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Matthew Spina

Matthew Spina, a staff reporter at The Buffalo News since 2004, has worked in daily newspaper journalism for more than 30 years. He's a graduate of SUNY Buffalo State and grew up in Schenectady, N.Y.


Local News

His first political comeback came at an opportune time: the summer and fall of 2007. Erie County government had just been crushed by a financial crisis. Taxpayers, annoyed by another sales tax increase, were looking for a new county executive. Christopher Carl Collins, who had made a fortune acquiring distressed companies and turning them around, convinced voters the…

Local News

Rep. Chris Collins was at the White House when he committed the act that triggered a federal indictment alleging he, his son and a friend of the family engaged in a conspiracy to commit securities fraud. It was June 22, 2017, and Collins was at the congressional picnic on the White House grounds. At around 7 p.m. he received an email from the chief executive officer of …

Featured

Rep. Chris Collins of Clarence was arrested on insider trading charges Wednesday, federal prosecutors in New York announced. Collins' son, Cameron Collins, and Stephen Zarsky, the father of Cameron Collins' fiancee, also were arrested. All three surrendered to federal authorities in New York City, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York s…

Business

Federal agents seized so many computerized records in their raid on Morgan Management's headquarters in May, prosecutors have blown through their July 27 deadline to turn them over to defense lawyers and still need months more to accomplish the task. "We seized a number of devices," Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas A. Penrose said during a status conference Monday in the…

Business

Tonawanda Coke likes Stefan I. Mychajliw, the Erie County comptroller who says he might run for county executive next year. No local or state candidate has reaped more campaign cash from Tonawanda Coke than Mychajliw in recent years – even though a county comptroller wields little power to help the company with its regulatory issues. Tonawanda Coke has given $24,100 …

Crime

Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn Jr. says his office cannot investigate the death of Holding Center inmate India Cummings but thinks the state Attorney General's Office or a special prosecutor should. In a statement Thursday, Flynn said he filed a motion before Erie County Court Judge Susan Eagan asking her to appoint a special prosecutor in the Cummings case…

Buffalo

Robert C. Morgan's brother is suing him. Two of his company's loans are in danger of imminent default. And the developer faces a new hurdle if he wants to borrow money again. Strain is showing at Morgan Management, the Pittsford-based real estate empire with two executives facing federal fraud charges. Morgan Management in recent weeks sold four apartment complexes i…

Local News

Sheriff Timothy B. Howard on Wednesday questioned why county lawmakers believe the state Commission of Correction when it says gross incompetence led to the death of an inmate in the Erie County Holding Center he oversees. "Why are you so willing to accept as true what is no more than an opinion?" Howard said of the detailed 33-page report from the Commission of Correct…

Crime

The pathologist who performed an autopsy on the body of Erie County Holding Center inmate India Cummings says he's not inclined to rule her death a homicide, even though a state agency says it should be called a homicide due to medical neglect. The pathologist, Dr. Scott F. LaPoint of Monroe County, said he will make no changes unless the state Commission of Correction'…

Local News

In its scathing report on the death of India Cummings, a state agency cited the "alarming pattern" of Erie County inmates who have wound up dead after a mental health crisis. The county Legislature should take up the topic, the state Commission of Correction's Medical Review Board said as it forwarded its report to the Legislature chairman. One well-placed legislator…

Featured

UPDATE 7/19/18: Pathologist won't alter his findings in India Cummings' cause of death ••• In the days leading to her death, Holding Center inmate India Cummings would babble on the floor of her cell and lie in a puddle of her urine, but the Erie County jail's key staff failed to respond as she declined mentally and physically, a state agency says. The Commission of…

Crime

Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour acknowledged Wednesday that his office did receive a "be on the lookout" alert that sex offender Larry K. Keiper had absconded from parole supervision days before he allegedly tried to snatch a child. So the sheriff regrets his comments at a news conference Tuesday, when he mistakenly cast blame on the state Department of Corrections…

Featured

Twenty miles west of the Lackawanna toll barrier, loose items in the car start to shake. Failed patches of tar flake into wheel wells. A dull roar fills the passenger cabin as signs advise drivers to slow down. "It's beyond politics," said John W. Rigley, who figures he drives on this rough-and-tumble section of the New York State Thruway through Seneca Nation territory…

Buffalo

A Health Department inspector found only minor problems during a routine check of the Erie County Holding Center's kitchen in February. The inspector noted no sign of rats. Yet rats are seen "almost on a daily basis," a jail employee told The Buffalo News. "They have been observed walking through prepared food, and that food was still served," said the worker, who…

Featured

Through his lawyer, Republican operative Michael R. Caputo of East Aurora has told a House committee that he wants to add to the testimony he gave a year ago as the congressional panel investigated Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Caputo now wants the committee to know that in May 2016 he helped connect a Russian who was offering "dirt" on Hillary Cli…