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Attorney pays fines for mayor's son

A family attorney Monday personally paid Byron W. Brown Jr.'s $275 in fines levied by the state for the teenager's Feb. 24 incident with his mother's SUV.

Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown declined to comment on his son's case.

"He's not going to have any comment," Peter Cutler, the mayor's director of communications, said after attorney Joel L. Daniels paid the fine at the state Department of Motor Vehicles Adjudication Bureau in Ellicott Square.

After paying the fine, Daniels, a nationally known Buffalo lawyer, said the 16-year-old Byron Jr. "learned a tough lesson and he's going to be doing a lot of walking for a while now."

Daniels used his personal credit card to pay the fines assessed on the youth's guilty plea to traffic tickets charging him with unlicensed driving and leaving the scene of a hit-and-run property-damage accident without reporting it.

Neither the mayor nor his son -- a City Honors High School student -- accompanied Daniels to the Adjudication Bureau, which was crowded with media representatives for the brief proceeding.

Daniels said he expects the mayor's son will be required by his father to reimburse him for paying the traffic fines.

Byron Jr., who had only a learner's permit, sneaked out of his family's Blaine Avenue home at about 5 a.m. Feb. 24 and drove to meet a friend. As the neophyte driver was returning at about 7 a.m., he crashed into two parked cars and a pickup truck before abandoning the SUV on Loring Avenue.

Though the mayor and his wife both initially insisted the car had been stolen by an unknown thief -- even though it was found near their home -- their son belatedly confessed to a Buffalo police detective about six weeks after the incident and after the discovery of two videotapes made by cameras at nearby Canisius College.

Meanwhile, First Deputy Mayor Steven M. Casey said Monday that Brown is willing to release the videotapes once the insurance investigation is concluded. Casey said he expects that to be wrapped up in the near future.

Casey also said the three individuals whose cars were damaged have received payments for their claims.

On April 6, a day after the confession to a detective, the mayor held a news conference and said he had given his son -- "a good boy" who would now be "grounded" -- the benefit of the doubt. He insisted he hadn't learned the truth until the April 5 confession.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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