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Engineering firm has ties to Pigeon, Erie County Democrats

Clough Harbour and Associates is a major design and engineering firm based in Albany that acts as a subcontractor to LPCiminelli in its role as construction contractor of the $750 million SolarCity complex at RiverBend in South Buffalo.

The firm is no stranger to major construction projects, according to its website, staffing 35 offices around the country including one in Main Place Tower in downtown Buffalo.

Clough Harbour (also known as CHA Inc.) has maintained a significant donor profile in New York State politics, with Board of Elections campaign finance records indicating it contributed about $124,000 to various candidates and committees over the past 10 years. They include donations to Mayor Byron W. Brown of Buffalo, Mayor Paul A. Dyster of Niagara Falls, former Sen. Antoine M. Thompson of Buffalo, and the Erie County Democratic Committee.

It gained some local notoriety back in 2000 when The Buffalo News reported on the efforts of then-Democratic Chairman G. Steven Pigeon to be appointed a commissioner of the Erie County Water Authority.

At the time, he claimed to have introduced the firm to contracts from the water authority and the administration of former County Executive Dennis T. Gorski in its waning days.

According to State Board of Elections records, Clough Harbour gave almost $5,000 in the late 1990s to two Democratic Headquarters accounts, to Pigeon’s personal campaign fund, and to the campaign treasury of former Buffalo Comptroller Anthony R. Nanula – Pigeon’s close personal and political ally.

During that period, Clough Harbour also employed as a consultant Christopher P. Walsh, then-vice chairman of the Erie County Democratic Committee and another close Pigeon ally. Pigeon at the time said Walsh acted as a “networker” and local presence for the firm.

Pigeon claimed neither he nor his political interests maintained any direct connection to Clough Harbour in 2000, and said the firm came to him, asking where to direct its political contributions.

email: rmccarthy@buffnews.com