Has government corruption played any role in Erie County's widespread financial problems? The Buffalo FBI office said Tuesday it has received "numerous" complaints from people who claim illegal actions by public officials helped to cause the financial crisis in county government. The complaints will be investigated, but only if people are willing to come forward with specific information, a spokesman for the agency said. "In the past few weeks, as the county budget crisis became more and more heated, we've received numerous calls and complaints," said Special Agent Paul M. Moskal. "But we need more specific information." Moskal declined to discuss any specifics about the allegations. "Obviously, a lot of people are frustrated over layoffs and many other issues surrounding the county's crisis," Moskal said. "If people have specific complaints or information, they can call our Public Corruption Task Force 24 hours a day, at 856-7800. If they want, their names can be kept confidential." No county government leader has been indicted on federal public corruption charges since County Executive Joel A. Giambra took office in 2000. An investigation by the county district attorney's office last year led to a plea deal taken by Douglas Naylon, a former highway department supervisor, for making unauthorized use of a county tractor-trailer for a job on his private property. Another former highway worker faces charges that he stole and resold expensive heavy equipment tires. After a Buffalo News investigation into county purchases of office furniture, State Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer last May filed a civil lawsuit against Buffalo Office Interiors, a company owned by a close friend of Giambra's. No criminal charges were filed in the furniture case, and Giambra and the company's owner, James J. Spano, have repeatedly denied allegations that the county was overcharged for the furniture by $513,810. At this time, the FBI has not opened a formal investigation into allegations of wrongdoing in county government, Moskal said.Why didn't Giambra just hire James Spano as "furniture czar" or something?
Oh the horror what will we tell our children. Corruption? What a surprise that would be. If you have any information, please: 856-7800.