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Erie County Officials Investigate “Artvoice-gate”

Filed under: Erie County, Media

Erie County Director of Real Estate Michelle Mazzone and Senior Contracts Administrator/FOIL Officer Edward Delaney called Artvoice this morning to explain that they were continuing an investigation into the disappearance of 200 copies of Artvoice distributed to the county’s Rath building (not pictured at right—that’s actually the Watergate complex) on Thursday, November 3.

Referring to the incident as “Artvoice-gate,” Mazzone explained that she and Delaney have been doing a little investigating of their own. “We went down and we talked to the security guards. No one’s seen anything. I’m going to talk to the county attorney. I don’t think we can give you video, but I’m going to ask him what he thinks I can do. We’re trying to get to the bottom of it.”

“We take it seriously,” Delaney added. “You have a legitimate right to have your paper read, and we understand that. We want to make sure that nobody’s messing around.”

He said security isolated some spots in the building where papers were found. “In the general intake area of the third floor, social services.”

“What may have happened—and this is speculation on my part—is that some of them were brought upstairs as reading material for people who are waiting for interviews.” Delaney said. He added that since this is the second time something like this has happened in the last year, security will be “[monitoring] that situation more closely.”

As for the security cameras that monitor the lobby where the papers are distributed every Thursday, Mazzone and Delaney could neither confirm nor deny whether or not the table where the issues are stacked would have been covered by such surveillance.

“That’s part of a law-enforcement technique, and as you know, under freedom of information, that’s exempt from FOIL. Homeland Security would kill us if we started talking—even to a member of the press—about camera angles and coverage,” Delaney explained. “We will revisit the situation, and if Michelle directs me to, I’ll revisit the situation with security.”

“We’re going to talk to the county attorney first, and get some advice, and then do a little investigating of our own, and then we’ll call you back,” Mazzone said.







    Security camera footage is NOT exempt from FOIL. In any event, it seems to me that for $129K per year, Mazzone could review the tapes herself and finger the culprit. You don’t need a fuschia belt in Sick Sigma to figure this one out.

  • Mike Dantonio

    Taking the 300 Artvoice’s was devious but not illegal – that according to Attorney Mike Kuzma; “You can not rob something that is free…”

    Artvoice showed a trunk full of Niagara Falls Reporters that a Hoyt supporter collected two years ago.

  • Jim Holstun

    Well then, I guess I’d have to say that the Honorable Michael Kuzma is as ill-informed as he is inarticulate.

    Maybe EC should divert some of its Six Sigma funding to Remedial Lying Technique refreshers for Ms. Mazzone and Mr. Delaney. Lesson #1: the people you lie to are not necessarily as stupid as you are.

    Q. How does an Erie County Hack say FU?
    A. “We’ll call you back.”


    The City of Buffalo could use an ordinance to make stealing free newspapers with the intent to deprive others of the ability to read them an offense. Other municipalities have such laws.


    BTW, if you observe the AV distribution point in the Rath Building, it is directly below a security camera.

  • chester

    Are City of Buffalo ordinances applicable in County buildings?