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Eddie Egriu: Ordinary Guy, Extraordinary Problems

Last week, walking, talking chain e-mail Kathy Weppner decided that she was throwing her hat in the ring to challenge Democratic incumbent Brian Higgins for the congressional seat in the 26th district. Weppner is a stereotypical low-information WBEN caller, and she somehow managed to parlay “Kathy from Williamsville” into an actual, paying radio gig. You should note that Weppner has gone back and scrubbed her webpage of the especially racist and vile things that used to be there. 

That’s ok. The Google cache and waybackmachine will help us to revisit the ideas that were convenient when she was a WBEN personality, but somehow inconvenient now. 

But from the left (ostensibly) we have another challenger – Emin “Eddie” Egriu. Egriu is set to announce that he is running in a Democratic primary against Higgins. Egriu is something of a perennial candidate – think “Kosovar Rus Thompson” – and used to pay Illuzzi and Gramigna off to get articles written about him. Both individuals are now deceased. 

Egriu is something of a character, but the problem is that he’s been lax about his duties as a citizen. Here’s what we know: 

1. The federal government filed liens against Egriu for unpaid taxes, most recently in November 2013 for $90,225.69. He evidently failed to pay his 2005 and 2006 income taxes. In 2009, a federal lien for almost $7,000 was filed, and in 2008 there was one for almost $8,000. 

2. New York filed warrants against him for failure to pay unemployment insurance premiums (under his bizarre dba, “Violation Enterprise”) in 2006 and 2007. He also failed to obtain necessary worker’s compensation insurance, and a judgment was filed against him for $3,000.

3. Egriu is late on his 2013 and 2014 Erie County property taxes. It’s not a lot – less than $200, but then again it’s not a lot – less than $200. 

4. In 1998, he lost two properties to foreclosure for unwillingness or inability to pay his bills. 

5. Since 1995, over $32,000 in civil judgments have been filed arising out of lawsuits against him. 

 Egriu says this in a press release this morning: 

He will make his announcement at the corner of Pulman Place and Shepard Street, near Broadway and Bailey avenues, in the heart of Higgins’ decaying district.

 It’s Pullman Place, and that part of town was decaying long before Mr. Higgins went to Washington. 

Eddie is a liberal anti-war populist challenging Higgins, a right-of-center neo-conservative, in the Democratic Primary.

  • Eddie supports universal single payer healthcare and will fight to eliminate the profit seeking industry that has been leeching the life out of our healthcare system. Higgins voted for Mitt Romney’s plan. 

Higgins voted for Obama’s plan. In 2012 Mitt Romney ran – and lost – opposing Obamacare. 

  • Eddie is anti-war. Higgins is a neo-con who sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Homeland Security Committee.

It’s easy to be anti-war when you’re, at best, a local housing activist. 

  • Eddie opposes the bank bailouts. Higgins voted for them. 

Yes, but is Higgins in favor of the needed Egriu bailout? 

  • Eddie supports the legalization of marijuana for adults. Higgins does not.


Mr. Egriu’s heart may be in the right place, but his track record reveals a fundamental inability to be taken seriously, and to pay the taxes and fees we all pay to maintain a civilized society. 

John LaFalce on Casino Gambling

Bruce Jackson has just posted this essay by former Congressman John LaFalce over at Buffalo Report:

On June 25, 2008, a gigantic struggle took place on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives involving casino gambling in the State of Michigan. That controversy and struggle is highly instructive on the question of the legality of casino gambling in Buffalo.

Two titans of the House, John Dingell (D-Mich), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and John Conyers (D-Mich), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, stood in opposing corners and came out fighting.

Rep. Dingell wants a casino in Port Huron, and doesn’t want the issue to go to the U.S. Department of Interior for its review. So he is trying to “legislatively” bypass Interior review, and permit casino gambling in Port Huron by mandating that the Secretary of the Interior “shall” take into trust certain land as part of a land claim settlement. The bill at least recognized that the land had to be taken into trust.

Rep. Conyers says he opposes gambling in principle, but also doesn’t want another casino in Michigan, which would compete with the casino that already exists in his city of Detroit. Conyers also argued it would be wrong to bypass the Interior Department’s review as to whether it should take it into trust, especially since he is confident Interior will render a negative opinion. An overwhelming majority of the House agreed with Conyers, and defeated the attempted bypass by a vote of 121 to 298.

So how is this relevant to Buffalo?

(This post continues; click to read more…)