Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Calendar Listings Artvoice TV Real Estate Classifieds Contact

Update: Strange Doings in Thompson’s Campaign Account Explained

On October 21, two weeks before the general election, then State Senator Antoine Thompson’s campaign account sent a wire transfer of $100,000 to—well, we don’t know to whom. The recipient of the transer is not named in campaign finance disclosure filings.

The transfer severely depleted Thompson’s campaign account as he entered the last days of a close race, which he would eventually lose to Democrat-turned-Republican Mark Grisanti.

Then, on the same day, $75,000 was wired back into Thompson’s campaign account. The party that transferred the $75,000 into the account is not named in campaign finance disclosure filings, either.

In the months following Thompson’s loss in a district where Democrats enjoy a five-to-one registration advantage, downstate Democrats have grumbled that Thompson had $120,000 left in his account after election day: Why, they asked, had he not pulled out all the stops to defend his seat? This surplus was reflected in the first campaign finance disclosure report that Supporters of Antoine Thompson made after election day. But that report was amended to reflect the October 21 transfers when the January disclosure report was filed. The transfers were recorded with the New York State Board of Elections, according to both filings, on December 2.

So where did the extra $25,000 money go? The committee’s treasurer, Mark Boyd—Thompson’s former chief of staff, who left the state payroll just last week but seems still to be hanging around room 305 of the Walter J. Mahoney State Office Building downtown—did not answer and did not return our calls.

Thompson did. He said he was not sure but that he suspected the money paid for TV commercials. He said he did not know why $100,000 would have been wired out and $75,000 wired back in the same day. (As opposed to, say, a single transfer for $25,000.) He said we should ask Mark Boyd that question, because Boyd handled the campaign money. “All of that stuff is a distant memory now,” Thompson said.

When asked what was next for him, Thompson said that he was enjoying his transition out of the life of a state senator.

Transition to what, you ask? He wouldn’t say, except that it would comprise public service.

UPDATE: I spoke with Mark Boyd today. He says that the $100,000 was wired to the Parkside Group to pay for TV commercials. The $75,000 came from the Democratic State Senate Campaign Committee to offset the cost of that ad buy.

Boyd continues to work for the State Senate Democrats, and will be on the payroll for perhaps another month, he says. He declined to discuss his duties, saying that he is not authorized to speak on behalf of the State Senate’s Democratic leadership.

  • van Gogh’s ear

    Word on the street is that he will be filling Karla Thomas’ Human Resources Commissioner vacancy in City Hall.

  • chester

    Boy, the comment by van Ghogh’s ear almost maked me have second thoughts about my vote for Grisanti.

    But then I thought, maybe Thompson knew all the time that he could have Thomas’ job if he lost, and that accounts for his failure to really fight for the Senate seat.

    Think about it, the HR Commissioner’s salary is almost certainly better, he doesn’t have to go to Albany, he doesn’t have to fund-raise constantly, he has a six-year term, and he’s in a perfect position to win friends (and punish enemies) as he preps for a run for Mayor whenever Byron moves.

  • Louis Sullivan

    What TV Commercials? I don’t remember him airing any TV Commercials and $75K worth of TV spots in the last campaign was enough to get 6/11 news on all three channels for weeks and a pretty substantial cable buy. Perhaps a follow up to check if he actually bought TV space with the TV stations? It is public information.

  • crank

    Thompson’s “Gee, I have no idea” responses and deer-in-the-headlight looks would drive any voter crazy after a while. Cozying up to Albany powerbrokers and holding big fundraisers for downstate and out-of-state interests raised a few suspicions, too. And lets face it, Western New York has been suffering so much for so long that no state assemblyman or senator can plausibly claim to be doing a good job. The surprise is not that Thompson lost; it’s that so many incumbents keep winning no matter how rotten things get here.