Most on subpoena list contributed to Brown - The Buffalo News

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Most on subpoena list contributed to Brown

Palladian Health, like most of the firms named in the subpoena that arrived at City Hall in July, made political contributions to Mayor Byron W. Brown over the years, according to financial reports filed with the New York State Board of Elections.

The health firm — which has held the city’s competitively bid employee assistance program contact since 2011 — donated $2,500 to the mayor’s Brown for Buffalo political committee from 2012 to 2014.

Palladian’s chief operating officer, Mark R. Zygaj, contributed an additional $1,000 to Brown in 2012, the financial reports show.

Palladian also contributed to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo during those years, giving Cuomo $5,000 in 2012. Zygaj donated another $2,500 to Cuomo in 2014.

In addition, Cycaz LLC, listed at the same Transit Road address as Palladian, donated $5,000 to Cuomo in 2011 and $5,000 in 2013 to WNY Progressive Caucus, a political committee that Pigeon controls. On that same date, state election board records show, Palladium Inc (sic), with no address listed, gave $5,000 to the Pigeon committee.

Palladian did not return a call or email for comment.

Some of the other firms mentioned in the City Hall subpoena also made campaign contributions. American Continental Group gave $2,500 to Brown in 2009 and $2,000 to Cuomo that same year. Modern Disposal gave $22,500 to Brown’s political fund since Brown became mayor in 2006. Other Modern-related company firms gave the mayor’s fund another $25,000. The companies gave $6,000 to Cuomo from 2010 to 2014.

R&P Oak Hill development gave $21,310 since 2008 to Brown, and $33,500 to Cuomo between 2009 and 2013. The company also gave $500 in 2016 to Grassroots and $1,500 in 2011 to Garner's Be the Change political committee, according the campaign reports.

Hormoz Mansouri, owner of HLM Holdings, contributed $5,600 to Brown between 2007 and 2010 and $500 to Cuomo in 2009. He also contributed $2,000 in 2008 to Grassroots. His EI Team company contributed $3,200 to Grassroots from 2007 and 2009.

Brown received $6,000 from Ina Chapman, the wife of the Rev. Michael Chapman, pastor of St. John Baptist Church and head of the church’s development organization, Fruit Belt Development Corp. NRP, the Cleveland-based development company, is a big financial supporter of Cuomo. The company donated $52,000 to the governor between 2011 and 2016, and its founder, J. David Heller, donated almost $90,000 to the governor between 2010 and 2016, according to the financial disclosure reports.

But neither Heller nor NRP made any donations to Brown, according to the campaign finance reports.

NRP was in Buffalo in 2009 working on a plan to built 50 rental homes in the Masten and Cold Spring neighborhoods. The project stalled when Brown refused to transfer land the city had set aside for the development. At the time, Brown said he was uncomfortable with the project, in part because it had a provision that the rental homes could not be sold to prospective homeowners for 15 to 30 years. The project would benefit the developers more than Buffalo residents, Brown said.

But NRP claimed Brown killed the project after NRP refused the mayor’s demand that Rev. Richard A. Stenhouse be given an $80,000 job on the project. NRP sued, alleging a pay-to-play scheme.

Brown denied the charge and the case was dismissed in court, but not on the merits of the case, Instead, Brown’s attorneys successfully argued that as mayor, Brown has immunity from civil lawsuits connected to his official duties. NRP is appealing the ruling.

The case attracted attention from the FBI even before this recent subpoena was issued, according to a source familiar with the dispute.

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