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

NYS Business Council Opposes Transparency

The Business Council of New York State—of which the State University of New York at Buffalo is a dues-paying member—officially opposes a bill that would expand freedom of information coverage to include public university research foundations, LLCs, and not-for-profits.

The bill, introduced last year in the NYS Senate by Kenneth LaValle (R) and in the Assembly by Deborah Glick (D), is moving through the legislature with bipartisan support. Notably absent is support from the western New York delegation, whose UB 2020 plan is built on the necessity that groups like the UB Foundation can operate in secret without public disclosure.

The NYSUNY 2020 legislation that ultimately passed last year included language that limited insider deals with foundation board members. Since then, all members of the Ciminelli family have mysteriously left their positions at the UB Foundation.

Click here to read why the Business Council thinks openness is a bad idea.



  • Jim Holstun

    Hello Andy? Andy? ANDY RUDNICK, I’M-A TALKIN’ TO YOU, ANDY RUDNICK, WAKE UP! The UB Administration pays $48K of your $300K yearly salary; the least you can do is join the BCNYS and the local legislators in the effort to keep the lights off while you and your Buffalo-Niagara Partnership play footsies with UB Foundation money.

    I am VERY disappointed in you.

  • me too

    I’ve missed you Jim Holstun. You are at your best keeping UB and the Clarence bloviator honest.

    • Alan Bedenko

      I don’t know why the Answer Lady needs to use different noms de plume continually, but what I do know is that she ironically hates to answer questions.

  • Jonathan Wellinton-Fidrych III

    No deal worth making has ever been made in public. That’s how business works. Deal with it, losers.

  • NCD

    Bloviation is sweepin the nation, or maybe swept over most of he ountry, and all that’s left as virgin territory is Buffalo’s waterfront. Having some psuedo-rich dude from the distant burbs tell uswhat we need to do to occasionally attract the likes of him down to the waterfront is likehaving El Rushbo lecture women on birth control, though Rush is certainly more obnoxious.

    Maybe the waterfront has no real economic value left for Buffalonians, since do much money is exported from Buffalo out to the burbs, and money nominally intended for Buffalo also gets rapidly diverted to that ultural and economic black hole known as the burbs. Maybe the value is in the fact that it is a green space surrounded by buildings, and it (maybe) brings value to those already existing buildings.

    Of course, that concept has no value to developers and builders who wish to onvert state and federal tax dollars into one time winnings for them and the burbs here they reside, along with their banker buddies who alos get to skim some of hese rich people welfare projects. Oh well, cry me a Buffalo River. Maybe these monied types should actually invest heir money in real wealth creating projects, like mnufacturing something that is needed and can be sold at a profit. But rudnick & Company, and most of the ZuB foundation types/benficiaries can’t do that. Instead, they’re forever going back to the well, looking for state welfare dressed up as waterfront development. No wonder they don’t want any light shining on hese insider dels spawned from the dark recesses of ther greedy and closed minds.

  • Jim Holstun

    Squirreled away in an invisible “node” at the UB Foundation website, you will find the consolidated audit for the UBF and its various “affiliate corporations.” See It reveals that the net assets of the foundations amounted to $680,309,719 last June 30th, up from $545,206,611. (I can’t account for this massive 25% one-year increase.)

    This isn’t much compared to Harvard’s $25B, but it’s pretty impressive by SUNY standards.

    Stony Brook: $95,689,000
    Binghamton: $59,978,000
    Albany: $24,764,000

    Here, I’m using the CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION tally for 2008-9, and the other three campuses may also be hiding money in their “affiliate foundations,” but I believe the contrast would be striking, nonetheless: UB’s foundation endowment is more than three times as big as the endowments of the other three university campuses combined.

    We can probably trace all of this to the fact that the University of Buffalo brought along its substantial endowment when it became SUNY Buffalo. This was managed by SUNY Central for many years, and transferred over to the University at Buffalo in 2008 or so—thus accounting for our otherwise amazing status as the only university endowment nationwide that increased, and increased big, at least on paper, during the year of the crash.

    I believe that this figure is the magic key to understanding most of the politics centering on UB:

    —The unusual predominance of building contractors, lawyers, and corporate managers on our various councils and foundation boards. The story for public consumption is that they are rainmakers bringing lots of big gifts our way, but because WNY philanthropists are so shy and modest, we can’t really confirm this. Perhaps if we get a look at the UBF books, we’ll be able to evaluate this story.
    —The predominance of “building things” and “public-private partnerships” in our various visionary plans, like UB 2020.
    —The supplementary vision of “trickle-down” benefits (remember David Stockman?) that will come to actual education and students. Just be patient—once the contractors get their cut, everyone else will prosper too: trust us!
    —The support for S5797A-2011 and A7789E-2011, which would increase transparency at university foundations, among downstate Democrats and Republicans in Albany: their corporate supporters and owners have little or nothing at risk in shining a light on the dinky endowments at Binghamton, Stony Brook, and Albany.
    —The lack of support for these bills among WNY Democrats and Republicans: their corporate supporters and owners have quite a bit at stake in keeping UB’s respectable endowment in the dark. (as Buck Quigley notes above).
    —Capen Hall’s resistance to the recent referendum conducted by North Campus academics and professionals demanding that UB cut its institutional and financial ties to the Business Council of New York State and the Buffalo Niagara.
    —The “anti-downstate” rhetoric that flows from the Buffalo-Niagara Partnership.

    Astronomers posit the existence of dark stars by the way their gravitational mass bends photons passing by. UB’s dark star is the UBF’s $680,309,719. And Western New York gets bent.