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July 22, 2013 - 4:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, corfu, Robert Alexander, Brandi Watts.

Former Village of Corfu justice Robert Alexander said after his appearance in County Court this afternoon that he would never, ever, do anything to hurt the people of his lifelong hometown.

Alexander would not discuss the specifics of the case against him -- he's charged with coercion and official misconduct -- but reiterated in a short statement to media gathered outside the courthouse that he's a born-again Christian and that he wouldn't break the law.

"I had the privileged of serving in the Village of Corfu for 24 years," Alexander said. "I grew up there. I love that village, and when I see people or hear people in social media or on television or anything like that say anything about a case, I say, let a case run its course, number one, but number two, the wonderful people of Corfu shouldn’t have to be put through all those kinds of things where it’s played out in the media versus where it’s played out in a court."

Asked whether he would take the case against him to trial, Alexander said that's something for him and his attorney to discuss and otherwise declined to comment.

The changes stem from what may have been an alleged attempt by Alexander to clear the name of his daughter, Brandi Watts.

Watts worked for Alexander as his court clerk from 2009 to 2011.

After Watts was named in a NYS comptroller's audit that allegedly found the court was missing more than $10,000 in funds, Alexander reportedly asked his new court clerk, Pam Yasses, to audit the court books. Yasses reportedly completed the audit and found the court was missing funds.

According to Yasses, who spoke about the situation at an Oct. 8 meeting of village trustees, Alexander did not accept the results of the new audit and Yasses complained that Alexander was trying to intimidate her and get her to quit her job.

The allegations against Alexander reportedly stem from that incident.

Alexander denied breaking the law.

"I won’t say anything about the case, except I will only say I love the people of Corfu and never do anytihng, as a born-again Christian, as a man serving them, I would never even think of breaking the law in any way, shape or form, no less doing it," Alexander said. "I would certainly would never, ever, ever want to bring anything that would hurt those people that I served for 24 years. We'll let it play out in court."

Alexander also told reporters, "I’m a Christian, I believe in Jesus Christ and I believe in the end I will be vindicated."

Neither Watts nor Alexander entered a plea today and both are scheduled to reappear at 2:15 p.m., Aug. 12, in County Court.

July 22, 2013 - 11:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, corfu, bergen.

David Bruce Brusie, 40, of Fancher Road, Holley, is charged with assaul,t 2nd. Brusie, an inmate at the Genesee County Jail, is accused of punching another inmate and breaking his nose.

Rosemary R. Waters, 27, of 4035 W. Main Street Road, lowrr, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny and trespass. Waters is accused of stealing makeup, valued at $6, from Dollar General. Waters was allegedly previously barred from the store for a prior shoplifting complaint.

Matthew W. Clark, 31, of 10 Washington Ave., Batavia, was arrested on a warrant from City Court for a traffic citation -- parking on a city street, 2 to 6 a.m.

Daniel P. Callahan, 29, of 8 Old Meadow Lane, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or higher and driving without stoplights. Callahan was stopped on Main Street at 12:01 a.m., July 9, by Officer Chad Richards.

Lizbel D. Cramer, 35, of 8 Lewis Place, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant out of City Court for traffic citations for alleged failure to obey stop sign and parking violations.

Bryon Gilbert Keller, 18, of Sumner Road, Corfu, is charged with unlawful dealing with a child. Keller is accused of allowing people under age 21 to consume alcohol while attending a party on his property.

Dariel Solivan Mendoza, 28, of Church Street, Bergen, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and unlawful possession of marijuana. Mendoza allegedly pushed a person to the ground during an argument.

Lance Joseph Seppe, 27, of Genesee Street, Corfu, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th, and disorderly conduct. Seppe is accused of breaking items and issuing verbal threats while at a residence in Corfu at 7:39 p.m., Tuesday.

July 19, 2013 - 10:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu, Ralph Peterson.

Corfu Mayor Ralph Peterson is reportedly going to publicly criticize village office staff in his column in a newsletter being sent to village residents today.

Trustee Ken Lauer, who shared a copy of the mayor's column with The Batavian, called Peterson's words unprofessional and said trustees tried to dissuade him from publicly criticizing employees.

In the column, Peteson portrays himself as a reformer who is trying to bring more cordial communication and greater efficiency to village government, but that office staff is refusing to cooperate.

Peterson writes:

Attempts are being made to work with the all of the Village staff. We have been successful with the Maintenance, Court, and Police however we are struggling with the Office Staff. For us to improve we must communicate and understand the authority of the Mayor.

Peterson said he has been consulting with the New York Conference of Mayors (NYCOM) and that he's been told that as mayor he has a right to access all files and data owned by the village, but his efforts to exercise his lawful authority as mayor is being undermined by staff and trustees.

The lack of understanding of the lawful authority of the Mayor by employees and Trustees has made my first three-month as Mayor interesting. I want to insure the people who are responsible for me becoming the Mayor of Corfu I remain steadfast.

In April, Peterson allegedly fired Sandra Thomas and Denise Beal, but when the women refused to work after a confrontation with Peterson, the village office was left without any staff. The trustees did not support Peterson's actions and Lauer negotiated the return to work of Thomas and Beal.

The column characterizes a village in disarray and not up to "2013 standards." Peterson vows to fix these issues.

My goals as Mayor have not changed I trying change the tone from of communication from confrontational to teamwork. This has truly been a struggle. I realized my comments will not set well with some employees, trustees and residents. However, I must be truthful in my evaluation of the Village business at this time to the residents. I will remain focused on the goals I promised.

July 18, 2013 - 10:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, corfu.

The state's commission on judicial conduct has ordered that all cases assigned to Town of Pembroke Justice Alexander be reassigned to Justice David O'Connor.

Alexander, the former justice for the Village of Corfu, was indicted yesterday on three misdemeanor crimes, including coercion and official misconduct.

An e-mail was sent to officials in Corfu and Pembroke today informing them of the order.

The e-mail reads:

For your information, kindly find the attached administrative order AO/201/2013 signed by the Hon. A. Gail Prudenti reassigning all judicial matters currently pending before the Hon. Robert E. Alexander, Town Justice, Pembroke Town Court, to the Hon. David M. O'Connor, Town Justice, Pembroke Town Court, effective immediately, and direct that no further judicial matters be assigned to Justice Alexander until further order of the Chief Administrative Judge.

Thank you.

Kate Breen
Court Analyst
Deputy Chief Administrative Judge's Office
for Courts Outside New York City

The Batavian has not yet obtained the attachment cited in the e-mail.

Alexander is the father of Brandi Watts, the former court clerk in Corfu who is accused of stealing more than $10,000 in court funds and filing false documents.  Alexander was charged with crimes related to his alleged attempts to disprove there were missing court funds.

O'Connor is a justice in the Town of Pembroke Court and the Village of Corfu Court.

UPDATE: The attachment, the actual order, is short and to the point:

Pursuant to the authority vested in me, I hereby reassign all judicial matters currently
pending before the Hon. Robert E. Alexander, Town Justice, Pembroke Town Court, to the Hon. David M, O’Connor, Town Justice, Pembroke Town Court, effective immediately, and direct that no further judicial matters be assigned to Justice Alexander until further order of the Chief Administrative Judge.

It's signed by Judge A. Gail Prudenti.

July 18, 2013 - 9:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, corfu.
Brandi Watts

Of 61 criminal counts lodged against Brandi Watts, the former court clerk in the Village of Corfu, 53 of them deal with allegedly filing false time cards exaggerating the number of hours she worked.

Watts and her father, Robert Alexander, former justice in the village and a current justice in the Town of Pembroke, were arraigned on criminal charges yesterday following an 18-month State Police investigation into alleged missing funds from the court.

A state comptroller's audit and uncovered the potential of as much as $10,000 being diverted from the court treasury.

The Batavian obtained a copy of the 42-page indictment this morning from Donald O'Geen, district attorney in Wyoming County, who is acting as a special prosecutor on this case.

Watts is also charged with two counts of grand larcen,y 3rd, and one count of grand larceny, 4th.

In the indictment, she is accused of stealing $8,819 between 2009 and 2011, and of stealing another $3,770 in that same time period. She is also accused of stealing $1,308 on June 7, 2011.

She is also accused of altering the files of six traffic citations, leading to six counts of tampering with public records in the first degree.

Alexander was also arraigned on two counts of coercion. The indictment contains no details on the specific acts that led to the charge, but accuses Alexander of using the power of his office as justice to induce fear to cause a person or persons to do something they might not otherwise do.

He's also charged with official misconduct, which accuses him of performing acts as a justice that he was not authorized to perform.

UPDATE: We've learned that the charges against Alexander stem from a harassment compliant lodged by current court clerk Pamela Yasses. At an Oct. 8 meeting of the trustees, Yasses said Alexander threatened her job and tried to intimidate her after she completed a financial audit of the court -- at his request -- that she said reached a conclusion similar to the comptroller's audit.

Yesterday's story: Former Village of Corfu court clerk charged with grand larceny

July 17, 2013 - 4:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, corfu.

The cause of a fire at Ed Arnold Scrap Metal Processors this afternoon remains under investigation.

The fire is out at this point, but fire crews remain on scene putting out hot spots.

East Pembroke Fire responded with mutual aid from Corfu, Alabama, Darien, Alexander, Pembroke, Indian Falls and the Town of Batavia.

UPDATE 6:54 p.m.: Fifteen agencies responded to the blaze. East Pembroke, Pembroke/Indian Falls, Alabama, Alexander, Town of Batavia, Corfu, Darien fought the fire. Crews were on stand by from Elba, Crittendon, Alden, Akron and Attica. Plus, Mercy EMS helped along with Genesee County Emergency Management Office and Wyoming County Correctional Facility.

In addition, The Salvation Army provided cold drinking water.

July 17, 2013 - 4:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, corfu.

The former court clerk for the Village of Corfu has been indicted on two counts of grand larceny stemming from an investigation by State Police into missing court funds that originally were uncovered by a state comptroller's audit.

In all, Brandi Watts was charged with 53 counts of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, five counts of tampering with public records along with the two grand larceny, 3rd, counts and a count of grand larceny, 4th.

Her father, former village justice Robert Alexander was arraigned today in Genesee County Court on three misdemeanor counts of coercion (two counts) and official misconduct.

Watts was jailed on $10,000 bail and Alexander was released on his own recognizance.

The prosecution of the case is being handled by Donald O'Geen, district attorney for Wyoming County, to help avoid any potential conflicts of interest with the Genesee County District Attorney's Office. Attorneys from the DA's office would have prosecuted cases in Alexander's Corfu courtroom and still do prosecute cases in the Town of Pembroke courtroom.

O'Geen said his office has also overseen a criminal investigation involving Corfu mayor Ralph Peterson, but there has been insufficient evidence uncovered thus far to charge him with any crime. There have been allegations raised in Corfu that Peterson has tried interfering with the investigation into Watts and Alexander. O'Geen said the investigation remains open, but he indicated he doesn't expect to file charges based on available evidence.


July 17, 2013 - 1:45pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, corfu, east pembroke.

A large pile of cars is on fire at Ed Arnold Scrap Processors at 2216 Angling Road in Corfu. East Pembroke Fire Department is responding along with an engine and tanker from Corfu.

UPDATE 1:48 p.m.: Alabama Fire Department is called to respond mutual aid. Foam will be needed to fight the fire, which includes other debris such as "ground-up tires" and upholstery. An ambulance is called to provide aid to firefighters if need be.

UPDATE 1:58 p.m.: Darien, Alexander, Pembroke, Indian Falls and Town of Batavia are also called in, along with fire police to control traffic.

UPDATE 2:15 p.m.: All traffic is being shut down at Route 33 and Angling Road.

UPDATE 3:55 p.m.: Fire is knocked down. Now doing overhaul.

UPDATE 5:13 p.m.: The roads are reopened.

July 17, 2013 - 9:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu.

A small group of Corfu residents gathered in the Pembroke Town Hall on Tuesday evening to discuss what's been happening in the village recently, and more specifically, what to do about Mayor Ralph Peterson.

The consensus of those who attended is that the mayor is not acting in the best interest of village residents.

Pam Ware, who said she paid the $25 fee to rent the space for the meeting, acted as facilitator for the meeting, which started at 5:30 p.m.

"I thought we could come together and discuss what we can do to address the situation and not be tied up in that meeting (a regular village trustee meeting) with all that anger and all those issues going on," said Ware, a 25-year resident of the village.

Two lines of thought emerged -- protests (favored by Charlie Flagg) and gathering documentation and presenting a complaint to the Genesee County Ethics Commission.

The state doesn't allow recall elections and removing an elected official from a local public office is exceptionally difficult in New York.

Flagg thought public pressure -- from 3 a.m. protests at Peterson's house, to posting videos of Peterson at trustee meetings to YouTube -- could force Peterson, who only has a year left on his term, to resign.

"We just keep after him," Flagg said. "There's nothing he can do to stop us."

Ware favored a more measured approach -- using the Freedom of Information Law to gather documents and write a detailed report for the ethics commission.

Any finding by the commission against Peterson, however, would be non-binding and not necessarily lead to his ouster from office.

The list of complaints against Peterson include: harassing village staff; seeking questionable access to village computers and filing cabinets; hiring police officers without authorization; failure to support recovering funds allegedly missing from the village court; interfering with the employment of a former trustee with a village contractor; and lying to the trustees about various issues.

"I think we've seen enough so far that this should go before the board of ethics," Ware said.

Trustee Ken Lauer, who attended the meeting, warned that any thought of getting Peterson to resign is probably fanciful.

"I asked him to resign and he wouldn't," Lauer said. "That's the problem. This guy is not going to leave voluntarily."

Former trustee Al Graham responded, "You keep shedding light on him."

Former mayor Todd Skeet, who lost by two votes to Peterson last November, also attended the meeting.

Skeet noted that he appointed Peterson to a seat on the board of trustees originally.

"He was a decent guy and then things got really ugly," Skeet said.

Things went bad, he said, after a comptroller's report found about $10,000 was missing from the village court. Peterson and former justice Robert Alexander are reportedly friends.

The committee has tentatively scheduled a meeting for 10 a.m., July 23, at the Pembroke Town Hall, if the space is available.

Last night's attendees hope that a Saturday morning meeting will be more convenient for people to attend.

July 11, 2013 - 9:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu.

Press release:

The newly formed Corfu Citizens Committee has scheduled its first organizational meeting for Tuesday, July 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the Corfu Fire Department meeting room. This ad hoc committee will provide a forum for attendees to get involved in the community and express their concerns outside of the board meetings and public hearings. 

July 8, 2013 - 8:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, pembroke, Le Roy, corfu, bergen.

Charles Wayne O'Shea, 35, of East Main Street, Le Roy, is charged with felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .08 or higher, aggravated unlicensed operation, 1st, consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle and aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd. O'Shea was arrested twice for alleged drunken driving within a four-hour period. The second arrest came after a traffic stop at 8:36 p.m. Saturday on Route 19, Le Roy, by Deputy Chad Minuto. Minuto said he observed O'Shea driving and knew from being involved with a prior arrest of O'Shea that O'Shea allegedly did not have a valid driver's license, so he initiated a traffic stop. Upon further investigation, Minuto concluded O'Shea was allegedly driving while intoxicated. Four hours earlier, according to Minuto's report, Minuto assisted Deputy James Diehl while Diehl arrested O'Shea for allegedly driving drunk.

Selime Bela, 49, of Crimson Drive, Albion, is charged with petit larceny. Bela is accused of shoplifting $67.49 in merchandise from Kmart.

Brandon Marshall Weig, 25, of Buffalo Road, Bergen, is charged with harassment, 2nd (physical contact). The alleged incident was reported at 1:02 a.m., Friday. No further details released. Weig was also arrested on a bench warrant for alleged criminal contempt, 2nd, and disobeying a mandate.

Michael T. Dibble, 21, of Corfu, is charged with DWI. Dibble was arrested by State Police at Erie County Medical Center for allegedly driving drunk in the Town of Pembroke at 4:19 p.m., Wednesday. No further details released.

Jeremy M. Sheehan, 30, of Le Roy, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Sheehan was arrested by State Police following an alleged incident reported at 1:49 a.m. Thursday in the Town of Le Roy. No further details were released.

July 6, 2013 - 9:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu.

Some folks in Corfu are upset over a new sidewalk along the west side of Alleghany Road that they say they didn't want, don't think is needed and didn't know was coming until construction was already under way.

The sidewalk was installed last month by NYS Department of Transportation.

"This section of highway was evaluated for improved pedestrian mobility from the residential area on the south side of the village towards the business district where likely destinations of foot traffic travel to including the school, retail and service areas," said DOT regional public information officer Lori Maher.

While the sidewalk removes what some residents once considered a part of their yard, the sidewalk is entirely within DOT right-of-way, Maher noted.

But that's not the worst of it. Residents complain about grading, leaving gas line extensions exposed and the poor quality of fill dirt used for landscaping.

They also say the sidewalk is a potential pedestrian hazard on both ends of the 113-yard-long strip of concrete.

On the north end, tractor-trailers making a right-hand turn from Genesee Street onto Alleghany have no choice but to cross over the top of the sidewalk.

On the south end, the sidewalk ends about 20 yards short of the viaduct, leaving a pedestrian planning on continuing south -- perhaps to the Pizza Pantry, no choice but to cross Route 77 at a point where northbound drivers might have a hard time seeing an unexpected pedestrian.

"Every piece of sidewalk starts someplace and ends in a logical terminus," Maher said.

Jenny McMartin, an Alleghany Road resident who, with her husband, had to spend more than $300 on new landscaping after the DOT chopped a steep incline into their front yard, attends every village board meeting and said the village was presented with three sets of plans for the project. None of them included the sidewalk.

Maher acknowledged that the DOT dropped the ball on notification to the Village of Corfu.

"The new sidewalk was constructed in the state right-of-way so no land was acquired, hence no formal notification prior to construction was made," Maher said. "During the construction phase, we worked with individuals to get grading releases, etc. Sidewalks are generally welcomed as a safety measure and added curb appeal. Since this was a fraction of the project’s scope, deliberate outreach with the homeowners was overlooked. We apologize for the oversight and will reevaluate our polices for future projects."

Grading releases were necessary to regrade driveways along the route.

Rob McNally kind of now regrets agreeing to his. He has two driveways on his property and now one of them is a bumpy ride in and out. A volunteer firefighter who rents the second floor of his house to tenants, McNally worries that anybody trying to make a quick exit off Route 77 into his driveway will hit that bump and lose control.

"Each of the driveways were built to standard and should pose no further concern," Maher said.

Last Saturday, McNally (top photo) spent the afternoon regrading his front lawn and removing a wheelbarrow full of pebbles and rocks from the fill the DOT dumped on his property.

At that point, the hydroseed -- which should sprout in seven to 10 days -- was two weeks old and hardly a blade of grass had sprouted in many areas. There were also patches in the parkway where no seed was applied.

Maher said the DOT will monitor the grass situation, but the fill used was up to state-approved specifications.

Earlier this week a DOT designer did meet with some of the residents, including McMartin and Trustee Dave Bielac.

The DOT's position, McMartin said, is that if the village thinks a guard rail is necessary at the south end of the sidewalk, the village will need to install it.

"They also said they are not putting in crosswalk," McMartin said. "If you need to cross the road go to Genesee and cross there."

McMartin praised Bielac for trying to work with the DOT to resolve the issues.

"Dave has been great during all this," she said.

June 25, 2013 - 6:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu, Ralph Peterson.

Over the past several years, the Village of Corfu has hired police officers without the Board of Trustees ratifying the new hires.

The apparent oversight came up during a discussion Monday night of Mayor Ralph Peterson hiring two part-time police officers.

Peterson acknowledge that he hired the officers. He said the village department will need more manpower in July because Darien Lake has a packed concert schedule for the month.

Mark Boylan, attorney for the village, said that in the past week it's come to his attention the police officers hired in recent years were hired without being properly ratified by a vote of the trustees.

Those past hires without board approval do not justify new hires by Peterson without board authorization, Boylan said.

Trustees expressed concern that the two new officers were hired without interviews, filling out an application form or passing a background check.

Village resident Greg Lang said he saw the two new officers working on Sunday and Officer Gene Nati said he worked with one of the officers on Sunday.

Before the end of the meeting, the trustees agreed that seven officers had been hired without proper board authorization and passed a resolution authorizing all seven hires.

Peterson is expected to interview the two new officers and ask that the board ratify their employment at a future board meeting.

Trustee Art Ianni expressed frustration that Peterson hired two officers -- an expenditure of $5,000 or $6,000 -- without board discussion.

"Can't we have a little discussion here?" Ianni asked.

Peterson said the new hires were within budget.

Lang accused Peterson of trying ram through the hires and once again being "dictatorial."

"Don't say I've got to stop talking," Lang said. "I'm a taxpayer in this community. One of the highest taxpayers in this community and this is ridiculous. What's going on, Rosie? You keep just going and going and going. What's going to be the next meeting, Rosie? I can't stand it any more, sitting here looking at this. It's absolutely ridiculous."

The meeting started with an update on the joint Pembroke-Corfu sewer project.

Bids have been received from contractors and the cost of Corfu's part of the project will run $750,000 more than budgeted. 

Both Corfu and Pembroke have received Department of Environmental Conservation grants for the project -- for Corfu, grants to help pay for upgrades to the sewer treatment plant and for Pembroke grants to help pay for transmission lines.

The state favors the project moving forward as a joint facility because of the potential economic development in the area, which is why the Genesee County Economic Development Center is putting in more than $800,000 into the project.

Bids for Pembroke's share the project are approximately $750,000 less than budgeted, so if the DEC and Comptroller's Office will approve the transfer, some of Pembroke's grant money will go to Corfu, plus a portion of the money pledged by GCEDC will help offset the higher-than-anticipated bids.

As part of the deal, rate payers in Pembroke's sewer district will pay 3 percent less than the rate originally set. The decrease will mean that both Corfu and Pembroke rate payers will pay $6.24 per thousand gallons of sewage.

The issue of Peterson trying to get former Trustee Al Graham banned from the sewer treatment plant was also discussed.

Peterson said he had an agreement with the owner of Camden Group, Graham's employer and contractor that runs the sewer plant, that Graham be barred from the facility.

Trustees were unanimous in telling Peterson that they thought Graham should be allowed on the property and that his expertise would be necessary during the sewer project.

Peterson said it's always been his position that if Trustee David Bielec, who is the trustee in charge of overseeing the sewer project, wanted Graham involved, than Graham could have access to the sewer property.

Bielec said he did want Graham to participate.

The board also voted 3-0, with Peterson and Trustee Keith Busch abstaining, to authorize Boylan to take legal action to recover more than $10,000 in alleged missing funds from former village justice Robert Alexander.

Peterson tried to question whether it's been proven that the funds are missing. Boylan said the village has a Comptroller's audit showing the funds are missing. He said that by law, Alexander is obligated to pay the village back for the missing funds, regardless of how the funds went missing.

Busch said he abstained because he wasn't a trustee at the time the missing funds issue first surfaced.

Peterson wasn't going to vote at all on the motion -- until goaded by village residents in attendance to say what his vote was.

Top photo: Trustee Ianni with Peterson, while Ianni complains about the lack of discussion for hiring two new police officers.

June 25, 2013 - 8:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, corfu.

One of four men caught in the act by Sheriff's deputies using a logging truck to steal scrap metal in 2009 in Corfu was sentenced in Federal Court yesterday.

Anthony Toscano, 48, who at the time of his arrested listed his address as 918 S. Goodman St., Rochester, will serve 18 months in federal prison for his part in the heist and pay $4,669.26 in restitution.

Toscano was convicted following a two-week jury trial of conspiracy to steal an interstate shipment and theft of an interstate shipment in September 2012.

Also convicted were Richard E. Riedman, 39, 542 Klem Road, Webster, Anthony J. Russell, 39, of 75 Snug Harbor Court, Rochester, and Timothy M. Stone, 23, 3735 Chili Ave., Rochester.

Riedman, Russell and Stone have not been sentenced.

Also arrested that night and convicted separately was Christopher H. Monfort, 41, of 113 Pine St., East Rochester.

All five men were observed by Sheriff's deputies using a logging truck to take processed and bailed scrap metal that was scheduled for shipment to a steel mill in Pennsylvania from Ed Arnold Scrap Processors. The deputies followed the truck into Batavia and stopped it in a well-lit area.

Riedman and Stone were indicted in April 2011 on federal racketeering charges for their part in an alleged plot to help 62-year-old James Henry McAuley Jr. (aka "Mitch"), an alleged Hell's Angel vice president, avoid apprehension for an alleged assault on a person viewed as a threat to the motorcycle club.

We have no information at this time on the status of that case.

June 24, 2013 - 2:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu.

The Village of Corfu Trustees meet again tonight at 6:30 and sources say there will be much discussion of issues that have come up in the past few days related to Mayor Ralph Peterson.

Peterson's actions continue to draw criticism from fellow trustees and residents.

Items expected to be discussed tonight, according to sources:

  • Peterson may have hired two or three police officers without board approval;
  • Peterson reportedly continuing to try and block Al Graham, a supervisor with the company that runs the sewer plant, from being on sewer plant property.

Trustee Ken Lauer shared this e-mail he received from Peterson:

I had a conversation with the Camden Owner today. He informed (me that) you said I approved Al Graham to be on Village Property. I did no such thing! That was an outright lie! We never discussed this topic.

Maybe my typo was correct!

The last sentence refers to an e-mail Peterson allegedly sent to trustees spelling Lauer's last name as "Liar."

Lauer said he's concerned that Peterson is looking for ways to block a sewer project that could be critical to economic development in the Pembroke area.

Mark Boylan, attorney for the Village of Corfu, is expected to attend the meeting.

June 21, 2013 - 3:03pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Le Roy, corfu, Milestones.

The following local students were named to the Spring 2013 dean's list at SUNY Buffalo State. To qualify for the dean's list, students must earn a GPA of 3.5 or higher and complete a minimum of 12 credit hours.

Peter Badami, of Batavia, is majoring in Business Administration.
Katelyn Brownell, of Batavia, is majoring in Communication Studies.
Lindsay Carney, of Batavia, is majoring in Earth Sciences.
David Dupre, of Corfu, is majoring in Computer Information Systems.
Olivia Gimlin, of Batavia, is majoring in Childhood Education.
Valerie Klug, of Corfu, is majoring in Business Administration.
Kyle Maurer, of Corfu, is majoring in Communication Design.
Joseph Miano, of Corfu, is majoring in Media Production.
Brittany Moose, of Le Roy, is majoring in Fashion and Textile Technology.
Dakota Nicholson, of Batavia, is majoring in Individualized Studies.
Stacy Squire, of Batavia, is majoring in Childhood Education.
Craig Tiberio-Shepherd, of Batavia, is majoring in Biology.
Dana Wolbert, of Corfu, is majoring in Childhood Education.

SUNY Buffalo State, founded in 1871, offers 165 undergraduate majors in the arts, sciences, professions, and education. More than 9,000 undergraduates have chosen Buffalo State for its academic programs, applied learning opportunities, and affordable tuition.

June 17, 2013 - 9:38am
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu.

Mayor Ralph Peterson informed village trustees through an e-mail that beginning immediately he is assuming supervision of village staff and the office.

He removed Trustee Ken Lauer from the position.

Peterson said he was assuming the position of department head through the powers vested in him as mayor and Corfu's executive officer.

From his e-mail:

It is my intent to evaluate with whatever resources and evaluation tools necessary, the entire working process as well as reporting, accounting, record management, as well as security of the Office and records that are presently in place. After this evaluation I will institute whatever changes necessary to insure that the Village Office and the staff are functioning at the highest levels of professionalism, efficiency and accountability.

June 12, 2013 - 3:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, elba, Oakfield, Le Roy, Pavilion, corfu, Milestones.

The State University of New York at Geneseo has announced its dean's list for the Spring semester 2013. To be on the list, a student must have achieved at least a 3.5 grade-point average while taking a minimum of 12 credit hours.

Students on the list from this area are:


Trevor Day
Olivia Engel
Steven Fisher
Christine Lauricella
Christina Mortellaro
Grey Musilli


Clarisse Birkby
Alaina Chapman


Mitchell Gillard

Le Roy

Kyle Snyder


Alyssa Cole


Kasey Cole
Nicole Embt

SUNY Geneseo is a public liberal arts college recognized nationally for excellence in undergraduate education and for its professional and master's level programs. The college combines a rigorous curriculum and a rich co-curricular life to create a learning-centered environment.

June 10, 2013 - 11:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu, Ralph Peterson.

Once again, Corfu trustees and Ralph Peterson are at odds over the conduct of the first-term mayor.

This time, residents and trustees raised concerns about Peterson obtaining keys to all of the filing cabinets and demanding an office in the village facility.

In non-binding motions passed 3-0 each, the trustees expressed displeasure with both actions.

When asked by Trustee Ken Lauer if he would surrender keys to the file cabinets, Peterson shook his head no. When the motion was made opposing setting up an office for the mayor -- workers have already started moving filing cabinets -- Peterson shook his head no.

He made no apparent vote on either motion.

Lauer, Keith Busch and Dave Bielec voted yes. Art Ianni was absent.

Since taking office, Peterson has been accused of firing village staff, lying, banning the employee of the sewer contractor from the sewer plant, and demanding employee passwords for computers.

The password incident garnered a warning from Donald O'Geen, a special district attorney handling the investigation into missing court money, for Peterson not to tamper with evidence.

Village officials are concerned that Peterson's acquisition of file cabinet keys and the desire to have an office in the building are further attempts to interfere with the investigation.

Former Village Justice Robert Alexander and his daughter, Brandi Watts, are the possible targets of the investigation following a comptroller's audit that found the court was allegedly missing at least $10,000.

O'Geen has been appointed special district attorney to help avoid any potential conflicts of interest that may exist with the Genesee County District Attorney's Office.

Debbie Graham, a longtime village employee, and wife of former trustee Al Graham (the sewer employee Peterson allegedly tried to have banned), raised the issue of the file cabinet keys during the public comment portion of the meeting.

She questioned why Peterson needed the keys.

"I have the authority to have the keys," he said.

Debbie Graham said that for keeping records properly secured and to avoid any accusations of missing records leveled against Peterson, Peterson shouldn't have a key. Lauer, Busch and Bielec all said they agreed.

"To be honest with you, Rosie, I don't trust you," Debbie Graham said.

"We all have people we don't trust," Peterson said.

Asked about establishing his own office in the building, Peterson said, "I have the authority and I'm going to exercise my authority."

Resident Greg Lang told Peterson that it appears he's trying to establish a dictatorship.

"You're doing whatever you want and nobody has enough guts to stop you," Lang said. "We used to be friends. You were a decent guy before you got that power. It went right to your head."

After the meeting, Al Graham asked a gentleman in the third row of the audience who he was. He identified himself as the attorney for the Village of Oakfield. He said he had been asked by Peterson to come to the meeting by Peterson to observe it.

The attorney is Reid Whiting, a Le Roy resident.

Peterson has previously tried to replace village attorney Mark Boylan. Whiting didn't reveal if he was there as a possible Peterson nominee for attorney or to assist Peterson with his situation in Corfu.

Al Graham asked Whiting what he thought of the meeting, and Whiting said it was "hostile."

Photo: Lauer, left, and Peterson.

June 10, 2013 - 2:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in corfu, Milestones.

The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi announced earlier this year that Benjamin Keipper, of Corfu, was recently initiated into the Phi Kappa Phi Chapter at Nazareth College. Keipper is among approximately 30,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni to be initiated into Phi Kappa Phi each year.

Founded in 1897 at the University of Maine, Phi Kappa Phi is the nation's oldest, largest and most selective all-discipline honor society. The Society has chapters on nearly 300 campuses in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Philippines.

Membership in Phi Kappa Phi is by invitation and requires nomination and approval by a chapter. Only the top 10 percent of seniors and 7.5 percent of juniors, having at least 72 semester hours, are eligible for membership. Graduate students in the top 10 percent of the number of candidates for graduate degrees may also qualify, as do faculty, professional staff and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction.

Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Baton Rouge, La., Phi Kappa Phi is the nation's oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines.


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