Buffalo School District Receives Legal Papers, Covers Butt
by Buck Quigley - posted 12:33 pm, April 30, 2009
At 5:55pm yesterday, after our weekly print issue went to press, look what showed up in my email inbox. It’s a letter from Michael J. Looby, legal counsel to the Buffalo School District. Nice of him to stay in touch.
Attached are those highly sensitive financial disclosure papers that I requested on Monday, April 20, and was allowed to see, but not copy on Thursday, April 23.
Is it a coincidence that Looby responded just a few hours after receiving this Show Cause Order?
“Campaigns report required information in eclectic ways,” he writes, “not necessarily using a standardized form. Accordingly, until seeing the actual filings, it is not possible to ascertain if a given report might contain information which we are prohibited from transmitting, or which is statutorily exempt.”
Translation: It took the legal staff of the BPS nine days to reach the same conclusion I came to in half an hour last Thursday—that there were no Social Security numbers included in the 24 pages that constitute the candidates’ financial statements.
Looby then followed up with an email to me at 6:36pm yesterday, asking me to forward the attachment to another petitioner named in the Show Cause Order. It’s the same 24 pages of documents with a different cover letter, asking me again to remit $6.00 for the PDF. So, looks like I’m up to $12 in debt to the Buffalo Board of Education for essentially the same information.
At this rate, he could just fill up my email inbox with the same documents, over and over, until my bill equals any shortfall in next year’s school budget.
Read it and weep, folks. Today’s the deadline for candidates to file their April 30 updated financial disclosures. Prediction: The incumbents drop theirs off at the William Street Post Office at 11:59pm tonight. They will arrive at City Hall on Saturday. On Monday, the BPS legal cousel will begin the laborious task of scouring them for SS numbers. The school board election will take place on Tuesday, so no one will know in time just how much money was poured into the attempt to elect the incumbents to their $5,000/year positions.
Unless, of course, the 11am court date Monday compels them to release this clearly public information in an immediate manner.