Share this article

print logo

Mary B. Pasciak

Mary Pasciak, a member of The Buffalo News' watchdog team, has been using Freedom of Information Law requests and data analysis to uncover stories for her hometown newspaper for more than 20 years.


Buffalo

Community Action Organization’s Head Start program in Erie County ranked among the lowest 10 percent of such programs across the country last year in classroom observations by federal officials. A government review last year also found that 11 percent of the agency’s teachers throughout Erie and Niagara counties did not have the required qualifications. The year befo…

Buffalo

A special accounting firm hired by concerned board members at the Community Action Organization was seeking specific records on the agency's use of federal dollars for Head Start programs when it halted work on its forensic audit. While the CAO's chief executive has publicly asserted that the auditor was never hired, a contract and emails obtained by The Buffalo News sh…

Buffalo

The FBI has interviewed two former board members of the Community Action Organization, with agents asking questions about the firing and reinstatement of CEO L. Nathan Hare, why Mayor Byron W. Brown tried to stop Hare's dismissal, and financial operations of the agency, according to two sources. In the past five weeks, FBI agents have spoken by phone or in person severa…

Local News

Community Action Organization of Western New York, which recently posted armed guards to block the public from a board meeting, has taken a step toward transparency. The agency still bars the general public from its meetings. But it says it will stream audio of its board meetings. “We heard our critics, and friends,” agency CEO L. Nathan Hare said in a letter to The …

Buffalo

Community Action Organization of Western New York should "change course and embrace transparency" or face increased federal oversight, Rep. Brian Higgins said Tuesday, the day after the anti-poverty agency hired armed guards to bar the public from its board meeting in Buffalo. In a written statement, the Buffalo Democrat noted he has helped deliver tens of millions of d…

Buffalo

The Community Action Organization of Western New York, which spends millions of dollars a year in public money, invites the public to its meetings. Except when it doesn't. CAO stationed three armed security guards at its doors Monday to keep the public out. Four CAO directors who had been banished from the nonprofit's board – after trying to fire the agency's CEO …

Watchdog

A confrontation is expected to erupt Monday at the Community Action Organization, which spends millions in government money fighting poverty in Western New York. At least two former directors, who were pushed off the board after trying to fire the politically connected CEO, intend to demand reinstatement when the board meets again. “I’m going to sign in as a director…

Buffalo

Buffalo’s booming real estate market has been more than generous to many city-dwellers selling their homes over the past few years, with some receiving more than twice the amount of money they paid just a few years ago. Their good fortune is likely to translate into a cost to longtime homeowners in some parts of Buffalo, though, when the full effects of the citywide rea…

Buffalo

L. Nathan Hare, the chief executive for one of the region's best-known human services agencies, was fired in October by board directors who felt he mishandled important financial matters. The directors then hired a forensic accountant to examine the books. But Mayor Byron W. Brown and one of his confidants came to the rescue. Hare was back the next business day as the h…

Buffalo

Two South Buffalo women arriving home early Sunday morning were greeted at their front door by masked robbers, one of whom had what looked like a gun. The women told Buffalo Police that when they got home on Spaulding Street from Club Marcella around 3 a.m., two men wearing ski masks approached them and forced them inside. Inside, one of the robbers called one of the wo…

Buffalo

A Buffalo resident was charged with driving while intoxicated early Sunday after allegedly driving into two parked cars, then leaving the scene, according to police reports. A vehicle struck two parked cars on Franklin Street near North Street around 3 a.m. The driver fled the scene. Police picked up Tyler Wunsch on Delaware Avenue near West Utica Street, then brought t…

Buffalo

A Buffalo man was charged with driving while intoxicated Saturday night after allegedly hitting a fire hydrant and Potomac Avenue and Bidwell Parkway, according to police reports. When officers reported to the scene around 8:10 p.m., they found a vehicle partially on the sidewalk, blocking the road. The vehicle, which had front end damage, was facing a fire hydrant, whi…

Buffalo

Police found crack cocaine in a man’s sock after a routine traffic stop Sunday in South Buffalo, according to an arrest report. Officers stopped a vehicle at Midland Street and Abbott Road around 2 a.m. for running a stop sign. Police said they smelled marijuana and pulled the driver out. He fled on foot and when officers caught him at the corner of Midland and McKinley…

Buffalo

A scuffle between an unwanted customer and employees at the 7-Eleven in University Heights ended with a broken store window early Sunday morning, according to a police report. A store employee told police that a customer was asked to leave the store several times but refused. Officers arrived at the store at Main Street and Winspear Avenue and warned him not to come bac…

Crime

Two men arguing inside an Ellicottville bar Saturday night took their altercation outside, where one man shot the other in the abdomen, according to state police. The victim was taken to Erie County Medical Center, where he was in critical condition early Sunday. Damien M. Marvin, 25, of Salamanca was charged with first-degree assault, a felony. Troopers responde…