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As lobbyist, Masiello is on familiar terrain Ex-contractor a client, city may be another

Mayor-turned-lobbyist Anthony M. Masiello, six weeks out of Buffalo's City Hall, now finds himself representing hunters, the makers of Botox, builders, a theater and a firm that won millions of dollars worth of contracts from a city authority while he was mayor.

Democrat Masiello and his three Republican partners have a growing list of clients. And they hope to add one more: the City of Buffalo.

The former mayor's firm, Government Action Professionals, is among those interested in winning a contract to represent Mayor Byron W. Brown and the city before state government in Albany.

"I think I bring a lot of expertise to help them in Albany on many different fronts," Masiello said of the new Brown administration. "On the financial side, nobody knows their finances better than I do. I have an in-depth understanding of their government and what works and isn't working."

Though there are revolving-door restrictions imposed on state government officials, the law is more lax when it comes to former local government officials such as Masiello. Moreover, if he represented the city, which might be a long shot given Brown's desire to stake out his own direction for city government, Masiello would not be trying to influence the city. He would be trying to influence the state on the city's behalf.

Masiello is the sole Democrat in a fledgling lobbying group that includes Carl J. Calabrese, a former deputy county executive under Joel A. Giambra, Marina P. Woolcock, a former State Senate aide and former adviser to Giambra, and Victor N. Farley, a former county GOP chairman who has lobbied for the county and city over the years.

All but one of the firm's clients were signed on before he joined the company Jan. 1, Masiello said. That client, Allergan Inc. of Irvine, Calif., specializes in skin-care, eye-care and neurological products, including the wrinkle-reducer Botox. It is paying Masiello's firm $60,000 to represent it in Albany, according to documents filed with the state Lobbying Commission. Masiello said he got the contract through Jonathan F. Hawayek, a company executive who works in the Buffalo area.

Another client is Malcolm Pirnie Inc., an environmental consulting company that obtained millions of dollars in contracts with the Buffalo Sewer Authority during Masiello's years in office. The mayor controlled the majority of the Sewer Authority board's appointees.

A city audit of contracts by the Sewer Authority found nine of them awarded to Malcolm Pirnie over a 38-month period starting in 2001; originally budgeted at $5.9 million, the projects ended up costing $9.1 million because of change-orders. In December, the Sewer Authority's then-general manager, Anthony A. Hazzan, left to join Malcolm Pirnie.

Malcolm Pirnie is paying Masiello's firm $60,000 this year, according to a copy of the lobbying contract. Masiello and his partners will help the company with lobbying and public relations and provide "collaboration in the preparation of proposals and submittals to public and private sector clients."

Calabrese said Malcolm Pirnie came to the firm looking for lobbying help. He said a contract was first signed with the company during the summer. Documents filed with the state Lobbying Commission show a contract dated Nov. 17, one month after Masiello announced he was joining the lobbying firm.

Masiello said he had nothing to do with Malcolm Pirnie hiring the lobbying firm.

"Obviously, I've had relations with Malcolm Pirnie from being mayor, but the work they did for the city basically went through the Public Works Department," Masiello said. "I feel very comfortable that everything is fine. They did work for the city, and they did it very well."

Masiello said he will not lobby the city on Malcolm Pirnie's behalf.

"I can't do that, and I won't do that," he said.

An official with Malcolm Pirnie did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Other clients of Masiello's firm include Shea's Performing Arts Center, which is paying $20,000 this year; Aurora Home Care; the Buffalo Niagara Builders Association; the regional chapter of the Safari Club International, a hunters organization; the Town of Lancaster; MJW Corp., a radiologic consulting firm; and World DLA, a company that develops fraud-detection services, including verifying the authenticity of driver's licenses.

If he misses City Hall, Masiello was not letting on Friday as he talked by phone from his lobbying firm's new office on Main Street in downtown Buffalo.

"I'm enjoying this immensely," he said. "I went from being on one side of the desk to the other side of the desk. This is a great niche for me."


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