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West Seneca health care firm catches investigators' interest

Before lodging bribery charges against G. Steven Pigeon, investigators learned that Palladian Health of West Seneca had filed a lawsuit that got transferred to State Supreme Court Justice John A. Michalek’s court after the case had been assigned to another judge in 2013.

They also learned that while Michalek was handling the case, he exchanged emails about the lawsuit with Pigeon, an attorney associated with the law firm representing Palladian, but not one of the firm’s attorneys assigned to the case.

The case eventually settled out of court, but one of the questions investigators wanted to know is why the case was transferred to Michalek, The Buffalo News reported last year.

Now Palladian is also one of the firms listed in the subpoena presented to City Hall in July, three sources confirmed.

The West Seneca firm in 2011 was awarded a competitively bid contract for the city of Buffalo’s employee assistance program, offering counseling and related services to city workers. It was a $39,215 one-year, initial contract, with two additional one-year extensions, that increased to $40,612 in the third year, according to documents obtained from the city comptroller’s office through a Freedom of Information request.

The contract expired in June 2014, but the city didn’t rebid the contract until November 2015, so the Palladian contract was extended until July 2016, when a new contract was awarded, the documents show. Once rebid, Palladian was selected in July 2016 to continue providing the services to city workers for up to four more years. Palladian was second-lowest of four bidders, but city reviewers ranked it as the best overall proposal, based on criteria that included scope of the program, experience and training provisions, according to bid documents.

The four bidders were:

  • Deer Oaks of Texas: $40,046.
  • Palladian of West Seneca: $46,128.
  • Child & Family Services of Buffalo: $46,350.
  • Employee Resources of Buffalo: $46,350.

The city comptroller’s office did not have similar bid documents for the 2011 employee assistance contract. The Buffalo News has requested the information from the Brown administration, but as of Saturday, The News had not received the information.

Related content:

Pigeon probe expands into Buffalo City Hall

Most on subpoena list contributed to Brown

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