crank and a salacious rumor.

  • Mr.Justice

    Their seems to be a pattern of Brown doing this to others, and is a serious civil rights issue. Brown hurting citizens is a serious matter, how would you like to be accused of crimes you did not do, and your family attacked, or being hit by a drunk Peter Cutler, and getting away with it, this is more serious than incompetence in City Hall, which has been prevalent since the 1940’s.

  • Mr. Bumble

    AV knows a whole lot more than they are letting on!
    I hope that AV will include me in their list of bidders!


    WNYMIND has the right idea, why has BERC/OSP/ become so much less efficient than it was? I am a client of the BERC that worked with them a few years ago and recently and this has become obvious. Why is it controlled by the Brown Administration when it comes to funding projects? Wasnt it formed to avoid this control so the funding projects was based on worthiness and success rather than who is associated (family/friends)with our elected officials….

  • Twixt

    WNYMind asks, “Were there political favors behind this, payoffs, or is the Mayor just acting illegally out of recklessness?”
    I believe he is right on the money.
    Obviously there were, “political favors behind this” AND ALSO “the Mayor was just acting illegally out of recklessness.”
    Both could have been happening at the same time.
    It all depends on who is really in charge.

    AV stated, “We’ve put a writer on the OSP story.
    When the people clamor, we answer as best we can.
    Meantime, I’m sticking with this one for a while.
    I think there may be more to it than a crank and a salacious rumor.”

    They are also right on all counts.

    I’ve talked to a lot of the people who have been talking to AV.
    I think there is going to be a lot of excitement when AV separates the wheat from the shaft!

    City Hall Handcuffs are about to become a fashion trend on News at 11.

    The Mayor’s are penciled-in for Monday…

  • Lancey Howard

    I’m glad to see that the decision to publish more on this matter has been made.
    Tens of thousands will be reading what the Buffalo News is racing to catch up on.
    I know of two other people who are now going to come forward.
    (Too bad its with the Buffalo News)

    Idon’t think that the Mayor will cancel his news conference at the last second this time around.

    Last time we learned that Steve Casey wasn’t in the line of succession and that Fillmore District Councilmember David Franczyk would become Mayor until after the upcoming elections.

    But what do we know about Franczyk?

    Leecia Eve put her folks on stand by.

    What do we know about Leecia Eve?

  • PugUgly

    I once dreamed of living in the city of buffalo now I dream of putting a couple of thousand miles between me and it.

  • Mr. Bumble

    Fresh off the Artvoice News Stands:

    “Both the FBI and the New York State Attorney General’s office have told Ali’s lawyers that it is a Buffalo Police Department case, that they have no continuing interest in the case, and that Ali’s possessions are in the custody of the Buffalo Police Department.”


    “Ali says he was shown a list of names that included politicians who are opposed to Brown and asked if anyone on the list had put him up to defaming the Mayor.”

    Well if it wasn’t an FBI or an New York State Attorney General’s Office case in the begining; it sure the heck is now!

  • Dick Kern

    So far I have seen only bloggers addressing this very serious issue.

    Where is the ‘mainline’ media???

    Below is commentary by Bruce Jackson (BuffaloReport) & Alan Bedenko (BuffaloPundit). . .


    . . . Syaed Ali criticized Buffalo mayor Byron Brown. At 7 a.m. on a November morning a team of Buffalo cops arrived at his house. They took every electronic gadget they could find, as well as his credit cards and deodorant. They also took Syaed Ali. They took him to the State A.G.’s office and then to the FBI and then to their own HQ. They told him if he asked for a lawyer, asked to see his family or tried to leave he would be charged with a crime. They wouldn’t let him go to the bathroom. After a while they turned him loose but they’ve never returned his property. None of the cops will talk about the event. The judge who issued the search warrant won’t talk about it. Byron Brown won’t talk about it, presumably resting on the principle of res ipsa loquitir,which translates (roughly) as “Why did they give me a police force if not to terrorize people who criticize me?” This is a huge proactive leap for a politician who specializes in smiling at cameras at ribbon cuttings. (15 January 2009)

    Syaed Ali

    January 10th, 2009 News

    At least two people sent me this article from Artvoice, detailing the very disturbing case of one Syaed Ali. Back in November – right after election day – Mr. Ali was served with a search warrant, had many of his personal belongings taken by the police, was alternately told that he was, then wasn’t, charged with a crime, and was threatened with criminal charges if he lawyered up or went to the media.

    Mr. Ali has now done both, and there are massive question marks surrounding the propriety and legality of the search warrant executed against him, and although he has not yet been charged with any crime, his property has not yet been returned to him.

    Why is the city going ballistic against a young Democratic activist like Ali?

    It’s alleged that he was the author of a series of pre-election-day emails sent from anonymous Gmail accounts under the name of a fictitious group called “WNY First” and “Buffalo First”.

    Those emails, which were so defamatory that I was loath to even refer to them here, threatened to release video of Mayor Brown in a scandalous situation. These were sent to every media outlet in town, including and me, and they were hilarious not just in terms of the outrageous allegations being made, but also in the eagerness with which local media – most notably Channel 7 News – wanted those tapes OMG RIGHT NOW! The author of the emails had a habit of replying to individual news outlets’ requests by hitting “reply to all”. I alluded to it once or twice on the site.

    In the end, no tapes were produced, and the whole thing was a small-time exercise in libel and breathless anticipation. I doubt whether any of it was criminal, and at this point it seems to me as if the city and police are just screwing with this guy to get back at him. I don’t quite understand why they’d go all Dick Cheney on him rather than just charge him with a crime or bring a civil action.

    (see 11 Responses to “Syaed Ali”)

  • Dick Kern

    A friend just alerted me to the following two part coverage of this case by Glenn Gramigna

    It raises new troubling questions about massive misconduct by Bflo police. The articles are not dated, apparently published today & yesterday . . .

    COPY, Part II:

    Arrest Or Kidnapping?…Businessman Alleges Officers Tried To Force Him To Implicate Hoyt, Kearns
    Written by Glenn Graminga, Editor


    Exactly why anyone would want to detain 24 year old information technololgy entrepreneur Syaed Ali for political offenses against the Mayor of Buffalo is unclear. Actually, his political associations have been minimal, ranging from a brief spurt of activism in the Satish Mohan campaign for Amherst Supervisor to some casual involvement in the Draft Michael Bloomberg for President movement. It’s true that he briefly flirted with running for the NYS State Senate and the Erie County Legislature but, in the end, did neither.

    “I was just too busy expanding my business,” are the words he uses to explain his relative lack of preoccupation with the political world. Yet, last Nov. 7 he reports that he found himself being pressured by someone who claimed to be a Buffalo Police Officer in the local headquarters of the FBI. The apparent goal: To try to get him to implicate WNY Assemblymember Sam Hoyt and/or Common Council Member and likely 2009 mayoral candidate Mickey Kearns in a slander campaign against Mayor Brown.

    “Look, we have special technologies we can use to make it seem like you implicated them whether you did or not, so you might as well just say it,” Syaed reports a female officer telling him. “So you might as well say it. You’ll feel a lot better.”

    However, according to Syaed, he never did say it, preferring to remind his interrogators that this would be perjury and he would have no part of it. And, though the alleged law enforcement delegation on the scene, continued to refer to him as “a piece of shit…all we have to do his scare him a little more and he’ll say it,” the young man, though admittedly scared and upset, refused to give his captors what they so desperately seemed to want.
    “I told them over and over again that what they were asking me to do is against the law, that it is worse than what they were accusing me of,” he remembers. “But, they just kept asking me the same thing.”

    At times, there were variations on the theme in the form of purported internet chat transcripts.

    “They showed me what they said were transcripts of a conversation between Mayor Brown and Joe Illuzzi in which they were discussing various things,” Syaed recalls. “They kept asking me if I knew anything about it. I told them I didn’t know Joe Illuzzi, though I do look at his site as well as a number of other local sites at times. But, they kept asking me about these transcripts. Then asked me what my relationship was with ‘that new site, you know the one run by that piece of shit, Glenn Gramigalia or whateve his name is.’ I told them I look at that site too and that I had met Glenn a few times but didn’t have any real ‘relationship’ with him.

    “Then they showed me this other transcript that was supposed to be a conversation between the Mayor and some other person which was very graphic and involved other activities. I told them I had never seen it before and didn’t know anything about it. But, that didn’t stop them from continuing to ask me.”

    Meanwhile, back at the Ali family home on Breckenridge, officers were seizing everything from $750 in cash to personal business papers to his mother’s pension documents to tax records and bank statements, despite the fact that the search warrant signed by Judge Hannah only covered computers and related materials. As of press time, none of these materials had been returned, accordng to Syaed. In any case, the Ali family refused to be cowed by the invasion force which had temporarily overwhelmed them. Syaed’s brother eventually made his way to the local offices of the state Attorney General’s office in the Main Place Towers to demand his release.

    Syaed alleges that his captors had an interesting way of handling such potential interruptions.

    “When my brother called me on my cell phone, they told me that he was creating a ruckus and to tell him that this was all a case of identity fraud, that everything was all right and that I’d be home soon and to hang up,” Syaed reports. “Of course, my brother didn’t believe any of it.”

    Denied access to an attorney and any opportunity for honest communication with family members and never read his Miranda rights, according to Syaed, his captors did, amazingly enough, generously offer him the chance to listen in on their personal conferences.

    “They would go in the next room to speak privately, but I could hear every word they said,” he reports. “Finally, the guy from the FBI or the state said to the others, ‘Look, we got involved with this because the Buffalo Police told us there was something here. But, there isn’t any evidence. We don’t want to particpate in this any further. We should just let him go.”

    Eventually, they did at about 2:15pm, he says, after keeping him captive for over seven hours without showing him any arrest warrant and without offering him the chance to eat or go to the bathroom, though the officers present eagerly wolfed down doughnuts and other delicacies in front of him. He al so reports that their manner of address to him was often abusive, referring to him as “you m____r f____r” or “you piece of shit.”

    “Finally, they told me they would let me go and asked me where I wanted to be taken,” Syaed adds. “They told me that if I got an attorney or talked to the media, I’d be arrested. I told them to drop me off at the Main Place Mall and they did. That’s where my brother picked me up.”

    But, that has not been the end of it. In fact, Syaed HAS engaged the services of a prominent local attorney who has filed preliminary paper work preparatory to filing a suit against the City of Buffalo on his behalf. And, of course, Syaed did sit for a three hour interview with

    “This kind of thing shouldn’t happen in America,” Syaed Ali concludes. “I have not been silent because I believe this is something people ought to know about. My family has been terrorized. They’ve had their personal possessions and their records and files seized and for no reason. I was never involved in any harassment of the Mayor or in spreading any rumors about the Mayor. Most of the things they asked me about are not against the law. All I have done is exercise my first Amendment rights at times to participate in the political process…If they can do this to me, they can do it to anyone.”

    COPY, Part I: (yesterday?)

    “Because You Made The Mayor Mad” Given As Reason For Illegal Raid, Arrest, Businessman Alleges
    Written by Glenn Graminga, Editor


    Syaed Ali, 24, first became the CEO of his own information technology firm when he was only 21. His company started out servicing local dentists and real estate offices and has gone on to to develop a nation-wide client list. He is a 2007 graduate of Buff State who has been honored as a USSA All American Scholar while also finding himself listed in Who’s Who Among Executives and Professionals.

    Yet, he feels that nothing in his educational or professional background prepared him for the recent early morning police raid on his family home on Breckenridge St. during which he alleges that several police officers, not wearing badges and putting on their uniform tops on his porch, ransacked his family home while initially refusing to show him their warrant.

    “The officers told my brother that they had an arrest warrant for me charging me with computer fraud and aggravated harassment of the Mayor of Buffalo,” he recalls. “Yet, when a family member and later I asked them why they were doing this, two different officers replied, ‘Because you made the Mayor really mad!”

    According to Syaed, after a while, another officer arrived in a cab. Together the group who claimed to be members of the Buffalo Police Dept. and officers of the NYS Attorney General’s Office continued to ransack the home, abruptly entering the bedroom of his brother and sister-on-law.
    “They left my three year old niece and my four month old niece alone in a dark room for about an hour and wouldn’t let their mother and any other adult go back up there to help them,” Syaed adds. “The chldren were crying very loudly but they didn’t care. I told them I wanted to call an attorney, but they wouldn’t let me. I asked them to see the warrant, but they wouldn’t show it to anyone until they had taken me away…As it turned out, they didn’t have an arrest warrant. They only had a search warrant for computers in the home signed by Buffalo City Court Judge Hannah. Yet, they still took me away.”

    Once they did, Syaed alleges that he found himself in an unmarked car (The officers had arraived in a pair of unmarked SUVs) with a female Buffalo Police officer and an officer of the Attorney General’s Office.

    “One asked the other where they should take me, ‘my place or yours,” he reports. “They decided to take me to the NYS Attorney General’s Office in the Main Place Towers.”

    Once they got him there, according to Syaed, the questions centered, not about any computer fraud accusations but on his political associations.

    “They asked me what my relationship with Len Lenihan is,” he says. “They asked me what my relationship is with Chris Collins, to whose campaign I had contributed $1,500. What was my relationshp with (Common Council Majority Leader) Rich Fontana, with Mike Bloomberg, with other political figures. They asked me where I got the money to make the political contributions I have made.”

    When the officers would pose these queries, he would often reply with the question, “Is it against the law” to have spoken with Lenihan or to have been involved in the abortive Draft Bloomberg movement, for example. The officers didn’t reply…until they came to the names of Assemblymember Sam Hoyt, Mayor Brown’s arch rival within the local political infrastructure and South District Common Council Member Mickey Kearns who is planning to challenge Brown’s re-election in the 2009 Democratic Primary.

    “When I asked them if it’s against the law to associate with Hoyt, the female lawyer replied with the word, ‘Maybe,” Syaed alleges. “After that, for at least two to three hours, the questions centered on Hoyt and Kearns.”

    “We know you were involved in sending out those e-mails that said the Mayor is a homosexual and a crack addict, so why don’t you just admit that Hoyt put you up to it and we’ll let you go,” he alleges they asked him again and again. “Look, just admit that you were involved with Hoyt and Kearns and we won’t have to continue to bother your family. If you don’t admit it, you’re going to have a problem with the Buffalo Police. If we let you go, they are going to arrest you for computer fraud and aggravated harassment of the Mayor, so why don’t you just tell us what you did with Hoyt and Kearns…Why are you protecting them?”

    Syaed reports that the questioning went on in this vein for at least 2-3 hours as queries about Hoyt and Kearns were interspersed with threats and occasional attempts at psychoanalysis in an effort to get him to implicate the two mayoral opponents. It took place, not only at the downtown Buffalo AG’s Office but also at the Buffalo FBI headquarters. The detainee claims that he was driven to the second location by someone who identified himself as an FBI agent but wouldn’t reveal his name.

    “(The female officer) told me I would feel better if I told them what they wanted to hear,” he adds. “When I would ask if I was under arrest, they said no. When I would ask them if I could make a phone callto a family member, they would tell me that if I did, they’d arrest me, which was silly because I was already being kept there against my will. I would tell them that I wanted to talk to a lawyer and they wouldn’t let me, nor did they ever read me my Miranda rights”

    Finally, he reports that the officers tried to get him to implicate Hoyt and Kearns apparently whether it was true or not.

    “They would tell me, ‘Look, just say they did it and you can go home,” he alleges. “Just say it. That’s all you have to do and this will be all over. All you have to do is say they did it with you and you are free.”

    At one point, when he was at the FBI facility, the officers involved held a strategy session in another room.

    “I could hear them talking easily from where I was,” says Syaed. “One said to the others, ‘Look, this guy is a piece of shit. Just scare the hell out of him and he’ll implicate Hoyt and Kearns. We just have to scare him a little more.’…And, that’s exactly what they tried to do when they got back, but I kept telling me that what they were trying to get me to do is illegal and is worse than the crimes they were accusing me of. Actually, I hardly knew Sam Hoyt and Kearns. How could I implicate them in anything?”
    (Coming tomorrow, The Syaed Ali Story, Part II) …

  • Simon Magus

    Everything isn’t always Black and White…

    Didn’t the Sorceress Judith predict bad things if you voted for Brown.
    Wasn’t Judy a Green?

    Why is it that your City is so Blue?
    Are too many of it’s people seeing Red?

    Or is it because some people are just plain yellow?

    Next time you should go for the Gold!

  • WNYMind

    It will be interesting to see what AV diggs up in relation to how the Mayor’s office makes decisions about filling (and not filling) positions in City Hall. The whole purpose of the charter reforms was to remove BERC and OSP from politics and get some professional management in place. Unfortunately, the Mayor seems to disregard the city charter when it isn’t working for his political agenda.

    There are a lot of parallels to how Brown runs the City and how Bush ran the federal government. Hopefully, change in DC will trickle down to Buffalo.

    But, in reality, the reforms adopted in the city charter were too limited and weak to protect citizens from political bullies. I think we need a city manager who is appointed by a nonpartisian group and who the Mayor cannot remove unilaterally. Otherwise, we will just be repeating this discussion with the next Mayor.

    I hope AV consults with some legal experts about what penalties can be imposed on the Mayor for ignoring the charter. Doesn’t the Mayor take an oath of office to uphold he law. Can’t he be impeached for not doing so.

    I am really saddened by how currupt the Brown administration has become. I supported the guy and hoped he would do better by the city. Fool me once, shame on you Mayor Brown, fool me twice (not)!

  • Bruce Kogan

    What have we come to in this city?

  • Pomeroy

    Hoyt On Syaed Ali Case


    Assemblymember Sam Hoyt has released the following statement in reaction to the Syaed Ali controversy:

    “I am deeply disturbed by what I have read. My understanding is that Mr. Syaed Ali has filed papers with the courts and my hope is that we will get answers through the legal process, especially to the question as to what is really going on here. I would like to think that even the Brown Administration would not be involved in what has been alleged in this matter.”

  • Dick Kern

    Joe Illuzzi, repeatedly exposed by Bflo News for his ‘pay-for-praise political website, has also entered the fray. Illuzzi is primarily to responding to charges by his “divorced” former writer Glenn Gramigna (see above).

    Illuzzi has repeatedly profited from Bflo’s dirty politics. Is he again involved in this debacle?

    Here is Illuzzi’s latest . . .


    January 16-19, 2009

    PoliticsNY.Net: I am only responding to this allegation because it appeared in the Buffalo News; there are a few people who still actually believe what they read in the Buffalo News.

    Shame on them!

    “Buffalo man claims city police falsely arrested him two months ago and confiscated his computer and other belongings as they investigated an e-mail campaign to smear Mayor Byron W. Brown.

    Richard A. Grimm III, an attorney representing Syaed Ali, said his client was jolted awake by police officers with a search warrant. The officers confiscated computers, cell phones, bank records and other personal belongings. Grimm said Ali then was taken downtown, where he was questioned by city, state and federal investigators.”

    My name has been mentioned in other questionable publications as a co conspirator with Mayor Brown in this sleaze.

    Councilman Mickey Kearns, as a result of his relationhip with Sam Hoyt, has been connected with this libel as well. The claim that Brown & I were out to get Kearns & Hoyt.

    Hoyt got himself into trouble because he couldn’t keep his pants on, I’d Be Your “Lollipop”.

    Kearns I believe is probably shocked by the entire episode.

    Let me say for the record I never heard of this man, Syaed Ali; would not know him if he was standing in front of me. This entire story & those publishing one contradictory version after another is completely false. Just some so called media types trying to get some exposure. ###


  • Lancey Howard

    Think it again Sam.

    Some genius on the second floor in city hall has talked the mayor into all kinds of trouble.
    Hannon was pretty stupid to go along.
    The combined events removed all possible plausable deniability.

    Misuse of federal property and personnel to frighten someone with an arabic sirname in a gateway city probably attracted all kinds of attention in Washington.

    A lot of people are in trouble.

  • Simon Magus

    Insignia on the sides of CaseyCam clearly state: “In God we trust, all others are suspects.”

    The thoughts of by-passers when noticing the CaseyCams: “Life’s tough, it’s tougher if you’re stupid.”

  • Justice Denied

    The Courts are so corrupt I wouldn’t have too much hope there. It all depends which judge you get and 99% are bought and paid for…Most Judges are just failed lawyers anyhow.

  • keith borders

    It was unfortunate that by the time I did find out that my rights were violated by the City Of Buffalo,that the time frame in which I had to file a law suit against the City was only a Year.There should be NO time frame on such Acts were your RIGHTS are Violated.
    So I emailed complaints to everyone I could think of.
    I sent them to Congressman,Senators,F.B.I.News outlets,Radio Stations,The Attorney Generals Office even Washington,to all a Failed system.
    I’m just a average guy with no money who means nothing to anybody.
    I have said this before that there is a Two teir Justice System in which if you are Politically Connected OR you have Money you can get away with anything in this Country.While everybody else gets SCREWED by the Justice System.
    I hope that Ali with his money gets more and better results with the BROKEN SYSTEM then which I recieved.
    Corruption is so rampant it seems exceptable to the upper half of society.
    Again the little guy with no money or Connections gets F**ked.It’s a said state we live in.

  • Lancey Howard

    What the Mayor did wasn’t smart,
    It was totally illegal,
    But there was a reason for him to do it.

    A definite investigation into how the Feds and the AGs office were used has to called for.
    We need to know their reasons.
    Maybe Fox TV or CNN are necessary?

    If it is:
    It’s going to be the Feds and the AGs office that end up embarrased.

  • The City

    I applaud AV news editor Geoff Kelly for bringing attention to this travesty. As reported in The Buffalo News, the search warrant was signed by Judge Craig Hannah, a close friend and political associate of Brown. Brown appointed Hannah to City Court soon after taking office. Hannah is a longtime volunteer on Brown’s past campaigns for elected office and his 2005 campaign for mayor. Hannah also donated money to the campaign and other Brown campaigns.

    Who can Ali turn to for justice? The Attorney General’s office and local FBI allegedly played a role in the illegal detention of Mr. Ali. There are so many unanswered questions. What role if any did Mr. Ali’s ethnic background played in the illegal arrest? What triggered the arrest? What role did the Police Commissioner and his 2 deputies played in carrying out the arrest? Where is the missing affidavit that is supposed to trigger these types of search warrants? Who signed the affidavit it? Did Hannah, the Police Commissioner and his 2 deputies avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest? Ultimately, what did Brown and Casey know and, when did they know it?

    I know the answers to these questions. Will honorable journalists pursue this story to the end? The alleged crime is bad. The cover up will be bigger. Isn’t that always the case with these types of public corruption cases?
    WBEN, WNED, WGRZ, WIVB, and Business First are you there?

  • Peter A Reese

    So many questions. Are these people the same ones (Mayor Brown and AG Cuomo) who want to be appointed to the US Senate? Have we run out of murders, shootings and muggings for the Buffalo Police to investigate? Are there no more crooked Wall Street bankers cooking their books? Even if Ali did what they said, where’s the crime? If Ali really has money, why not sue him for defamation and make it pay? Is this mess going to show up in Citistat as a successful delivery of police services?

  • Simon Magus

    Sillystat doesn’t take credit unless a dog is shot, 12 parking tickets are given to senior citizens on the same unplowed street or Brian Meyer robs three stories from Artvoice in the same week.

    Congratulations Brian on getting permission from Casey to rob AV that quickly.
    That story was only one week old on Januaary 16th.
    3 points ahead of your 10 day average!

  • Twixt

    I’m surprised Sillystat let Meyer print Artvoice’s story so soon.
    You would think they’d have him wait his usual 10 days and release it during the presidential inauguration.
    They could have buried it futher without causing suspicion.

    Now, even the few people who still read the “News” know city hall intentially broke the law.

  • Dick Kern

    Finally, this VERY important story broken by Geoff Kelly is gaining some real traction.

    Hopefully, this coverage by Jim Heaney will further pressure on the new DA Frank Sedita to prove that “CHANGE” is indeed real in the DA’s office.

    COPY: (from Jim Heaney)

    January 18, 2009

    But they don’t fingerprint burglary scenes

    We may have the makings of our own little “gate” involving Mayor Byron Brown’s possible use of the Buffalo Police Department for political purposes. Artvoice first broke the story, and has done a follow. There’s been followup coverage by The News and commentary by the Buffalo Pundit. In addition, New WNY Politics has done a couple of stories, here and here, but in reading them, keep in mind the site is run by a former sidekick of Joe Illuzzi.

    Here’s how Artvoice reported the story:

    At seven o’clock on the morning of November 7, Syaed Ali and his family were awakened by a team of Buffalo police officers bearing a search warrant.

    The warrant, signed by Buffalo City Court Judge Craig Hannah one week earlier, accused Ali of aggravated harassment and empowered police to search his home and seize any and all electronic equipment — computers, discs, cell phones, etc. — that might provide evidence of the charge. Police searched Ali’s home, carted away boxes of seized material, and took him downtown for questioning, without an arrest warrant, without reading him his rights, without allowing him to contact relatives or an attorney.

    Two months later, Ali hasn’t been charged and he can’t get his possessions returned. The person that Ali says he was accused of harassing: Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.

    All this supposedly revolves around some nasty e-mails that have circulated about the mayor earlier this year. The Artvoice story goes on to detail some scary stuff, if Ali’s attorney is to be believed, and coverage from some of the other media outlets goes further.

    For example, Ali told New WNY Politics:

    “The officers told my brother that they had an arrest warrant for me charging me with computer fraud and aggravated harassment of the Mayor of Buffalo. Yet, when a family member and later I asked them why they were doing this, two different officers replied, ‘Because you made the Mayor really mad!’ ”

    This is potentially explosive stuff and we all need to avoid jumping to conclusions. That said, the word’s of the mayor’s own people are noteworthy, as much for what they don’t say as what they do.

    Of course, there’s the usual, “we don’t talk about ongoing investigations,” uttered by by Peter Cutler, the mayor’s spokesman, and Mike DeGeorge, spokesman for the police.

    Cutler, however, passed when given the opportunity by Artvoice to deny that a complaint from the mayor triggered the whole affair.

    I found DeGeorge’s words particularly interesting.

    “It’s my understanding there was no formal complaint [made against Ali] from the mayor’s office.”

    Hmmm. No “formal” complaint, you say.

    DeGeorge continued.

    “Police routinely investigate matters involving the mayor. He’s the highest public official in the City of Buffalo, so there will be situations that come up.”

    So, Mike, what exactly is the “situation?”

    “… to comment on specifics could certainly jeopardize not only the investigation, but security issues.”

    Of course. Security issues. We should all stop asking questions.

    A few other things have caught my eye.

    Among them is the judge who signed the search warrant, City Court Judge Craig Hannah, who Brown appointed to the bench 11 days after taking office. The judge and the mayor go way back and Hannah has been a major campaign contributor. Then there’s the way the police handled the auto accident a few years ago involving the mayor’s son. Doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

    This looks like a matter that someone needs to get to the bottom of. How about our new district attorney, Frank Sedita? Since taking office a few weeks ago, he’s been trying to show people he’s a different cat than his predecessor, Frank Clark, widely perceived, among other things, as disinterested in the misdeeds of public officials. Well, Mr. New DA, here’s your chance to show the public you’re really different than the Human Quote Machine.

    I can’t close without harkening back to blog posts I wrote on New Year’s Eve and back in April about the introduction of police surveillance cameras throughout the city without any rules in place to safeguard against abuses. Some of you readers responded by dismissing such concerns as paranoid.

    Well, I stick by those concerns, especially in light of these latest developments. In fact, make that a double.

  • Gork

    Are you kidding me? The mayor consistantly refuses to admit any knowledge of any incident involving his police administration whenever they pull crap like this,(and we all know that this type of disrespect for the citizens is common place with this administration) He will just stand there and lie about having any knowledge of what his people are doing!!!!Then, as if “on cue”, his police commissioners will get up and lie too!!!! someone asked how the AG’s office and the FBI got involved with this? very simple, BECAUSE THE BUFFALO POLICE ADMINISTRATION MADE UP SOME MORE LIES AND THEN SOLD THE BILL OF GOODS TO THE POLITICALY MOTIVATED AG, and FBI!!!! THERE IS NO JUSTICE IN BUFFALO NY!!!!! YOU MIGHT AS WELL LIVE WITH IT AND KEEP YOUR MOUTHS SHUT,BECAUSE THERE IS NO ONE HERE THAT IS GOING TO HOLD THESE IDIOTS ACCOUNTABLE ANYWAY!!!!! NOT THE FBI,NOT THE AG,NOT THE DA< AND SURELY NOT THE LOCAL MAINSTREAM MEDIA!!!!

  • Buffalo Mother

    When a child can be murdered, with Frank Sedita even admitting it was a murder, and the mayor, the police, and the office of the DA with Frank Clark and Frank Sedita, and the court system of Erie county, not only cover it up and give the murderer immunity, have a 14 year old death certificate changed and then go on to fire the cop without a blemish on his record who did a great job of exposing it all, it is not in any way surprising that this Mayor would resort to communist activity in surpressing free speech and charging anyone who speaks against him in such a way. He is a liar as we all know it. I dont know what this man wrote about this mayor, but we all know there is a lot to write about. He has been by far the most incompetent and corrupt mayor to date. If the Gestapo barged into a home of someone speaking against Hitler, or a student being hauled out of tiananmen Square for speaking against the oppression they live under everyone would recognise it for the communism it is. But because its in Buffalo and Mayor Brown is the oppressor everyone is asleep. WAKE UP! You have no true justice in WNY. The judge who signed the warrant was a donator to Brown’s campaign and was appointed by Brown. If it was YOU the warrant would get signed too. Just to inform the public. The police are supposed to speak to the public and keep them informed. They are servants of the PUBLIC NOT THE MAYOR. And the primary reason the cant is because the commissioner, the deputy commissioners, the chief of detectives, and captains of police give up their union protection in return for those “high” politically appointed jobs and so now answer to the mayor and his power. They no longer serve the public. They no longer are true to their oath to the people. So along with the DA office, the police, the mayor, and the judges the mayor appoints do you really think you are safe here? I will say it again. WAKE UP!!

  • Pomeroy

    The Mayor is a spectator in D.C. at the Inauguration of the man he hoped to stop. The Mayor spent thousands of dollars and traveled from state to state, Pennsylvania, Ohio, etc., trying to “Stop Obama”

    Betty Jean Grant did just the opposite; “Go Betty!”

  • Keith Borders

    So what (OUTSIDE SOURCE) has taken to the Investigation? Anybody hear anything or is this yet another one going to be SWEPT UNDER THE RUG.

  • Simon Magus

    Peter Cutler,
    What did the Mayor know and when did he know it?

    So what if it’s a police investigation; big deal. Who are you investigating, the Mayor? Who’s investigating the police?

    It’s very simple. Did those past events happen to Mr. Ali or not? It’s a yes or no answer. Have Mr. Ali’s belongings been returned? Is Mr. Ali guilty of saying something the Mayor doesn’t like? Did you release a guilty person or an innocent person?

    So what if it’s a police investigation; big deal.

  • Lancey Howard

    I’m interested in reading “why” the Feds and the AGs office were part of this! I’ll bet good money they were tricked into it. I’m hoping they’re still honest and will explain what happened. Mr. Ali should now go to them and report that the BPD won’t return his possessions, it’s been over 10 weeks!

    Is anyone claiming that they did read Mr. Ali his rights?

  • Twixt

    Mr. Ali doesn’t have any Rights!
    This is Buffalo, not Guantanamo.
    Maybe Barack will close City Hall down next?

    Change can happen…

  • Mr. Bumble

    Peter Reese; “Even if Ali did what they said, where’s the crime? If Ali really has money, why not sue him for defamation and make it pay?”

    Absolutely correct Pete, but that train has left the station. Now it’s coulda, woulda, shoulda. Can you imagine what Richard Grimm would do to them in a court room at this point? It’s almost inconceivable that anyone could feign innocent.

    (I use the word almost because logic doesn’t seem to be part of City Hall’s thought process).

  • Pomeroy

    Twixt, you guessed wrong, it’s not happening today. The Mayor’s in Washington and to keep things “Fair and Balanced,” people from Washington are in Buffalo. Geoff Kelly is also in Washington, but not for the same reasons.

    This is going to be HUGE!!!

  • Donna Cayote

    The lesson I take from this incident is to see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil, even if it’s the truth and should be shouted from the roof tops, in this city, state and nation of government of the few, for the few paid for by the many.
    I also wish the conversation herein would be on a more serious and intelligent level with civil rights and legal issues being delved into and revealed.
    Also, let’s not let this story die. How far and wide has it circulated so far? Has it made it to national attention? If not, how can we take it to The People?

  • Simon Magus

    Comment by The City, “WBEN, WNED, WGRZ, WIVB, and Business First are you there?”

    WGRZ is the best in ambush T.V., but for some reason they won’t touch the Brown Administration! Their red room is great but they haven’t asked anyone from the second floor to answer questions.

    WIVB on the other hand is hopeless. Tricia Cruz is supposed to cover Latino events. No one on Niagara Street has ever saw her. 4 doesn’t have a reporter on the west side. Mr. Ali should move closer to Elmwood past Hertel, then maybe Al Vaters might come out if it’s not too cold out…

  • Twixt

    The video tapes have to be real, why else would they throw caution to the wind and go on the raid, they had to know they were going to be sued. I wonder if someone isn’t blackmailing the mayor?

  • Pomeroy

    In Today’s Buffalo News City and Region:

    City Seal on Invitations Questioned
    By Brian Meyer

    When Peter A. Reese received an invitation to attend Mayor Byron W. Brown’s State of the City address, the Buffalo lawyer thought about attending the Jan. 29 event.

    Then he spotted something he considered odd. The official city seal was at the top of the invitation. At the bottom, it explained that proceeds from the $35-a-plate luncheon would go to a nonprofit charity controlled by Brown.

    What’s more, nowhere on the invitation did it state that citizens could attend the speech for free if they didn’t want to be fed. This year’s policy is the same as it was in the prior two years — attendees are expected to have tickets if they attend the function in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.

    Reese, a self-described “State Public Officers’ Law Warrior,” thinks the event raises a thorny question.

    “If this is a private function, he shouldn’t be using official city seals,” said Reese, adding that the invitation also includes the Citi-Stat Buffalo icon, another official government logo.

    Reese plans to ask the city’s Board of Ethics to review the matter.
    He acknowledged that some people might accuse him of nitpicking.

    “But it’s not nit-picking when the mayor is using official seals for what appears to be a private event,” Reese replied. “Could I use public property for a private function?”

    Brown deferred questions to Peter K. Cutler, his chief spokesman. Cutler dismissed Reese’s criticism, insisting there’s nothing wrong with using a State of the City speech to raise money for a nonprofit group called Mayor Brown’s Fund to Advance Buffalo. Established in 2006, [ AND THEN CHANGED THE SUBJECT TO HOW THE MONEY WOULD BE USED ].

    “The money that’s raised is only used for public purposes,” said Cutler.
    That’s not the issue, countered Reese. The fund might be doing great things, he said, but it’s still not an official city entity.

  • Simon Magus

    These guys won’t do something unless it’s illegal! Their goal is to, “break a law everyday!” Their motto is, “Transparency!”

  • Opie

    WGRZ TV, where are they? Hiding beneath Scott Brown’s skirt! Look at his history with Byron, Casey, Pigeon, et all. They all worked together for Dennis Gorski and are still thick as thieves. The rest od then at Ch 2 are too busy creating news and stringing a story out till something else happens around town!

  • Simon Magus

    WGRZ TV? It’s channeled 2, what did you expect?

  • Peter A Reese

    Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871

    42 USCA § 1983. Civil action for deprivation of rights

    “Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable. For the purposes of this section, any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of Columbia shall be considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia.”

    Designed to protect freed slaves from the Klan, this section has been used frequently to protect individuals from political retaliation by government officials.

    Anyone think Ali, Kearns and Hoyt might be victims of political retaliation?

    Furthermore, NY Penal Law Section 240.31 describes a felony. The less regid Section 240.30 is only a misdemeanor. I have never heard of a cop getting a search warrant for a misdemeanor. Maybe the warrant cited 240.31, because no red blooded law enforcement officer would go to the trouble to get a warrant for a misdemeanor.

  • JerL

    Well, this comes as no surprise to me. I was a democratic committeman in North 19, and I understand that what the Mayor is really all about. He and Craig Hannah are members of “Grassroots.” Which is a political pact consisting of Betty Jean Grant, and Antoine Thompson, and Demon Smith and others. They make it almost impossible to unseat a member when he or she gets elected. Brown has used all kinds of trickery to fool the citizens of Buffalo. He claims credit for projects that had started before he took office, and then he takes claims for projects that have no use. Plus he will not answer any question directly. He will not get involved in issues that require strong thought, or leadership. Case in point. When the school superintendant Dr. Williams passed the buck about the teachers aide. Also, he was famously quiet in the Javonahh Kincaid mess. Not once did the Mayor speak about why a student would feel the need to actually call the Board of Ed. Brown’s tactic is “If I don’t do anything, then no one will be mad at me.” It worked in the New York State Senate, where his record is unmatched. Look it up. Brown wants to become a U.S. Congressman. That is his goal. And then he wants to take his enablers along for the ride. When Thompson went to the Senate, who took his place as a councilman? Well, it was Erie County Legislator Demon Smith. He put Betty Jean Grant back in, despite her record.

    What Mr. Ali needs to do, is to sue Brown, Hannah, and the City and the Buffalo Police Dept. He needs to actually get the ACLU and the US Department of Justice involved as this clearly is a violation of his civil rights. Brown needs to be made to pay.

    Oh yeah I’ve seen the Mayor at Wegmans on Amherst St. plenty of times in the middle of the afternoon. I always said to him. “Hey, I am not paying you to be shopping, you are supposed to be at work now.” Which usually results in silence from Brown and a rebuke from his police escort. I reply with. “I’m a responsible citizen questioning why the mayor is not working.”

    Brown needs to remember WHO he works for. And YOU need to get out and vote him out of office!!

  • Twixt

    The ACLU in Buffalo is both Useless and Meaningless (and Meaning less and less).

    JerL, what does your ‘high and holier than thou’ councilman think of Brown’s actions?

  • Mr. Justice

    Twixt must be Steve Casey or a Byron lover

  • Mr.Justice

    Can we start a recall for this scandal?

  • brownout

    WOW this story needs to be re-examined. Hannah has a crap record with all kinds of issues. Brown , needless to say now is a useless, bitter liar, the walls are closing in on him. Watch out people, you don’t have any Rights, this is Brown & Co. territory, they will seethe with bitterness, outirght deny, lie and ignore demands for any accountability. this town make me sick. for the first time in 20 years, i am planning on moving, becuase of the permanent damage brown has done. what a bastard. hope he is in an orange suit soon. hope this law suit exposes the liar for who he is, and the man, leader and role model he is not.