Michael G. Wolfgang
March 10, 1929 - Oct. 29, 2016
Michael G. Wolfgang, a lawyer who represented New York State Attorney General's Office in a variety of eminent domain cases and husband of State Supreme Court Justice Penny M. Wolfgang, died Saturday at his home in Williamsville. He was 87.
Born in Niagara Falls, he was a graduate of Niagara Falls High School and served in the Army while stationed in Pittsburgh, Pa., during the Korean War. Mr. Wolfgang earned his undergraduate degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology and received his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Buffalo Law School. He began practicing law in 1955.
From 1964 until 1979, he served as an Assistant Attorney General in the New York State Department of Law, concluding his service as Chief of the Regional Office covering Western New York under the late former state Attorney General Louis J. Lefkowitz. While heading the Attorney General's office, Mr. Wolfgang represented the state in eminent domain cases involving the acquisition of property for the development of interstate highways and other state projects, including parts of the Niagara section of the state Thruway and the Kensington Expressway.
During this period, according to the website for his private law practice, Wolfgang & Weinmann in downtown Buffalo, the eminent domain cases he tried involved the valuation of commercial, industrial and residential properties.
"In the legal community, he was known far and wide as the go-to person when it came to matters of eminent domain, an area of the law in which he was highly respected for his knowledge," said Peter A. Weinmann, who was Mr. Wolfgang's partner at Wolfgang & Weinmann.
"He was really prominent in the 1970s and 80s. Anybody who was anybody in either the legal community or the political community really knew him and the Wolfgang name, especially because he was prominent in local Republican politics. This was the heyday when Nelson Rockefeller was the governor," Weinmann added.
In 1981, Mr. Wolfgang went into private practice, concentrating on tax assessment challenges and eminent domain cases, in which he tried about 100 cases to a verdict and more than 400 others that were settled before trial.
To bolster his expertise, Mr. Wolfgang took various valuation courses sponsored by the state Department of Transportation and the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers. He also qualified as an expert witness on valuation for the New York State Court of Claims and the New York State Supreme Court.
He was a former member of the Niagara Falls School Board and a former Assistant District Attorney in Niagara County. He also served as chief counsel for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Construction Division, which supervised construction of the subway on Main Street in the City of Buffalo.
Mr. Wolfgang is also a former elected member of the Niagara Falls Board of Education and former Assistant District Attorney of Niagara County. He was also Chief Counsel for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Construction Division, supervising the construction of the subway in the City of Buffalo.
Mr. Wolfgang enjoyed traveling the world with his wife, whom he married on Aug. 23, 1964. The couple traveled multiple times to Paris, France, as well as to Russia and Italy.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a daughter, Robin; a sister, Molly Gerosky; two brothers, Jerald and Dr. Lawrence; and a grandchild.
A funeral service has been set for 11 a.m. Tuesday in Temple Beth Zion, 805 Delaware Ave.