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Senecas end contract with Pigeon lobbying firm

The Seneca Nation has terminated its contract with the lobbying firm run by G. Steven Pigeon, the Erie County political operative whose fundraising activities are under investigation by several law enforcement agencies.

“The Seneca Nation has terminated its consulting agreement with Papi Consulting LLC effective immediately,” the tribe said Tuesday in a statement. “The nation retained the services of Papi LLC in May 2015. Due to the recent circumstances involving the firm’s founding partner, Steve Pigeon, the nation has decided it is in our best interest to end this brief association.”

Pigeon and his lobbying firm had signed up the Seneca Nation as a major client after he left his 13-year association with the Underberg and Kessler law firm several weeks ago. That move followed reports that he was under investigation by the state attorney general and had hired an attorney.

Last week, the homes of Pigeon, former Deputy Mayor Steven M. Casey and Christopher M. Grant, chief of staff to Rep. Chris Collins, were searched by state and federal law enforcement as part of a year-long probe of a Pigeon-connected political committee called the WNY Progressive Caucus.

In a filing with the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics, which regulates the state’s lobbying industry, Pigeon’s firm stated that it was representing the Seneca Nation before Erie, Niagara, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties, Salamanca, Niagara Falls, the State Legislature and the Cuomo administration.

The filing states that the lobbying subjects include state/Seneca affairs, sovereignty and taxes.

The contract between the Senecas and Pigeon’s firm is not yet listed on the JCOPE website, suggesting the lobbying arrangement, covering the 2015-16 legislative session period, is relatively new.

The Seneca Nation is also represented in Albany by a lobbying firm whose partners include former Buffalo Mayor Anthony M. Masiello. The lobbying contract between the Seneca Nation and Masiello’s firm, according to an addendum submitted to JCOPE last week, calls for $49,900 in payments to the Buffalo lobbying group between last February and July 31.

A couple of hours after the Seneca Nation fired Pigeon, JCOPE posted the contract for the lobbying deal, which the state agency in Albany had been processing.

The contract shows Pigeon on April 29 signed an agreement with Maurice A. “Moe” John, the Seneca president, to represent the tribe for $180,000 in a deal effective May 1 until April 30, 2016. Listed as additional lobbyists with Pigeon are two of his longtime associates, Maurice L. Garner and Gary L. Parenti.

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