Sedita ties up loose ends of his DA campaign account but fails to file any financial reports for his Court election; last look at other 2015 campaign spending; another “One Buffalo” team sinking?

Sedita’s campaign finances

We need to wait a while to get the specifics about how the 2016 District Attorney candidates are operating. Interim DA Michael Flaherty is in the race, raising and spending money. County Court Judge Tim Franczyk will soon resign his court seat to become a candidate for DA. Inquiring minds might want to know if soon-to-be-interim DA Michael Flaherty really convened a meeting of the current office staff in County offices to announce his campaign plans.

We only have one DA at a time, and the current one has been busy tidying up his DA campaign account. Most of the $170,000 or so that existed in September in the Friends of Frank Sedita account has been disbursed, although $19,526 was still there as of November 30th. Late transactions included two “loan repayments” in the amount of $20,000 to Frank A. Sedita III and $25,000 to Marilyn Sedita. Both loans were made in 2008. Sedita was first elected DA in 2008 and he was re-elected in 2012.

Concerning loans to campaign committees, the State Election Law (Section 14-114.6.a) states:   A loan made to a candidate or political committee, other than a constituted committee, by any person, firm, association or corporation other than in the regular course of the lender’s business shall be deemed, to the extent not repaid by the date of the primary, general or special election, as the case may be, a contribution by such person, firm, association or corporation.

So it seems that those 2008 loans actually converted to contributions right after the 2008 election, but I guess some contributions can be refunded.

Related to this story, here is recap of the local State Supreme Court race (actually designation is a better word for the process than race):

Frank Sedita (D, R, C, I, WF): amount raised in 2015 — unknown; amount spent in 2015 – unknown. There are no financial reports filed for the Sedita for Supreme Court campaign.

Emilio Colaiavoco (D, R, C, I, WF): raised $107,816 in 2015; spent $68,601 in 2015; $39,215 remaining

Total spent on the Supreme Court campaign by candidates in 2015: No way of knowing until Sedita files his reports.


Other campaign spending reports

November 30th was the deadline for campaign committees in New York State to file the last financial report related to the 2015 election. Here is a brief summary of who raised and spent what and what the winning candidates have left in their campaign accounts. These numbers do not include money spent on the candidates’ behalves directly by the respective parties:

Erie County Executive

Mark Poloncarz (D, WF, WE): raised $604,048 in 2015; spent $774,461 in 2015; $199,445 remaining

Ray Walter (R,C,I,Ref): raised $234,001 in 2015 ($130,000 for the County Republican Committee, and indirectly the Republican State Committee); spent $243,908 in 2015

Eric Jones (G): No final report filed. Spent $102 through October 23rd.

Total spent on the County Executive campaign by candidates in 2015: $1,018,470.   A million dollars is a lot of money, but in campaigns for this office in years gone by total spending was much higher. The total spending this year was a function of low voter interest based on the common anticipated outcome. I would not take any of this as a trend just yet.

Erie County Family Court

Brenda Freedman (R, C, I, G, WF, Ref): raised $261,917 in 2015; spent $265,827 in 2015; $2,610 remaining

Kelly Brinkworth (D, WE): raised $302,234 in 2015; spent $302,183 in 2015

Michele Brown (Ran in D, R primaries): raised $280,996 in 2015; spent $279,056 in 2015

Joseph Jarzembek (Ran in D primary): raised $7,870 in 2015; spent $5,628 in 2015

Total spent on the Family Court campaign by candidates in 2015: $852,694. Spending this amount of money for a low-profile judicial seat is just amazing. It is also unfortunate all the candidates extended themselves and their families so deeply. If this is a trend, it needs to be stopped.

Erie County County Court

Sheila DiTullio (D, R, C, I, WF): total raised in 2015 – unknown; total spent in 2015 – unknown. No financial disclosure reports have been filed since July 2015.

James Bargnesi (D, R, C, I, WF): total raised in 2015 – unknown; total spent in 2015 – unknown. No financial disclosure reports filed since October 2, 2015.

Total spent on the County Court campaign by candidates in 2015: No way of knowing at this time.

Erie County Legislature

I took a look at the financial reports of all eleven members of the Legislature, all re-elected. Here is a summary:

  • Four of the eleven, as of December 3rd, have not filed their final campaign reports that were due on November 30th. The four are: Barbara Miller-Williams; Betty Jean Grant; Patrick Burke; Joseph Lorigo
  • Of the seven legislators who are up-to-date on their financial disclosures, here are the remaining balances in their accounts:
    • Peter Savage                     $32,838
    • Kevin Hardwick                 $19,296
    • Tom Loughran                   $1,607
    • Ed Rath                                 $32,678
    • Ted Morton                        $392
    • Lynn Dixon                          $25,201
    • John Mills                            $4,979

Other committees

In addition to the major races, we are still waiting for financial reports from The Right Democratic Team, based in Cheektowaga. The committee raised at least $3,410 but only disclosed where $125 came from even though we can identify other sources of the committee’s money from other disclosure forms. We don’t have any information about what they did with the money. Perhaps the interim District Attorney’s new public integrity unit can find out.

While the interim DA’s new unit is at it, they may also want to check into how a State Supreme Court candidate ran an election campaign without filing any financial disclosure reports.

Ralph Lorigo’s Real Conservatives committee has not filed its post-election report.

Consultants galore!

If you take a close look at the financial reports of many of these campaigns you see a development that is probably affecting the very nature of local campaigns. The locals are doing a good job of imitating their national campaign colleagues.

I’m writing about the ever expanding cost of “consultants” in the campaigns. We are not talking about contracts worth tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars locally, but some local consultants are doing quite well at $1,000 here, $2,000 there. They don’t identify themselves by name, unlike their national counterparts, thinking I guess that no one will put two and two together. Sounds like this is a project for future blog consideration.


Pegula Sports and Entertainment’s other team is sinking

Last winter and spring Pegula Sports and Entertainment’s hockey team, the Buffalo Sabres, seemed to be making less than a serious effort to win games. The theory on the sports pages was that the team was maybe deliberately losing or tanking to get the first choice in the June hockey draft. They drafted second and took Jack Eichel, who seems to be doing well. There are currently at least four or five teams in the League worse than the Sabres, which so far is an improvement over the last two seasons. So maybe there was a point to the shenanigans.

But now another division of Pegula Sports and Entertainment is not doing so well. I admit that I got caught up in the pre-season Rex Ryan Buffalo Bills hype. Maybe I should have been paying more attention to what kind of character was coming to town.

There is no need to re-hash most of the disasters that have befallen the Bills thus far in 2015. But last Sunday’s loss does deserve some comment.

A great first half by Sammy Watkins was followed by “does anyone know where Sammy is” in the second half. The defense carries more money than a Brinks truck, but last Sunday they operated like a Yugo. Who knew Alex Smith was such a great quarterback?

And then there were the coach’s challenges, or the absence of challenges. Maybe the assistant coaches up in the booth were watching a different game, or maybe they were just checking their email? And what was the story about the team chaplain telling Rex what to do about one particular challenge opportunity. Who knew there was even a team chaplain?

So the 2015 season is slowly fading away, and the coup de grace might come against Houston next Sunday. Ahh, for the days of Dick Jauron and Doug Marrone.