Some facts, heard-on-the-streets and rumors

Here is a variety of information about politics and other stuff:

  • The political control of the Erie County Water Authority will shift to the Democrats when the term of current Board member Robert Anderson runs out in April. Names in circulation for appointment include City of Tonawanda Democratic Committee Chair Gayle Syposs and attorney Mark Carney. Previous speculation included former Democratic County Chair Len Lenihan, but that seems less likely now.
  • A change in leadership at the Authority would give the organization the opportunity to slim down its bloated administrative staff and to review outside professional service contracts. Ratepayers would benefit.
  • Speaking of appointments, Bob McCarthy’s reporting for the Buffalo News noted the recent selection of Conservative County Chairman Ralph Lorigo and local accountant Philip Tantillo to the Statler Foundation by outgoing Erie County Surrogate Barbara Howe.   The Foundation provides scholarships for college students pursuing an education related to the hospitality industry. The Surrogate is responsible for the operations of the Foundation.
  • If you try to find out more about the Foundation, don’t bother trying to Google a Statler Foundation website. There doesn’t appear to be one.
  • What you can find out from the internet is available from the Foundation Center, which collects reports for not-for-profit organizations that are required to file annual IRS Form 990 tax returns.
  • The latest available tax return for the Statler Foundation, found on the Foundation Center website, is from 2015, so the information is a bit dated. It does provide some insight into the organization.
  • In 2015 the Foundation had an endowment of $30.1 million, with $1.3 million in distributed awards for scholarships and other activities.
  • The 2015 tax return lists a total of 14 members of the Foundation, one of whom has passed away. The remaining listed members from 2015 included:
    • Arthur F. Musarra
    • Donna Gioia
    • Peter J. Fiorella, Jr.
    • Marguerite Collesano
    • Elyse NeMoyer
    • Edward M. Flynn
    • Carlo M. Perfetto
    • Peter A. Vinolus
    • Herbert M. Siegel
    • Robert M. Bennett
    • Arthur V. Sabia
    • Ernestine R. Green
    • Bernard A. Tolbert
  • At one time there were only three trustees of the Foundation and they were each paid approximately $100,000 per year, making the positions the most lucrative political appointments in Western New York.
  • Because of the expanded membership, Trustees in 2015 “only” received an annual compensation of $21,245, with a handful listed that year for lesser amounts.
  • The Foundation has an office on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo and employs an office manager.
  • Scholarship funds distributed in 2015 by the Foundation included Erie Community College ($55,000); Buffalo State College ($25,000); Niagara County Community College ($18,000); Niagara University ($116,000); Trocaire College ($18,000); several other schools outside of Western New York; plus individual payments for 21 students at various schools.
  • Erie Community College received two grants in 2015 for a total of $85,378.
  • There’s a new sheriff, er, new County Surrogate in town, Acea Mosey. Perhaps now, at the beginning of Judge Mosey’s term, would be a good time to let a little sunlight into the activities of the Foundation.
  • The campaign committee financial reports that were posted on the New York State Board of Elections website in mid-January included some interesting tidbits, beyond just the total current available resources of the committee. One eagle-eyed reader of this blog pointed out that the July 2017 Friends of Crystal D. People committee’s report included a donation of $200,417 from the Voice of Teachers for Education. We can assume the amount was a typo.
  • Senator Pat Gallivan’s political committee, Gallivan for Senate, reported a balance of just $63,010 in January 2018, which is a small fraction of the campaign account totals of the other Western New York state senators. Gallivan’s report stated that just $25,005 had been raised in the past six months; Michael Ranzenhofer raised $184,250. The report included a fundraising expense of $23,614 to the Crag Burn Country Club. That amount also seems like a typo.
  • The Gallivan report included $82,662 in spending, including the Crag Burn item. It also included a total of $15,573 paid to the Hodgson Russ law firm, and another $10,932 paid to the firm Personius Melber.
  • There will be a vacant Erie County Court seat on the ballot this fall, following the retirement of Judge Michael Pietruszka. Unlike the elections for three other recent County Court positions, this year there could actually be a contest. Susan Barnes has been considered the favorite for Democratic nomination, but other names currently in the mix also include Buffalo City Court Judge Debra Givens and Amherst Town Justice Kara Buscaglia.
  • For the past several years Anthony Colucci III has served as the general counsel of the Erie County Medical Center. Business First recently noted that Colucci was paid $527,824 in 2016. Colucci is reportedly moving on to Kaleida Health. That would leave an incredibly lucrative vacancy at ECMC. Some new members have been appointed to the 15 person ECMC Board of Trustees by County Executive Mark Poloncarz, including Eugenio Russi and attorneys Jennifer Persico and Christopher O’Brien. The Board would make an appointment for the counsel position.
  • While we’re on the subject of ECMC, rumor has it that the system the hospital purchased and installed last spring to collect parking revenues is not functioning as intended; something about it not being designed for outdoor lots in cold climates. That would mean that the hospital spent thousands on the system that isn’t working properly while also losing thousands of dollars in revenues. Looks like the hospital will need to pay for all those high-priced salaries and expensive TV commercials some other way.
  • The Republican gubernatorial debate with candidates John DeFrancisco, Joel Giambra and Brian Kolb will be held at Daemen College this Saturday, February 10th, at 10:30 am.
  • The Super Bowl champions Philadelphia Eagles have two starting-quality quarterbacks. The Minnesota Vikings have three. The Buffalo Bills have two picks in the first, second and third rounds of the April draft. Sounds like it is time to make a deal.

2 thoughts on “Some facts, heard-on-the-streets and rumors

  1. Seriously? The below is sarcasm right?

    > A change in leadership at the Authority would give the organization the opportunity to slim down its bloated administrative staff and to review outside professional service contracts. Ratepayers would benefit.

    Sent from my iPhone



Comments are closed.