With its move to keep hidden decades of financial disclosure forms as well as not pursuing an audit of Off Track Betting for its widely criticized VIP ticket giveaways, the Niagara County Legislature on Tuesday proved once again it’s not accountable to the public and afraid of what it may find.
Niagara County’s unelected kingpin and CEO of Western Off Track Betting — attorney Henry Wojtaszek (above) — made his first appearance in four years before the legislative body to present financial results of the public benefit corporation and address the on-going VIP ticket scandal first brought up by his mentor — former State Senator George Maziarz — and now being reported on [...]
“The worst interview I’ve ever had!” exclaimed Independence Party of Niagara County chairperson Susan Agnello-Eberwein at the conclusion of independent journalist Joseph Kissel’s interview seeking the Independence Party’s endorsement.
The roughly 20-minute interview with seven members of the executive committee of Niagara County’s Independence Party started off congenially and innocently enough at 4 p.m. Saturday in one of the side rooms of Wheatfield’s Community Center off Niagara Falls Blvd.
The first question seemed fairly innocuous: “What made you want to get into politics?”
As the only independent professional journalist in Niagara County, during [...]
It got pretty geeky at the Buffalo Niagara Coalition for Open Government’s recent forum featuring Susan Lerner from Common Cause and Alex Camrada of Reinvent Albany, two state-level advocacy groups seeking to establish local connections.
Subjects ranged from the need in smaller communities for elected representatives to file financial disclosure forms to the state comptroller losing the ability to review contracts and how that contributed to the Buffalo Billion corruption as well as professionalizing the state’s board of elections and making sure “shadow government affiliated non-profits” follow the same open meeting and FOIL laws as [...]
President Trump has called New York — home to high taxes and low temperatures — a “failed state.”
So what exactly does that make Niagara County?
And yet, local elected officials across this land of apparent plenty and prosperity — at least for those on the “Friends and Family Plan of Niagara County ®” — are giving themselves raises left and right in an environment they see as nobody watching or caring.
Commenting on the pubic pillaging is a mortal sin, inviting fierce pushback which ultimately keeps criticism — and even just discussion and disclosure — to the bare minimum.
Former residents of Niagara [...]