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Chris Collins: Running His Business from a Government Office

Yesterday, Alan Bedenko posted this story about a business deal in which Chris Collins, our former county executive and a Republican candidate against incumbent Congresswoman Kathy Hochul, purportedly separated an inventor and his investors from ownership of their product. (Bedenko found the story at this site.) Those investors are apparently considering court action, at which point we may discover exactly what happened exactly and whether the deal was merely ruthless or unethical as well.

What is unethical, if true, is the allegation that Collins met those investors in Erie County executive’s suite of offices in the Rath Building to hear (and apparently dismiss) their complaints that they were being treated unfairly. Doing private business in public office is clearly unethical and can be illegal.

So we decided to look into it. And it appears to be true.

Here is a portion of Collins’s schedule for September 16, 2008:

You’ll need to click on the image to enlarge it to read the names of the folks Collins met at 2pm that day: “Jack O’Neil and Joe Fornasero.” Those are two of the investors in the Balance Buddy who lost their investment when Collins bought the company and the patent on its product out of bankruptcy.

He met them in his public office to do private business.

  • fjooif fojifjoifj

    What exactly is the source on that schedule image?

    More curious than doubting.

  • Geoff Kelly

    If you’re asking me where and how I got it, I won’t answer that. But I’ll tell you what it is: It’s a page from Chris Collins’s Outlook calendar as county executive, which makes it a public document.

  • Jim_Holstun

    Dayum. I hope Chris doesn’t have to spend the night in the EC Holding Center. I hear tell it’s not (or at least didn’t used to be) the safest place in the world.