John Michalek, now a former State Supreme Court judge, admitted in court Wednesday that he accepted bribes, including box seats to a Sabres game, and sought help getting two relatives jobs from political operative G. Steven Pigeon. At the same time, Michalek was presiding over cases that Pigeon was connected to. He pleaded guilty to two felonies -- accepting a bribe as a public servant and filing false information -- and resigned from his position. Pigeon is expected in court Thursday morning.
Court documents filed Wednesday showed what the specific allegations against Michalek are.
Here are seven specific allegations:
- In a May 2012 email, Michalek and Pigeon communicate about one of Michalek's relatives' job prospects with an unspecified national political campaign. Michalek emails Pigeon: "If in the meantime ... you wish for me to consider Receiverships for others in your office ... Sure ... if it helps you ... forward me some names ... John."
- On May 10, 2012, Pigeon emails Michalek the name of a local attorney he wanted named as a receiver in a case, even though that lawyer was not on the Administrative Chief Judge's list of qualified receivers. Pigeon refers to the lawyer he wanted appointed as "my guy." On May 23, 2012, Michalek signs an order that was filed in the Erie County Clerk's office appointing that lawyer to the receivership. Michalek writes: "We pushed it through anyway. ... have to give them a spec reason etc. ... will figure it out. ... John." He later files a form claiming that he "required the expertise" of the lawyer that was appointed.
- On Dec. 10, 2012, Michalek emails Pigeon asking for help in getting appointed to the State Supreme Court Appelate Division: "think there is a seat open in App Div ... I applied ... Normally I wouldn't mention it to you ... wonder if you could help." Pigeon replies the same day: "I will start talking u up." On Jan. 3, Michalek writes Pigeon. "Unc Steve ... How'd you do with the Gov???..." Pigeon responds: "Bunch happening. ... In Albany now. ... Gov went well ... Talked u up. ... Let's have coffee soon."
- On Feb. 1, 2013, Pigeon offers Michalek two tickets to box seats for a Buffalo Sabres game, which the judge accepts. At the same time, the two exchange emails concerning cases before Michalek and benefits Pigeon was providing Michalek and the two relatives.
- On March 2013, Pigeon offers two more tickets to box seats at a Sabres game. Again, Michalek accepts.
- In October 2013, Michalek writes to Pigeon about the second relative and says that relative would "be thrilled" to get an appointment to "some educational thing or another!!!" Pigeon responds: "Sneak me a resume." A month later, Pigeon asks Michalek if that relative would be interested in going to a political fundraiser. Michalek says the relative would be "tickled to go." Records show that the relative went to the event at no cost to Michalek or the relative. Records show it was a $1,000 per person event.
- On Jan. 22, 2015, Michalek emailed Pigeon to acknowledge that Pigeon had a new co-counsel on a case pending before him. He also emailed Pigeon saying he'd asked the second relative to send a resume. The complaint against Michalek said he "opined that he thought (RELATIVE 2) would be great for any Government Task For or Committee on Education." That relative forwarded a resume.
Read the full indictment here.