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ALBANY – In April, federal prosecutors sent a warning shot – heard by Democratic and Republican insiders – identifying one of their focuses in the upcoming Buffalo Billion trial: big and timely donations by allegedly corrupt developers in Buffalo and Syracuse to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s campaign. The April 25 letter by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan to U.S. Distr…

Buffalo

They still appear together on dozens of TV advertisements every day, urging people who have been injured in car accidents or other calamities to hire their law firm to sue the responsible parties, hopefully for millions of dollars. Ross M. Cellino Jr. and Stephen E. Barnes still work together, running a Buffalo-based personal injury law firm that has 250 employees, more…

Courts

NEW YORK – Lawyers for the defendants in the Buffalo Billion trial Monday offered a short and surprising defense highlighted by the parroted testimony of a disgraced prosecution witness from an earlier Albany corruption trial. In an apparent attempt to discredit the government's case against Buffalo developer Louis P. Ciminelli and other Buffalo Billion defendants – who…

Business

People in Buffalo know just how small the local community can seem, especially the business world. Now everybody in a New York City courtroom does, too. Testimony last week by former LPCiminelli executive Kevin Schuler in the corruption case against Louis P. Ciminelli and three other defendants revealed the delicate and interconnected relationships between Buffalo de…

Business

There are counterfeit sneakers, counterfeit watches and counterfeit cosmetics. There is even counterfeit Viagra. And now, in a world where everything real seems to have a fake counterpart, there's a new twist: Counterfeit debt. A new federal lawsuit accuses two local companies, one in Amherst, the other in Hamburg, of distributing and collecting on "phantom debts"…

Courts

The creators of two inflammatory online fake news items don’t identify local defense attorney Joseph Terranova by name in any of the pictures on the phony stories – but there he is. One shows Terranova standing in court next to a frightened-looking teen. The headline: “17-YEAR-OLD TEENAGER SUES HIS PARENTS FOR BEING BORN WHITE.” In another, on the “satiric” World New…

Courts

A Buffalo man pleaded guilty to setting a fire in an East Delavan Avenue home in November that spread to two neighboring house and left five adults and two children without a home, Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announced Friday. Joseph Aronica pleaded guilty before State Supreme Court Justice M. William Boller to one count of second-degree arson and two co…

Courts

NEW YORK – Todd Howe may not testify, but jurors in the Buffalo Billion trial are learning a lot about the former Washington, D.C., lobbyist and his ties to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. Howe was close to senior leadership in the the governor's officer and used the initials "A.C." when talking about Cuomo and "H.G." when referring to Cuomo confidante Howard Glaser, according to…

Courts

NEW YORK – On a summer day five years ago, Andrew Kennedy was in the midst of touring potential sites for a new solar manufacturing plant in Buffalo when an unexpected visitor arrived. It was Louis Ciminelli, said Kennedy, one of the state's top economic development officials at the time. Even though plans for the solar plant were still private and confidential, Kenn…

Courts

A 53-year-old Allentown resident was arraigned in Buffalo City Court this week after his arrest for allegedly threatening city officials and having illegal guns in his home, the District Attorney's Office announced Thursday. Robert Agresto pleaded not guilty at his arraignment before Judge Amy C. Martoche on one count of making a terroristic threat and six counts of cri…

Courts

Jose Nazario, 38, of Buffalo, admitted in Erie County Court to selling heroin to an undercover officer three different times. Nazario pleaded guilty to three counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree and one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, all felonies. Narcotics officers from the Buffalo Police …

Local News

A Darien town justice has dismissed the driving while intoxicated charge filed against a scout with the National Hockey League's Toronto Maple Leafs who was accused of a drunken spree involving a stolen golf cart last summer at Darien Lake. Darien Town Justice Michelle Krzemien on April 3 dismissed the most serious of the five charges that Lindsay Hofford, then 53, of N…

Local News

NIAGARA FALLS – Searingly painful migraine headaches. Noxious chemical smells so strong they keep her awake at night. A lung problem that has been diagnosed as pulmonary fibrosis. According to Dolly Salerno, 75, and her attorney, those ailments are the price she pays for living close to Love Canal, one of the world's most infamous hazardous waste sites. "The smells g…