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Pigeon says funds in question were consulting fees, not gifts

Former Deputy District Attorney Mark A. Sacha's main claim against political strategist G. Steven Pigeon is that Pigeon laundered a $10,000 contribution from Joel A. Giambra and it ended up in the county executive campaign account of Paul T. Clark with no trace of Giambra, still politically toxic from his term as county executive.

Sacha said the money went from Giambra to Landen Associates LLC, a consulting company of Pigeon's, and from there it went to the firm of Media Co., owned by Paul Clark's brother, Timothy.

From Media Co., the money then went to Paul Clark.

If that indeed is what happened, it's a violation of the state election law that requires that political contributors be identified.

Pigeon denied that account to The Buffalo News. Timothy Clark declined to comment.

"Mark Sacha is Ken Starr," Pigeon said, comparing Sacha to the independent prosecutor who investigated Bill Clinton. "He's so convinced of his own purity, he thinks everyone in politics is doing something."

Pigeon said Giambra paid him $10,000 for consulting work that Pigeon did in helping Giambra manage his transition into private life.

"I was working for Joel Giambra," Pigeon said. "I was consulting with him on how to leave office. He hired me to work with him."

Pigeon said he hired Timothy Clark to work on the campaign of Lewis "Babe" Rotella, who was exploring a run for mayor of Niagara Falls.

Pigeon said whatever Timothy Clark did with the money he paid him, it's his business.

"I'm sure he was helping his brother," Pigeon said. "It's his money and he can do with it what he wanted."

Pigeon was asked if it was just coincidence that the transactions occurred within days of each other.

"Then it was a coincidence," Pigeon said. "What Tim Clark does with is money is his business."

Pigeon's account does not square with the public record.

Records from the state Board of Elections show that Giambra gave $10,000 to Landen Associates on July 15, 2007.

But the report filed by Giambra lists that $10,000 as a political contribution, not an expense for consulting work.

And there is no mention in any of the campaign expense reports filed by Rotella that either Pigeon or Timothy Clark did any consulting work for him.

Sacha said that during the investigation, Rotella provided the DA's investigators with a statement indicating he had never met Timothy Clark and that he never developed a media plan.

"The bottom line is that Rotella knows nothing," Sacha said. "That's a lie. Tim Clark never did anything for that $9,000."

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