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August 16, 2018 - 8:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, David Bellavia, news, NY-27, notify.

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The eight men who met with GOP party leaders in Geneseo yesterday to discuss their interest in replacing Chris Collins as the Republican nominee in the 27th Congressional District were met by a group of reporters as they walked into the meeting, including two hopefuls from Batavia, Assemblyman Steve Hawley, and Iraq War veteran David Bellavia.

Both Hawley and Bellavia stuck to an upbeat message about serving the district and noting the voters in the 27th are perhaps a little tired of scandal from their representative in Washington.

"We got to bring dignity back," Bellavia said. "These people (in the NY-27) have been through a lot. I mean, it's our second time around."

Bellavia was referring to Rep. Chris Lee, who was accused of posting shirtless pictures of him on Craigslist while looking for transexual dates, and Rep. Chris Collins, currently under indictment on charges of securities fraud, wire fraud, and lying to the FBI.

"We've got to put that behind us and get a candidate that the people can get behind," Bellavia said. "Vitality is important and the Republican Party needs to bring energy back. You start by registering more Republicans and get more people to join the committees. That's the kind of a model that I'm bringing to the table and that's what I'm proud to represent."

Collins has bowed out of the race for 2018 -- a critical mid-term election for the GOP to try and retain a majority in the House of Representatives -- and now the Republicans are scrambling to figure out a legal way to get Collins off the November ballot, pick a new candidate and get that candidate's campaign up and running. All under the assumption that after the Collins fiasco, the Democrats are coming hard after this seat, fully funding Nate McMurray's effort to switch the 27th from red to blue.

Under the circumstances, Hawley suggested, the voters of the NY-27 are ready for an experienced representative with the maturity to handle the job.

"They've had a long, long road over the past eight to 10 years," Hawley said. "This is about representing people and having a feel for what it is they need and I think what they need is a calm, steady, firm hand and the ability to be able to listen to what their needs, wants, and desires."

With a short campaign window, Hawley said he can raise the fund needed for the campaign and though he can't afford to self-fund, he can make a contribution.

"I am a prolific fundraiser and the vice chairman of the Republican Campaign Committee and I have a healthy amount in my Friends of Steve Hawley account," Hawley said. "Where we should be looking is for small donations and contributions from people who think you would be able to do the job for them. Whether it's ten dollars, twenty-five dollars, fifty bucks., that's really what America is all about."

Fundraising will be a challenge, Bellavia said but he also said it's going to take a lot of hard work to win the race.

"It's an 80-day election cycle," Bellavia said. "Everyone's worried about funding. The D Triple C is going to put in a lot of money into this campaign and you've got a guy out there in Grand Island -- who he's going need a real estate agent to be your congressman -- but he's working his tail off. He's a good guy who's out there working hard and it's going to take a lot of elbow grease to be able to defeat him."

Hawley and Bellavia were showing up for kind of a candidates forum with 17 party leaders from the NY-27. This wasn't the formal interview with the eight county chairs nor were any decisions made about who to support as the party's nominee.

Also attending were Erie County Legislator Ed Rath, Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw, Assemblyman Ray Walter, State Senator Robert Ortt, former gubernatorial candidate and former Buffalo school board member Carl Paladino, and State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer.

Bellavia said the party bosses should pick the right person for the job, not somebody who just wants the title of congressman.

"My whole life has been about service," Bellavia said. "I mean we were electing a congressman. Why are we doing this?. Are we doing this for ourselves, are we doing this because we're bored, or are we doing this because it's our time and you know we held the position before but this one's really super juicy? Are we doing this because we want to serve our country? I believe that this country is worthy of any sacrifice and if I'm called to duty I'm going answer that duty you know."

Hawley also said the short election time-frame will mean he needs to work hard if he's selected to represent the party but, he said, that isn't any different than what he does every election cycle.

"I have campaigned door-to-door in this Assembly District and before that for the county legislature, door-to-door all of the time," Hawley said. "Last time I didn't have an opponent. I didn't like that. I think people deserve a choice. And even though I had no opponent I still went door-to-door. Some people would say, 'What the heck you're doing here?' And I said, 'I'm here to ask for your support and listen to those questions you might have.' So, whether we've got an opponent or not, whether they're well-financed, whether they're well known, it's all about the people."

Top composite photo: Steve Hawley on the left, and David Bellavia.

Audio and images provided by our news partner, 13WHAM. For their story about the event, click here.

August 16, 2018 - 6:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, crime, notify, batavia, Darien, bergen, Oakfield, Stafford.

Dustin Wayne Bogue, 36, no permanent address, is charged with: second-degree attempted assault -- attempt to cause injury to officer/fireman/EMT/hospital staff; criminal mischief, intentionally damaging property; and third-degree criminal tampering. Bogue was arrested at 3:01 p.m. on Aug. 7 after he allegedly initiated a physical altercation with Mercy EMS paramedics at UMMC. He was arraigned and jailed without bail and will appear in City Court at a later date. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Marc Lawrence, assisted by Officer Frank Klimjack.

Kelly M. Howell, 32, of Monclair Avenue, Batavia, is charged with: endangering the welfare of a child; possession of a hypodermic instrument; second-degree criminal use of drug paraphernalia; and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. The charges stem from an incident 6:07 p.m. on Aug. 14 in which narcotics and narcotics equipment were allegedly found inside this female's residence on Monclair Avenue, where three children under the age of 17 had the ability to gain access to them. Howell was jailed in lieu of $10,000 cash or bond and was due in City Court on Aug. 15. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Chad Richards, assisted by Officer Christopher Camp.

Robert M. Sindon, 37, of West Genesee Street, Clyde, is charged with: DWI -- with a BAC of .08 percent or more; DWI; Leandra's Law DWI -- passenger less than 16 years of age. Sindon was stopped at 5:37 p.m. on Aug. 6 on East Main Street in Batavia following an investigation into a traffic complaint. It was alleged that he was driving a vehicle while intoxicated with two children under age 15 as passengers. He was jailed without bail and was due in City Court on Aug. 7. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Cronmiller, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Kevin M. McCoy, 51, of Central Avenue, Batavia, is charged with: third-degree criminal mischief -- property damage greater than $250; second-degree criminal use of drug paraphernalia; and second-degree harassment -- physical contact. McCoy was arrested on East Main Street in Batavia on Aug. 13. Police were called to an address there at 12:38 a.m. after McCoy allegedly broke an apartment window. McCoy had fled the scene but showed back up there awhile later. After attempting to elude police again, he was eventually apprehended and arrested. He was arraigned in City Court and jailed without bail. He is due in court again on Aug. 23. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Nicole McGinnis, assisted by Officer Felicia DeGroot.

Paul J. Doctor, 40, of Oak Street, Batavia, is charged with: criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th; second-degree criminal use of durg paraphernalia; unlawful possession of marijuana; and speeding. He was arrested at 10:15 p.m. Aug. 5 on Clinton Street in Batavia following a traffic stop for speeding. He was allegedly found to be in possession of a crack pipe, chore boy, plunger with drug residue and marijuana. He was due in City Court on Aug. 14. The case was investigated by Batavia Police Officer Jason Davis, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Jason M. Frens, 47, of Griffin Road, Basom, is charged with second-degree criminal use of drug paraphernalia and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Frens was arrested on the charges following a traffic stop at 10:15 p.m. on Aug. 5 on Clinton Street in Batavia. He was a passenger in the vehicle that was stopped and allegedly was found to be in possession of a crack pipe, chore boy, and plunger with drug residue.  He was due in City Court on Aug. 14. The case was investigated by Batavia Police Officer Jason Davis, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Andrew M. Cerrillo, 27, of Stony Point Road, Grand Island, is charged with: felony DWI -- previous conviction offense within 10 years; speeding; no turn signal; and expired 2017 10-day inspection. He was arrested at 3:35 p.m. on Aug. 14 on Main Road in Stafford after he was stopped for speeding. He was jailed on $5,000 cash or $10,000 bond. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Sgt. John Baiocco, assisted by Deputy James Stack.

Alexandria Claire Pisarek, 25, of Maple Avenue, Oakfield, is charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. She was arrested at 5:08 p.m. on Aug. 15 following a transport to GC Jail. She was allegedly found to be in possession of 20 small bags of heroin. She is due in City Court to answer the charge on Oct. 16. The case was investigated by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Joshua Brabon.

Patrick S. Rumble, 31, of Hutchins Place, Batavia, is accused of first-degree criminal contempt, third-degree robbery, and fourth-degree grand larceny. Rumble was arrested then arraigned in City Court on Aug. 9. He was arrested on a warrant for the charges. On Aug. 1, he allegedly stole a cell phone from an individual's hand and that person had a stay away order of protection against Rumble. During the course of the crime, Rumble allegedly pushed and struck the victim, all in violation of the court order. He was jailed in lieu of $5,000 cash and $10,000 bond and was due in court today (Aug. 16). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jamie Givens.

Jeffrey Michael Johnson, 30, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment. He was arrested at 8:18 p.m. on Aug. 5 at 101 Jackson St. in Batavia after he allegedly pushed a female during an incident. He was due in City Court on Aug. 14. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Mitchell Cowen, assisted by Officer Stephen Cronmiller.

Andrew J. Duckworth, 39, of Monclair Avenue, Batavia, is charged with first-degree criminal contempt and fouth-degree criminal mischief. Duckworth was arrested at 6:04 p.m. on Aug. 13 following a domestic incident on Montclair Avenue in which he allegedly damaged property and violated a court order of protection. He was jailed without bail and was due in City Court on Aug. 14. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Marc Lawrence, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Ahdeosun R. Aiken, 20, of Ellicott Avenue, Batavia, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. At 8:19 p.m. on Aug. 3 Aiken was arrested on Walnut Street in Batavia for allegedly violating a stay away order of protection. He is accused of being at the protected party's residence during an incident. He was released on his own recognizance and was due in City Court on Aug. 6. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay, assisted by Officer Jamie Givens.

Carrie L. Hensley, 41, of Highland Park, Batavia, is charged with: DWI; aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree; and DWI with a BAC or .08 percent or more. She was arrested at 12:16 a.m. on Aug. 13 on Central Avenue in Batavia after she was allegedly found to have driven a motor vehicle while intoxicated. She was issued appearance tickets and is due in City Court on Aug. 22. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay, assisted by Officer Felicia DeGroot.

Steven D. Clattenburg, 58, of Washington Avenue, Batavia, is charged with: not wearing a seat belt; DWI; DWI -- with a BAC or .08 percent or more; and unlawful possession of marijuana. Clattenburg was arrested at 7:37 p.m. on Jefferson Avenue in Batavia following a traffic stop for no seat belt. He was issued appearance tickets and is due in City Court on Aug. 22. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Cronmiller, assisted by Officer Christopher Camp.

Kyle A. Scheuerlein, 25, Leyland Lane, Aurora, Ill., is charged with: DWI -- first offense; refusal to take a breath test; and failure to stop at stop sign. He was arrested at 1:16 a.m. on Clinton Street in Batavia on Aug. 4. He was issued tickets and released. He is due in court on Aug. 22. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk.

James R. Tillery, 46, of Farwell Drive, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment -- physical contact. He was arrested at 1 a.m. on Aug. 11 on Farwell Drive following an incident in which he allegedly struck someone. He was issued an appearance ticker and was due in City Court on Aug. 14. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Marc Lawrence, assisted by Officer Kevin DeFelice.

Justin T. Gladney, 29, of North Spruce Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. He was arrested at 4:30 p.m. on East Main Street in Batavia and is accused of stealing a bicycle. He was issued an appearance ticket and was due in City Court on Aug. 14. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay, assisted by Officer Chad Richards.

Austin B. Nelson, 22, of Thomas Avenue, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. At 7 p.m. on July 5, he allegedly stole money from the place of business where he was employed on East Main Street, Batavia. He was arrested and issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on Aug. 28. The case was investigated by Batavia Police Officer Jamie Givens.

Isaiah James Alfred Munroe, 28, of Liberty Street, Batavia, is charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief. He was arrested following the investigation into an allegation that he damaged a door to a residence on Liberty Street in the city at 4:45 p.m. on Aug. 11. He was processed at police headquarters, issued a computer-generated appearance ticket and released. He was due in City Court on Aug. 14. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Kevin DeFelice, assisted by Officer Matthew Lutey.

Danny D. Williams, 29, of Pearl Street, Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct. He was arrested at 8:34 p.m. on Aug. 10 at 107 Watson St. in Batavia. His arrest came after a disturbance on Watson Street; Williams allegedly would not disperse and continued to attempt to fight another male at the location. Williams is due in City Court on Aug. 21. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Mitchell Cowen, assisted by Officer Chad Richards.

Dylan Richard Brandt, 25, of Larrowe Street, Cohocton, is charged with trespass. He was arrested at 8:15 p.m. on Aug. 11 at Darien Lake Theme Park after he allegedly reentered the park after having been ejected for shoplifting merchandise from a gift shop. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello.

A 17-year-old resident of Le Roy is charged with second-degree harassment following an incident on Main Street in Batavia at 6:14 p.m. on July 13. It is alleged that this female engaged in a physical altercation with a subject at a restaurant. She was issued an appearance ticket for City Court on Aug. 22. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Chad Richards, assisted by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

A 17-year-old who resides on Sheridan Road in Bergen is charged with being in Austin Park on Jefferson Avenue in the City of Batavia after hours. The female was issued a ticket as 11:47 p.m. on Aug. 2 and is due in City Court on Aug. 21. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Flanagan, assisted by Officer Christopher Camp.

A 16-year-old resident of Batavia was arrested for littering at 7:46 a.m. on West Main Street in Batavia. The male allegedly dumped garbage onto property at the Speedway and did not pick it up after he was asked to do so by store employees. He was issued an appearance ticket for Aug. 21 in City Court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Det. Eric Hill, assisted by Officer Frank Klimjack.

Two 17-year-old males who resident on Pearl Street in Batavia are charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. The charges stem from an investigation into a vehicle located in a city park after hours. It is alleged the two males had marijuana in their possession at the time -- 8:49 p.m. on Aug. 9. Both were issued appearance tickets and are due in City Court on Aug. 21. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Chad Richards, assisted by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

August 16, 2018 - 1:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Martin Moore, batavia, news, notify.

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As a matter of his employment contract, the just-hired new city manager for Batavia, Marty Moore, recognizes he answers to the city council but as a matter of accountability, he works for the City of Batavia residents.

"As a city manager, I am hired to represent the people who live, work, and play in the city in particular and I am accountable to them," Moore said during a 42-minute video press conference with members of the local media.

"I don't see myself as being shielded from them. I see myself as having a responsibility. I've learned in my career that it's important to show myself as a servant of the people not this guy who sits back in the office and lets everything come to him. It's not my style."

Moore promises to get out into the community, join organizations, talk with residents and business owners and get to know them and what's on their minds.

His first goal will be to get to know his staff and the members of the council.

Overall, he thinks the city is in sound shape financially and plans to support and champion the ongoing economic development projects, particularly the Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

The progress Batavia has shown, in fact, is what attracted Moore to the job.

"I really did a lot of research into all of the places I applied and Batavia really impressed me with things like revitalization and bringing new businesses in, the financial structures that are set up, the good things that your previous people at the city have done, has created, I think, a good atmosphere," Moore said.

"It's a really progressive, want-to-move-forward, can-do, all-in type of attitude and that's the type of attitude that I have. It just really felt good. It felt right."

Moore and his wife, Joanne, just celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary. She's from Buffalo and grew up in Tonawanda and still has brothers and sisters in the area. They met while Joanne's father had a job in Hawaii and Moore was studying there at the Brigham Young University campus there. 

They have seven children and five grandchildren: Jessica, 32, has two children and lives with her family in St. John's, Mich., just six hours from Batavia; Spencer lives in the Albuquerque, N.M., area, works at Sandia National Laboratories, and has three children; Aubrey, 20, is single, working on her master's degree and lives in Provo, Utah; Melissa, 24, lives in New Mexico and is engaged; Amanda, 23, just got married to a young man from Alaska and they live in Idaho where they're attending college; Christopher, 22, is also recently married and lives in Las Cruces, N.M., where he is going to college; and 17-year-old Martin Moore Jr. is near the end of his Eagle Scout project, and will be a senior in high school this year.

Moore says he enjoys the outdoors. He and his son have climbed 22 of the highest peaks in New Mexico and intend to climb the rest. He also enjoys fly-fishing and looks forward to trying out the creeks in Western New York.

For the past six years, he's been the voice of the Eunice Cardinals on a Eunice, N.M., radio station.

As for his view on what the city is doing right and where it can improve, from what he's observed so far, he said economic development is definitely heading in the right direction. The city's finances are in good shape. There is work to be done on infrastructure and he thinks grants can be pursued more aggressively. He's taken notice of property crime issues but believes Chief Shawn Heubusch is working to address that.

A big area for improvement, he said, is transparency.

"I sense there is the need for more of a feeling of openness and transparency with the employees and with the citizens," Moore said, adding a bit later, "I think when you don't have clear communication all kinds of rumors and feelings and challenges and difficulties arise."

One of the first things he wants to look into once he starts his job Oct. 15 is the housing situation in Batavia. He wants to better understand the housing needs of the city and whether they are being adequately addressed.

Related to crime, he said one of the first things he did when he became city manager in Eunice seven years ago was hire a new police chief. Together, they tackled the serious drug problem -- mostly methamphetamine -- they felt was growing in Eunice.

The days of drug dealers openly selling meth from their front porches are over in Eunice.

"(We) made it clear that drugs are not something that we will be known for in the City of Eunice," Moore said. "I'm not going to say it's perfect. Drug deals still do go on but the drug dealers have gone underground."

Out in the middle of the desert, water is a big issue for Eunice, but so are roads and sewer lines, just like Batavia.

The budget for Eunice is typical $8 million to $10 million but is currently more than $15 million because of some bonds for capital projects. There are 50 full-time employees, along with 22 volunteer firefighters, and 10 different department heads.

The economy cycles up and down with the flow of oil from the thousands of wells dominating the skyline.

"We probably have as many oil pump jacks as Batavia has trees," Moore said.

August 15, 2018 - 6:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news, notify.

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Republicans are confident they can ensure the name of Rep. Chris Collins is not on the November general election ballot, Erie County Chairman Nick Langworthy said Tuesday night after a closed-door meeting of the eight GOP chairs in the NY-27 at Batavia Downs.

He didn't say, however, how the might get the task done. He went no further than promising that Collins, in the midst of fighting federal allegations that he engaged in insider stock trading, will cooperate with whatever method the party tries to implement. 

"We have communicated back and forth through his team but I have not directly personally spoken to him," Langworthy said. "We are confident there are mechanisms in place where his name can be removed from the ballot and we can nominate a new candidate."

Collins didn't face a challenger in the June 26 primary for the NY-27 but he committed to the race at an even earlier date. Once petitions were gathered, he had until April 16 to decline the nomination and the party had until April 24 to fill the vacancy.

Three Methods to Remove Name from Ballot

That leaves three methods to remove his name from the November ballot: Disqualification by means of accepting another office, moving out of state, or death.

Collins reportedly has residential property in Florida he could declare his legal domicile and there are potentially town-level offices in Erie County with a vacancy he could fill.

Either move will almost certainly be challenged in court by the Democrats.

“The GOP chairs are in a very bad position," said Todd Aldinger, an Albany-based attorney who has researched the relevant law and served as chairman of the Erie County Charter Revision Commission and was Senator Patrick Gallivan’s legislative director.

"They will either have to rely on constitutionally dubious means to remove Collins from the ballot or will have to utilize provisions of the election law to circumvent the normal nomination procedure by nominating Collins for a manufactured vacancy, which a court may find to be void against public policy.”

In favor of the GOP effort to remove Collins is a 2008 case in the NY-26 race, which at the time included Genesee County. In the Matter of Kryzan v New York State Bd. of ElectionsJon Powers had won the Working Families Party line and Alice Kryzan was the Democratic nominee. Powers then moved out of state and after the ballot certification deadline Powers sought to have his name removed from the ballot and the WFP wanted to replace his name with Kryzan. A court ruled Power's name could be removed from the ballot and replaced by Kryzan.

That decision was later overturned because absentee voting had already started.A federal court ruled those voters who already received their ballots would be disenfranchised if Kryzan's name replaced Powers on the ballot.

The November ballot won't be certified until Sept. 13. Military ballots will go out in the mail Sept. 21. The GOP will, presumably, have until then to win any legal battle with the Democrats or they lose the fight and potentially the war.

To counter any GOP maneuver -- declaring Collins a resident of another state or appointing him to a dog catcher position in Erie County -- the Democrats might be able to counter that such a move has been made in bad faith or to circumvent the normal nomination process.

The relevant case law, however, isn't on point with this set of circumstances and has apparently not been tested before.

"We are very confident, consulting with what are some of the best election lawyers in the State of New York, that there are mechanisms in place to remove Congressman Collins from the ballot," Langworthy said.

Even before Langworthy met with the press outside of Batavia Downs, Michael Plitt, chairman of the Genesee County Democratic Committee, was texting The Batavian to decry the GOP chairman's efforts to remove Collins from the ballot.

"The GOP already picked their candidate, Chris Collins," Plitt said. "There are no do-overs. Petitions are in. Collins will be on the ballot. The GOP knew Collins had an ethics investigation."

That's a similar line of attack the Democratic nominee, Nate McMurray, is taking in tweets and news interviews.

Democrats Call for Accountability

"I think these guys should be held accountable," McMurray told The Hill. "They shouldn't be able to hit reset or take a mulligan. If they try to get him to run for another office, I will call it out for what it is: a fraud upon the United States."

While the statutory feathers fly, the eight GOP chairs of the NY-27 are moving ahead with the process of handpicking a new candidate. At one point, at least 15 people had expressed an interest in the seat but Tuesday night, Langworthy indicated the winnowing process has already begun. He said he expects there will be some more informal interviews to help determine who gets a chance to sit down with all eight county chairs and lobby for the nomination.

Those interviews will take place next week.

"We were handed the extraordinary situation that you know we're not happy to find ourselves in, but we have to work through it," Langworthy said. "We have to work together. We have to work collaboratively and we need to nominate a candidate that can succeed in all eight counties to deliver a victory in November."

The public won't be part of the committee process and voting will be weighted, which means Langworthy, representing Erie County, will have the biggest say in who potentially could appear on the R line in November.

It's a momentous selection.

Michael Caputo, a GOP political consultant, and nationally known Trump ally, told The Batavian just before news broke that Collins was withdrawing from the race, that the very future of the presidency may hinge on what happens in the NY-27.

"It may boil down to one or two seats," Caputo said. "If we lose control of the house, there will be impeachment proceedings, no doubt about it."

Erie County GOP's Questionable Candidates

Erie County, however, doesn't have a strong track record when it comes to picking representatives for the GLOW region.

Rep. Bill Paxon's career ended after he helped lead a failed attempt to oust Newt Gingrich as Speaker of the House. Rep. Tom Reynolds didn't run for reelection after his name was linked to a couple of scandals in the House. Rep. Chris Lee posted a bare-chested picture of himself on Craigslist. Assemblywoman Jane Corwin lost a race generally thought to be hers to lose.

And now Chris Collins, federally indicted on counts of securities fraud, wire fraud, and lying to the FBI. Collins was allegedly the tip of a tipping tree where he provided the crucial tidbit of bad news that caused his son, and eight other associates, to dump millions of shares of Innate Immunotherapeutics Limited before the Australia-based company publicly announced its only product, a drug to treat secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, had failed its critical medical trial.

Collins said he's not guilty.

Langworthy said none of the GOP chairs have expressed any dissatisfaction with the process that has led to this string of questionable GOP candidates being foisted on GLOW.

"I think it's a matter of the party rules," Langworthy said. "I think we work collaboratively. We're working together. Many of the candidates now hail from the GLOW region, so I didn't hear any sort of problems from any of the chairs here tonight about them."

Whoever gets the pick will instantly become the front-runner in a district that tilts +22 for Republicans, and barring the winner getting caught with his shirt off or making ill-advised stock trades, he is likely being appointed to the seat for life. The Batavian asked Langworthy if a process of eight men in a room, denying both candidates and voters the normal primary process to fill a vacancy, is the right process to follow.

"I'm going to ask you, do you think we want to be in the situation right now?" Langworthy said.

The Batavian asked, "is it fair?"

"I think it's a bush league question you asked," Langworthy said.

"So you don't want to answer it."

Langworthy: 'We Don't Want to Be Here.'

Langworthy responded, "I've already addressed this. We find ourselves in an extraordinary situation. We don't want to be here. This is a sad and unfortunate time for us. We are doing the best we can with the election law as it exists at this late date."

The choice for the chairs includes inexperienced candidates, candidates who have run a race but not won, or a slate of current office holders who would be forced to vacate a ballot line creating a new legal challenge for the party.

"I'll let you all decide who you think the front-runners are," Langworthy told the gaggle of assembled reporters from throughout the region. "We have a process to maintain. We have to continue to work together.

"You know there are candidates from throughout this district that represent different portions of this district. We're all dedicated the same thing, which is finding a conservative Republican candidate that can win this district and help President Trump achieve his agenda.

A bit later Langworthy said: "We need we need a candidate that we can all get behind in eight counties (who) can be out there meeting the voters, talking about the important issues. I mean it's a very geographically diverse district.

"I mean, you have cities, you have suburban towns, you also have a lot of rural and agricultural areas, so you have a lot of different types of people who (need to) get up to speed on federal issues. Even if they're a state official, they might not understand the federal ramifications. Those are things that we have to hit the ground running on very, very quickly."

It will be such a difficult race in such a compressed time frame that Langworthy doesn't think it's the place for novices to enter.

"I personally think that this is probably not the time for a completely new candidate, someone that doesn't understand the political process or maybe hasn't been a part of an election before in a big league level," Langworthy said. "I don't think there's a lot of time for a learning curve for a first-timer that hasn't been through the process."

White House Weighs in on Selection 

Langworthy also revealed that the White House is weighing in on the selection process.

"We're in consultation," Langworthy said. "Yesterday I had a meeting with the White House political director to discuss this race. We have been in discussions with the executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee. They are very concerned about the future of the seat. They want to make sure it stays in Republican hands."

Whoever gets the nod from the eight chairs, Langworthy said he hopes to attract Trump to WNY to campaign for the candidate.

"I came from Utica yesterday where I saw President Trump come in for a Congresswoman Tenny," Langworthy said. "It's a very hot seat and I know they raised an awful lot of funds in a short window. It was only a one week lead-up to the event and there were hundreds and hundreds of people there showing their support and writing checks to support the congresswoman. I would love to see that sort of enthusiasm with a presidential visit."

August 14, 2018 - 11:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien, notify, news.

All across America, there is a shortage of rural doctors. That problem is expected to only get worse as doctors born during the Baby Boom retire with greater frequency in the coming years.

New York isn't immune. A recent survey of the state's hospitals by Healthcare Association of New York found that Upstate needs 615 more doctors.

Connor Lynskey, the 18-year-old resident of Hinckley, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Darien on Saturday, was well aware of Upstate's doctor shortage, which is why he decided to attend medical school and become a rural doctor.

He had already been accepted into Upstate Medical University, according to Don Lynskey, his brother-in-law. Connor Lynskey was planning to attend Siena in the fall as part of a dual-admissions program to undergrad study and medical school for students committed to becoming rural doctors. His brother, Don said, is in the third year of the same program.

In his admissions essay about his plans, Lynskey said the difficulty his sister had in getting a correct diagnosis for Type I Diabetes in Utica inspired his career choice.

"Her struggle to find a local treatment center motivates me to become a rural physician," Lynskey wrote. "Pursuing this goal, I began a shadowing program at Rome Hospital to achieve insight regarding my future job. I was able to shadow the Emergency Room, Radiology Unit, Intensive Care Unit, and Pediatrics. Each day, I attempted to absorb the knowledge presented while becoming increasingly involved in the care of patients. With my newfound knowledge, I now prepare to conquer the obstacles that await me on the road to becoming a physician."

Friday evening Lynskey attended the Jason Aldean concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center with friends and family. After the concert, the group walked back to their campsite at Darien Lakes State Park, taking Sumner Road. At some point, Lynskey decided to run ahead to catch up with his friend.

On the dark, hilly road, nobody in the group saw what happened next. Lynskey was hit by a car whose driver didn't stop to help or call police. When the group reached their campsite and Lynskey wasn't there, they contacted the State Park Police who notified the Sheriff's Office. Officers patrolled the area, including Sumner Road but nobody saw Lynskey or any scene of a problem.

Perhaps 30 minutes later, a woman, Jennifer L. Serrano, 48, of Charles Street, Irving, was driving on Route 77 in Darien and her car nearly struck a marked patrol car. A deputy stopped her and wound up charging her with DWI.

The next morning, Deputy Richard Schildwaster, checking Sumner Road, found debris in the roadway and when he got out of his vehicle and looked around, he found Lynskey's body in a ditch.

Serrano, who had been released on bail on the DWI charge, was identified as the suspect and was arrested in Amherst, her vehicle was seized, and she has been charged with vehicular manslaughter in the second degree and leaving the scene of a personal injury accident. She is being held on $100,000 bail or $200,000 bond.

The Batavian's news partner, 13WHAM contributed to this story.

August 13, 2018 - 7:00pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in batavia, news, Martin Moore, city manager, notify.

martinmooreeunice2018.jpgUpdated at 8:55 p.m.

City Council voted by an 8-1 margin to hire Martin Moore, Ph.D., as the City's new manager, replacing Jason Molino who left for an administrative position in Tompkins County in January. A story about the voting at a special business meeting at City Centre Council Chambers will follow.

----------------------

The Batavia City Council is expected to approve the hiring tonight of Martin Moore, Ph.D., city manager of Eunice, N.M., since 2011, as the city's new top executive.

Moore has accepted a three-year contract, which must be approved by the council tonight, to fill the vacant city manager position in Batavia.

Moore will begin his duties in Batavia on Oct. 15.

City Council President Eugene Jankowski said Moore could not attend tonight’s meeting due to a family wedding but will be available via video conference at 3 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall.

Jankowski had nothing but words of praise for Moore, who was voted “City Manager of the Year” in 2015 by the New Mexico Municipal League for his “handling of the city’s finances and progress of the community and how it operates.”

“He is articulate and personable,” Jankowski said, “and all of us have been very impressed by him.”

Moore also won praise from Councilman Art McGinnis.

"He was mature, gave great answers and has incredible experience," McGinnis said. "We really won out on this one. Big time. I'm very happy."

Jankowski said Moore’s wife has family in North Tonawanda and that they have been looking at relocating to Western New York.

Eunice is a city of about 3,000 people, located just west of the Texas border in the southeast corner of New Mexico.

It operates under the guidance of a nine-member City Council, including Mayor Billy Hobbs. According to the city’s website, it is in a “period of sudden growth,” with the oil field (its main employer) in a boom period, due to the price of oil.

“All companies are in need of employees with unemployment for Lea County running at 0 percent.

"Also, the National Enrichment Facility has received their license and will be building a $1.7 billion project five miles out of town.

"They will employ approximately 250 permanent employees and have up to 1,000 construction workers on site in two years. The total project will take seven to 10 years to build.”

Additionally, the website reports that its schools are “top-notch with prekindergarten through 12th grade. The community is very involved with all levels of sports and has many state championships in all.” The Eunice High School baseball has produced 17 state championships, which is fifth-most in the nation.

Moore’s contract, as reported first on The Batavian, calls for a starting salary of $110,000, with increases of $2,000 annually. He also will receive retirement benefits, paid family medical insurance, three weeks’ vacation, life insurance, and relocation reimbursement up to $10,000.

His previous executive management experience includes a four-year stint as a consultant, census 2010 crew leader and general manager in Timberon, N.M.; county manager for Otero County, N.M.; executive director of Eastern Arizona Counties, and director of development and community services for Apache County, Ariz.

An Eagle Scout, he was a member of several professional associatons and president of the Rotary Club of Eunice, N.M.

Moore replaces former manager Jason Molino, who left in January for a similar position for Tompkins County. Public Works Director Matt Worth has been handling the city manager responsibilities on an interim basis since Molino’s departure.

August 13, 2018 - 3:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, Darien, notify.

serranojennifer2018mug.jpg

The driver in an alleged fatal hit-and-run accident on Sumner Road in Darien just after midnight Saturday was later arrested for DWI after her car nearly hit a marked Sheriff's patrol vehicle at 1 a.m. on Route 77.

It's estimated that the hit-and-run victim, 18-year-old Connor Lynskey, of Hinckley, was struck at about 12:30 a.m.

Jennifer L. Serrano, 48, of Charles Street, Irving, was identified as a suspect based on a tip received by the Sheriff's Office after news of Lynskey's death was reported.

Serrano is charged with vehicular manslaughter in the second degree and leaving the scene of a personal injury accident. She is being held on $100,000 bail or $200,000 bond.

Lynskey attended the Jason Aldean concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Friday evening with family and friends. The group was camping at Darien Lakes State Park. After the concert, some members of the group started to walk back to the state park together and at some point, Lynskey reportedly decided to run ahead and catch up with a friend.

Upon returning to the park, the group realized Lynskey had not returned to the campsite so State Park Police were contacted.

State Park Police officers and Sheriff's deputies commenced a search of the area but did not locate Lynskey. The Sheriff's office reports deputies continued to patrol the area throughout the night, keeping an eye out for Lynskey.

The next morning, members of the group reported to State Park Police that perhaps they had heard a crash on the Sumner Road, which has a couple of dips and hills along the way, while walking back to the park in the dark of the night.

At 11:51 a.m., Saturday, Deputy Richard Schildwaster found vehicle debris in the roadway on Sumner Road and upon further investigation found Lynskey's body in a ditch along the roadway.

Investigators were able to determine the type of vehicle involved based on the debris.

Following her arrest on DWI in connection with the Alleghany Road incident at 1 a.m., about 30 minutes after the estimated time Lynskey was struck on Sumner Road, Serrano was arraigned in Darien Town Court and put in Genesee County Jail in lieu of $1,000 bail. A few hours later, she posted bail.

Through information developed during the investigation, the Sheriff's Office determined that Serrano was at a relative's residence in Amherst and obtained a search warrant for her vehicle. Her vehicle was seized and she was taken into custody.

August 13, 2018 - 11:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, notify, Alabama, Darien, corfu, Oakfield, Basom, bergen, Bethany, elba.

Antonio Diego Dames, 42, of Knowlesville Road, Oakfield, is charged with: DWI; driving with a BAC of .18 or greater; aggravated unlicensed operation, 1st; driving without an interlock device; and moving from lane unsafely. Dames was arrested following an investigation by Deputy Travis DeMuth into a one-car accident reported at 4:28 p.m. Thursday on Lewiston Road in Alabama.

Yahaira Ann-Marie Brown-Diaz, 19, of Bethany Center Road, Bethany, is charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, unlawful possession of marijuana, and speeding. Brown-Diaz was stopped at 8:28 a.m. Friday on Maple Avenue, Bergen, by Deputy Ryan DeLong. Brown-Diaz was transported to the Sheriff's Office where she was evaluated by a Drug Recognition Expert.

Genna Lynn Miller, 33, of Center Street, East Aurora, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, failure to comply with traffic control officer, and failure to keep right. Miller was stopped at 12:16 a.m. Saturday on Alleghany Road, Darien, by Deputy Patrick Reeves after her vehicle's mirror allegedly struck a traffic control officer in the arm.

Matthew Paul Sunseri, 33, of Harlem Road, Rochester, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Sunseri was charged following an investigation by Deputy Mathew Clor into a disturbance reported at 10:50 p.m. Sunday in the parking lot of Darien Lake Theme Park.

A 17-year-old resident of Buffalo is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. The youth was allegedly found in possession of marijuana by State Police in the Village of Corfu at 11:05 a.m. on Aug. 5.

Walter B. Hale, 65, of Oakfield, is charged with: felony DWI; felony driving with a BAC of .08 or greater; failure to keep right; and moving from lane unsafely. Hale was stopped by State Police at 1:40 a.m. Sunday on Route 98 in Elba.

Casandra E. Holloway, 25, of Newfane, is charged with: DWI; driving with a BAC of .08 or greater; no headlights; failure to keep right; moving from lane unsafely and drinking alcohol in a motor vehicle. Holloway was stopped by State Police at 11:01 p.m. Friday on Colby Road, Darien.

Scott P. Rammacher, 42, of Lockport, is charged with DWI and impeding traffic. Rammacher was stopped by State Police at 6:35 p.m. Thursday on Route 77, Darien, for allegedly driving too slow.

Christian A. Dangelo, 28, of Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Dangelo was stopped by State Police at 9:44 p.m. Thursday on Route 33, Bergen.

Kyle J. Howard, 29, of Basom, is charged with criminal trespass. Howard was arrested by State Police for an alleged incident reported at 1:30 p.m., Aug. 6.  No further details released.

August 12, 2018 - 7:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien, news, notify, Darien Lakes State Park.

serranojennifer2018mug.jpg

The Sheriff's Office has made an arrest in a fatal hit-and-run accident on Sumner Road, Darien, on Friday night after the Jason Aldean concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center.

Jennifer L. Serrano, 48, of Charles Street, Irving, is charged with vehicular manslaughter in the second degree and leaving the scene of a personal injury accident.

The Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant early this morning in Amherst and seized the vehicle they believe Serrano was driving when it struck Connor Lynskey, 18, of Hinckley.

Lynskey was camping with a group of people who attended the Aldean concert and they were walking back to Darien Lakes State Park on Sumner Road when he decided to run ahead and catch up with a friend.

None of the group apparently saw what happened. 

When they got back to the state park, they contact State Park Police because Lynskey had not returned. Park Police and deputies search the area but did not locate Lynskey.

At 11:51 a.m., Saturday, during another search of Sumner Road, Deputy Richard Schildwaster found Lynskey's body in a ditch at the side of the road.

Serrano was jailed on $100,000 bail or $200,000 bond.

Christopher Parker was the lead investigator on the case.

August 11, 2018 - 6:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, accident, news, Darien, notify.

An 18-year-old resident of Hinckley was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver last night on Sumner Road in Darien, though his body was not discovered until late this morning.

At 12:30 a.m., the Sheriff's Office was notified by State Park Police that a member of a group of people staying at Darien Lakes State Park had not returned to the park from a concert at the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center.

Apparently, Connor Lynskey was on Sumner Road about 12:30 a.m. walking back to the group's campsite after Jason Aldean concert with a portion of the group he was camping with when he decided to run ahead and catch up with a friend.

After being notified that Lynskey was missing, deputies and troopers searched the roadways in the area but did not locate Lynskey. 

State Park Police conducted interviews this morning with members of the group and developed information that they might have heard a collision on Sumner Road while walking back to their campsite.

With the additional information, State Park Police and Deputy Richard Schildwaster were able to locate the victim.

He was pronounced dead at the scene by Coroner Karen Lang. His body was transported the Monroe County Medical Examiner's office for an autopsy.

There is no description available of the vehicle that hit Lynskey.

Anyone with information that may assist in the investigation is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at (585) 345-3000.

Assisting at the scene were the Darien Volunteer Fire Department, State Park Police, and State Police. The investigation is ongoing by Schildwaster, Investigator Chris Parker, the Crash Management Team, and Sgt. Jason Saile.

August 11, 2018 - 2:35pm

The following people were arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office during the Jason Aldean concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Friday:

Robert A. Maharrey, 23, of County Road 149, Oklona, Miss., is charged with assault on a police officer after head-butting a deputy in the face breaking the deputy's nose. Maharrey was arraigned in Darien Town Court and jailed in lieu of $25,000 bail. Additional charges are pending.

Fredrick C. M. Dugan, 22, of Ward Road, Wayland, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, after allegedly reentering Darien Lake property after being ejected and told not to return. Dugan was arraigned in Darien Town Court and jailed in lieu of $250 bail.

Brycen A. Thoms, 21 of Valen Court, Wellend, Ontario, Canada, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, after allegedly reentering the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return. Thoms was arraigned in Darien Town Court and jailed in lieu of $250 bail.

Travis R. Bennett, 26, of Ch Lariviere L’isle-Allumettes, Ontario Canada, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, after allegedly climbing over a fence to enter the concert venue. Bennett was arraigned in Darien Town Court and jailed in lieu of $250 bail.

Stephen T. Imposimato, 21, of Whispering Hill Road, Woburn, Mass., is charged with criminal mischief, 4th, after allegedly smashing a window of another person’s car. Imposimato was arraigned in Darien Court and jailed in lieu of $250 bail.

Alexander C. Schweitzer, 21, of Towers Boulevard, Cheektowaga, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, after allegedly entering the concert venue through a back gate without permission. Schweitzer was arraigned in Darien Court and jailed in lieu of $250 bail.

Arthur J. Baker, 53, of Sparks Road, Arcade, is charged with trespass after allegedly attempting to reenter the concert venue after having been ejected and told not to return.

Marcus J. Haefner, 25, of Middle Road, Rush, is charged with trespass after allegedly attempting to reenter the concert venue after having been ejected and told not to return.

Shauna C. Lennon, 26, of Klemer Street, North Tonawanda, is charged with trespass after allegedly attempting to reenter the concert venue after having been ejected and told not to return.

Tyler S. Stroud, 22, of South Maple Street, Warsaw, is charged with trespass after allegedly attempting to enter the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

Antonio M. Donoso, 25, of Victor Drive, Rochester, is charged with trespass after allegedly attempting to enter the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

Jacob H. Tillotson, 18, of Walker Road, Pavilion, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, after allegedly jumping a fence to enter the concert venue.

Wes S. Snyder, 31, of Kendall Road, Holley, is charged with harassment, 2nd, after allegedly pushing a Live Nation medic several times.

Brady F. Metcalf, 19, of Shelly Road, Livonia, is charged with disorderly conduct after allegedly punching another patron in the face while exiting the concert.

Aaron T. Mills, 26, of Elm Street, Canisteo, is charged with disorderly conduct after allegedly pushing another patron while exiting the concert venue.

August 11, 2018 - 1:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, chris collins, David Bellavia, steve hawley, news, crime, notify.

The tweet that changed the complexion of the NY-27 congressional race had barely reached all of the followers of @repchriscollins before Republicans with aspirations to serve in Congress started declaring their interest in replacing Rep. Chris Collins on the GOP line of the November ballot.

Dick Siebert, chair of the GOP in Genesee County, said he's already heard from three candidates, including two from Batavia -- Steve Hawley and David Bellavia.

It will be up to the county chairs in the NY-27 -- given that the primary season is already past and it's less than three months to Election Day -- to pick whose name goes on the R line instead of Collins.

That is if a legal way can be found to get the incumbent's name off the ballot. Possibilities include, or so we are told, finding another elected office to appoint Collins to, such as a judgeship, or having Collins declare permanent residency in Florida.

"My reaction?" Siebert said when asked for his reaction to Collins suspending his campaign. "I was relieved that he did it. It was the right thing to do."

This morning, well before Collins announced he was getting out of the race, The Batavian interviewed Michael Caputo, a GOP political consultant from Buffalo and a close ally of President Donald Trump. Caputo talked at length about all the ways Collins staying in the race harmed Republicans and threatened the very survival of Trump's presidency.

"The scandal and prosecution are in small but profound ways a bad reflection on the president," Caputo said. "I don't think Chris Collins will ever darken the doorstep of the Oval Office again."

The president, Caputo said, learned a powerful lesson when he looked past allegations against Judge Roy Moore in the run-up to his Alabama Senate race about the Republican candidate's reputation for chasing teenage girls. 

Caputo said the closer he gets to Collins at this point, the greater the risk it will blow back in his face and he doesn't want a repeat of the Roy Moore fiasco.

"The president is inclined to look past mere partisan allegations because he weathers so many of those himself, but this 30-page indictment of the wealthy trying to preserve their wealth, it's a terrible look in the New York 27th, where the vast majority of voters are low to middle class on the economic scale," Caputo said.

It was Caputo who first introduced Trump to Collins in 2014 when Trump was considering a run for governor. Collins endeared himself to Trump during the 2016 campaign by being such a strong defender of Trump in television appearances but all that goodwill evaporated when Collins was arrested.

Then Collins became a liability, both because of the perception of his close proximity to the president, and because there is a recognizable danger of Republicans losing control of the House in the midterms.

"It may boil down to one or two seats," Caputo said before we knew Collins was dropping out of the race. "It may boil down to Nate McMurray and Chris Collins. If we lose control of the house, there will be impeachment proceedings, no doubt about it."

In an analysis of data about scandal-plagued incumbents running for reelection, the political prognostication site 538 gives Collins a slender 2 or 3 percentage point chance of winning the election in November.

With the race potentially cut down to a margin of two or three points, Caputo thought it would be a hard race for Collins to win without an energized base. He was already seeing rank-and-file party leadership peeling away from Collins since his arrest.

Collins would not be able to run an effective campaign without squarely addressing the allegations, which at his Wednesday press conference he was unwilling to do, Caputo said. Every time he appeared in public, the press would be there and the lasting image, if Collins wouldn't answer questions, would be of him running away from reporters.

And his own supporters wouldn't have been willing to defend him, then, in their neighbor-to-neighbor conversations.

"One by one, they (would) drop away and in the end, he (wouldn't) have the people to mount an effective get-out-the-vote effort," Caputo said.

That is the kind of tough-love analysis Collins probably heeded when he said in his withdrawal statement, "After extensive discussions with my family and my friends over the last few days, I have decided that it is in the best interests of the constituents of NY-27, the Republican Party and President Trump’s agenda for me to suspend my campaign for reelection to Congress."

The process for picking GOP congressional candidates for the GLOW region is heavily weighted toward Erie County and that process over the past decades has given us: Tom Reynolds, who retired under a cloud of scandals involving Rep. Mark Foley and the treasurer of National Republican Congressional Committee while Reynolds was chair; Chris Lee, who resigned after he was reportedly trolling for transgender women on Craigslist; and now, Chris Collins, accused of insider trading.

It's too soon to know if there are other GLOW-based candidates who might be interested in the seat beside Hawley and Bellavia, but there are Hawley and Bellavia. 

Steve Hawley, a six-term member of the state Assembly, was born and raised in Batavia, is a farmer, local business owner and was a member of the Ohio Army National Guard and the United States Army Reserves.

"Collins has suspended his campaign, whatever that means, but it's not clear if that means his name stays on the ballot or there may be some way to get his name off the ballot," Hawley said. "If that were to occur, I am proud to continue serving and helping people at any level of government and this is something I will look at if it comes up and certainly make a strong push for it."

David Bellavia was born and raised in Buffalo but is a longtime resident of Batavia. He is an American Iraq War veteran who was awarded the Silver Star for his actions during the Second Battle of Fallujah, along with other military awards and honors. He is currently a talk show cohost on WBEN. He lost a 2012 primary race to Collins, though he beat Collins in every county but Erie and Niagara.

"This is something I've dedicated 10 years of my life to doing," Bellavia said. "I'm committed myself since 2012  to correct my deficiencies in Erie and Niagara counties. I'm ready to run."

Previously:

August 11, 2018 - 11:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, chris collins, crime, notify.

Rep. Chris Collins announced this morning that he has dropped out of the race for the NY-27 congressional seat.

“After extensive discussions with my family and my friends over the last few days, I have decided that it is in the best interest of the constituents of NY-27, the Republican Party and President Trump’s agenda for me to suspend my campaign for reelection to Congress,” he wrote in a statement posted on his official Twitter account.

Collins was arrested Wednesday morning on federal charges of securities fraud, wire fraud, and lying to the FBI.

UPDATE: The congressman's press office just issued this statement:

"Democrats are laser-focused on taking back the House, electing Nancy Pelosi Speaker and then launching impeachment proceedings against President Trump. They would like nothing more than to elect an 'Impeach Trump' Democrat in this District, which is something that neither our country or my party can afford.  

After extensive discussions with my family and my friends over the last few days, I have decided that it is in the best interests of the constituents of NY-27, the Republican Party and President Trump’s agenda for me to suspend my campaign for reelection to Congress.  

I will fill out the remaining few months of my term to assure that our community maintains its vote in Congress to support President Trump’s agenda to create jobs, eliminate regulations, reduce the size of government, address immigration and lower taxes.

I will also continue to fight the meritless charges brought against me and I look forward to having my good name cleared of any wrongdoing.”

August 10, 2018 - 7:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Station, news, batavia, notify.

Yes, the Ellicott Station project is proceeding slowly, but it is proceeding.

Last night, Savarino Companies sought County Planning backing for a special use and site plan review, two formalities before they can start construction on the mixed-use complex that will include a brewery, apartments and office space.

"This might be one of the more complicated projects I ever work on in my lifetime because New Market Tax Credits are involved and the New Markets just haven’t really been paired with HCR money before," said Courtney Cox, development associate with Savarino. "We might be like the second case ever, so the legal teams are just trying to figure out how they want to make this work."

The New Market Tax credit is a mechanism that enables Savarino to secure private financial support for a bulk of the project's $17.6 million price tag. The New Market Tax Credit program, was created about two decades ago, in part to replace grants that financed many failed urban renewal programs. Tax credits on the project can be sold as assets to help create a market-driven way to encourage development in economically distressed neighborhoods. 

HCR is Homes and Community Renewal, a state agency that provides funding for housing in financially depressed neighborhoods.

These two financial programs are not commonly brought together and they have different criteria that developers must meet. HCR has a 30-year compliance period and New Markets has a seven-year period with a requirement to refinance after seven years, as one example of the complications that need to be worked out.

Still, Cox still estimates financing will close in this month or nextl, thereby allowing contractors to get a shovel in the ground before the first freeze. If crews can get the site cleared and foundations built before winter, then workers can put up steel and start working on walls.

The entire construction cycle, however, is estimated to be 24 months.

Despite these delays, the anchor tenant, Resurgence Brewing in Buffalo is patient, Cox said.

"They understand," he said. "We renegotiated some of the terms of the lease pretty easily between the two parties, so they're are hanging in there."

One of the biggest changes in the site plan is the apartment complex, which will now include 55 apartment units instead of 51.

That's a change needed to comply with HCR requirements.

"These programs all have design guidelines," Cox said. "There is a limit on how large one-bedroom, two-bedroom, three-bedroom units can be. In the original plan, the one-bedroom units were larger than what they allow, so we had to downsize."

The one-bedroom apartments will be about 785 square feet.

"They’re not tiny units by any means," Cox said. "I think it's just being efficient with space that public money is being invested into."

Even though no ground has been broken yet, Rachel Tabelski, director of the Batavia Development Corp., said Ellicott Station remains one of the state's ground-breaking projects.

"This is the first brownfield opportunity area -- they have these all over the state -- but this is the first one that is actually close to putting a shovel in the ground," Tabelski said. "So across the state, we are the poster child for having a developer come in and commit to this site and prove that the brownfield opportunity area works."

The success in getting the project this far has put Batavia on the map with investors looking to finance similar projects.

"This project is a catalyst," Tabelski said. "Everybody wants to know what’s going on. They’re calling us out of Manhattan now asking are there deals here they can play. That’s a huge testament to how big this is."

August 10, 2018 - 3:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, Stafford, batavia.

Plush Dozier, AKA Plush Kevin Dozier, is indicted for the crime of first-degree arson, a Class A-1 felony. It is alleged that on the night of June 15 or the early morning of June 16 that he intentionally damaged a building -- a residence on Maple Street in the City of Batavia -- by causing a fire. This fire caused serious physical injury to another person, who was present and not a participant in the crime, and the defendant allegedly knew the person's presence inside the residence was a reasonable possibility. In count two, Dozier is accused of second-degree attempted murder, a Class B felony. It is alleged in count two that at the time of the crime, Dozier acted with intent to commit murder in the second degree -- to intentionally cause the death of another person -- and engaged in conduct to that end.

Torrence C. Greene is indicted for the crime of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony. It is alleged that on Feb. 2 in the City of Batavia that Greene knowingly and unlawfully possessed a narcotic drug -- cocaine -- with intent to sell it. In count two, he is accused of the same crime for allegedly knowingly and unlawfully possessing one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing cocaine that had an aggregate weight of one-half ounce or more.

Michael J. Mawn is indicted for the crime of aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on May 14 in the Town of Stafford that Mawn drove a 2000 Jeep Cherokee on Route 33 knowing or having reason to know that his driver's license was suspended, revoked or otherwise withdrawn by authorities. It is further alleged that he did so while under the influence of alcohol. In count two, he is accused of DWI, as a misdemeanor, for allegedly driving while intoxicated on that day. In count three, Mawn is accused of driving while ability impaired by alcohol for allegedly driving that day while his ability to do so was impaired by the consumption of alcohol. In count four, he is accused of speeding, a vehicle and traffic law infraction, for allegedly driving in excess of the 55-mph speed limit. In Special Information filed by the District Attorney's Office, Mawn is accused of having been convicted of DWI, as a misdemeanor, on Jan. 7, 2005, in Monroe County Court and that conviction forms the basis for the suspended or revoked license referred to in count one. It further states that Mawn knew or should have known that his license was revoked because of the conviction and the revocation was still in effect when he committed the crimes alleged in the current indictment.

Gary D. Burney is indicted for the crime of bail jumping in the second degree, a Class E felony. It is alleged that Burney was released from custody or allowed to remain at liberty by court order, either upon bail or his own recognizance, upon condition he would subsequently personally appear in Genesee County Court in connection with a felony charge against him. He failed to appear on Jan. 9 or voluntarily within 30 days thereafter, hence the indictment.

August 10, 2018 - 3:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in County GOP, chris collins, NY-27, notify.

chriscollinsaug2018.jpgOn a personal level, the insider trading charges against Rep. Chris Collins are disappointing, said Richard Siebert, chairman of the Genesee County GOP, but it will be up to members of his committee to decide how local Republican leadership should respond to the allegations.

He said the executive committee will meet Aug. 20 to discuss their options, which would include everything from standing by there man or asking him to resign.

The case against Collins, Siebert conceded, looks pretty strong but he also believes that in this country, we support the rule of law and a person is innocent until proven guilty.

He understands, though, not all voters are going to see it that way and that could make it hard for Collins to get out in the district over the next three months and battle for re-election.

"It's a tough situation to campaign in with this hanging over your head," Siebert said. "The people in Genesee County are tough people and they don't like scandals and they don't like to feel betrayed so I wouldn't want to be in his shoes right now."

Ellen Grant, chair of the GOP in Wyoming County, said she is also waiting to see how things play out, with a similar belief in America's justice system but recognizing the case presented by federal prosecutors doesn't look good for the incumbent congressman.

"I was very surprised and very dismayed by the news," Grant said. "It seemed like a strong case that was put forth in New York City. I listened to the timelines they presented and the other information but I also understand people have an opportunity to rebut and refute and that everyone is innocent until proven guilty."

She understands, she said, that these charges were just filed and Collins has a lot on his plate but she was disappointed in his press conference in Buffalo on Wednesday. While he proclaimed his innocence, she noted, he provided no information that might convince constituents to believe him.

"I don't know when he might make any further statements beyond what he has said but I'm hopeful more information will come out to assure voters and the people in the party who are working for his re-election so he can continue to be our representative as a candidate and a congressman and do those jobs well."

As an elected official holding national office, Collins is in the public eye, she said, so "you have to prove your innocence instead of just proving you're not guilty to retain the public's confidence."

In Orleans County, GOP County Chair Ed Morgan said the future of the congressman is entirely up to him.

"My opinion, my stance is, we're in American and in America, you're innocent until proven guilty," Morgan said. "He's in the driver's seat. He can stay in the race if he wants. He is still our congressman and I will still back him and wait and take a deep breath and in a week (when his committee will meet) we'll see what our options are."

Morgan said he sees the legal issues faced by Collins as separate from his position and our congressional representative.

"This is not a congressional issue," Morgan said. "It's more of a legal issue. I think he's done a great job for the area and I think he would continue to do a great job. I'll keep an open mind. Our county is one of the smaller ones but one of the more heavily Republican ones."

The only other GOP county chair The Batavian tried to reach is Nick Langworthy from Erie County. We have placed calls yesterday and today and sent him a text message and have gotten no response.

Morgan also questioned the timing of the charges, just three months before an election, and wondered if they might be politically motivated (for the record, the prosecutor in the case is a Trump appointee) but Dick Siebert had a different take on the timing of events.

He wonders why Collins didn't alert the county chairs sooner about the pending investigation. The allegations stem from June 2017, months before Collins asked local party members to start passing around petitions for his candidacy (though it's hard to know when Collins became aware of the federal criminal investigation, he certainly knew as far back as April 25 and the news of his arrest caught everybody by surprise).

"If we had known before," Siebert said, "It would have given Chris a chance to explain himself before we decided whether to endorse him."

As for Siebert's own take on the allegations, he's been pretty unhappy since the news came out, he said.

"Right now from everything I've seen of the evidence, and what I watched of the proceeding when the charges were filed, there is no doubt about it, it's very disturbing," Siebert said. "It's very damning. This is not what you expect from a congressman or any elected official for that matter. In Genesee County, I'm proud of all the people we've helped get into office. We run clean campaigns. We've had no scandals in Genesee County in my 44 years and so I'm disappointed in our congressman."

Previously:

August 9, 2018 - 10:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news, notify.

zarskyexchange.png

 NOTE: In our previous coverage of the allegations of insider trading against Rep. Chris Collins, we cited a government document as a "criminal complaint." This was an oversight on our part and we subsequently corrected those stories to indicate we were referencing a civil complaint filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. This story is based on the indictment against Collins and his co-defendants. To read the indictment yourself, click here.

Of the 10 or so people who allegedly took part in an illegal tip tree, giving them an opportunity to dump their stock holdings in Innate Therapeutics before public disclosure that a critical medical trial had failed catastrophically, only three among the 10 face criminal charges. 

Two of the alleged conspirators -- Lauren Zarsky and Dorothy Zarsky -- have reportedly admitted to the SEC that they engaged in insider trading and have agreed to return their "ill-gotten gains."

The SEC settlement is a civil matter. Neither of the women has been charged, at least so far, with a criminal offense.

The three men at the top of the alleged tip tree, however, could go to prison, if convicted, for up to 20 years.

They are, Rep. Chris Collins, his 25-year-old son Cameron Collins, engaged to Lauren, and Lauren's father, the 66-year-old Stephen Zarsky. They are charged with conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud, and making false statements to FBI agents.

According to the criminal indictment, the narrative of how Chris Collins came to be accused of insider trading begins with an email he received at 6:55 p.m., June 22, 2017. Collins was at the annual Congressional Picnic on the lawn of the White House when he reportedly read a message from Innate's CEO, who is Simon Wilkinson, according to the company's website.

"I have bad news to report," Wilkinson wrote. "The top line analysis of the 'intent to treat' patient population (i.e., every subject who was successfully enrolled in the study) would pretty clearly indicate 'clinical failure.' "

He continued, "Top-line 12-month data ... show no clinically meaningful or statistically significant differences in [outcomes] between MIS416 and placebo."

The email concluded, "No doubt we will want to consider this extremely bad news."

Collins responded at 7:10 p.m., according to prosecutors, "Wow. Makes no sense. How are these results even possible???"

He is then suspected of immediately attempting to contact his son. He called Cameron twice. Cameron called back three times. Chris Collins called him back. On their seventh attempt to connect, at 7:16:19 p.m., father and son finally spoke with each other. 

Video has surfaced that shows Collins pacing on the White House lawn at 7:17 p.m. talking on his mobile phone.

Chris and Cameron spoke for six minutes and eight seconds.

The indictment alleges the congressman revealed that the MIS416 trial failed, disclosing nonpublic information, knowing it was a breach of his duties and anticipating his son would trade on the information and tip others.

When Cameron Collins allegedly learned of the clinical trial failure, the over-the-counter market in the United States was closed.

At 7:42 a.m. the next morning, Cameron Collins placed an online order to sell 16,508 shares of Innate. The order was executed at 9:30 a.m. when the OTC market opened.

As the day worn on, Cameron allegedly placed 17 more orders to sell. He's accused of placing 36 more on Monday. 

During this flurry of trading, Chris Collins and Cameron Collins spoke on the phone several times, prosecutors allege. During one five-minute conversation, while still on the phone, Cameron Collins allegedly placed an order to sell 50,000 shares.

In all, he sold 1,930,500 shares during this trading binge. In all, he sold 5.2 million shares, according to federal documents. As a result, he allegedly avoided a loss of $570,900.

In the days before the CEO learned of the clinical trial failure, the future of Innate looked much brighter after the FDA cleared Innate to open what's called an Investigational New Drug application. That clearance moved Innate one step closer to a public release of its new multiple sclerosis drug. 

The company announced the good news June 21.

A few days earlier, on June 19, Lauren Zarsky used her online brokage account for the first time ever to buy Innate stock, grabbing 40,464 shares over a two-day period. 

According to the indictment, Lauren Zarasky didn't even own Innate stock for a full week. At 9:37 a.m., June 22, after reportedly meeting with Cameron Collins at her father's house, Lauren sold her entire Innate portfolio.

Lauren Zarsky avoided losses of $19,440 with the timely sale of her stock.

Lauren Zarsky has not been charged criminally. A spokesman for the Southern District in New York of the U.S. Attorney's Office said he was not permitted to discuss whether or not Lauren Zarsky has cooperated with investigators. 

Before Cameron Collins started his alleged stock dump, he went to the home of Stephen Zarsky, the indictment alleges and met with Stephen Zarsky, Lauren Zarsky, and Dorothy Zarsky.

According to prosecutors, Cameron disclosed information about the failed trial and informed the family that he would sell his shares but give the Zarskys a chance to unload their shares first out of concern that his share dump could potentially depress the share price. The indictment doesn’t reveal how investigators learned the substance of the conversation.

That night, at 9:34 p.m., before trading of Innate shares were halted in Australia, Dorothy Zarsky called her brokerage. A telephone rep walked her through the process of executing an online trade in Australia. That night, she sold 30,350 of her 50,000 shares on the ASX market. The next morning, she sold her remaining shares in the U.S. over-the-counter market. She avoided $22,600 in losses.

At 7:52 a.m., June 23, Stephen Zarsky allegedly contacted his broker and placed an order to sell his 303,005 shares at no less than 41 cents a share. That was well below the previous day’s closing price of 52 cents per share. His shares sold at 9:30 a.m. for 51 cents a share. Stephen Zarsky allegedly avoided $143,900 in losses.

Cameron Collins allegedly contacted another trader the morning of June 23 who immediately sold his holdings to avoid a loss of $680.

That same morning, Stephen Zarsky allegedly contacted three other people, including his brother, who held Innate stock.

Without disclosing how investigators know the contents of Stephen Zarksy's call to his brother, the indictment says that Zarsky advised his brother to sell his stocks. Investigators say Zarsky's brother concluded, without being told, that Zarsky had insider information from the Collins family, and sold his shares, avoiding a loss of $4,200.

The indictment also recounts a text message conversation Zarsky had with his brother (image at the top of this story), discussing two other traders who were allegedly advised to sell but didn’t.

Another Zarsky contact allegedly sold his shares and avoided losses of $6,700. 

During one conversation with an Innate stock owner, Stephen Zarsky reportedly told the person that Cameron Collins intended to purchase a house so he would have an excuse for the timing of his Innate trades if they ever came to light. That person Zarsky spoke with allegedly avoided $6,700 in loses.

Chris Collins is accused in Count Eleven of the indictment of lying to an FBI agent on April 25. He is accused of telling the agent that he did not pass along to Cameron Collins the confidential information before its public release that the drug trial had failed.

Cameron Collins was also interviewed by an FBI agent on April 25. He is accused of lying about his conversation with his father and lying about his knowledge of Stephen Zarsky’s Innate holdings.

Stephen Zarsky is accused of lying to a special agent of the FBI on April 25 by stating that he sold his Innate stocks solely because of his concern that Innate was too risky of an investment; that the investment had been recommended by a friend in Connecticut; that he didn’t know whether Cameron Collins had sold any shares, and that he did not know the drug trial results or discuss them with Cameron Collins prior to the public announcement.

August 9, 2018 - 12:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Pavilion, news, notify.

Paul David Hussey, 63, of Highway 13, South Hurricane Mills, Tenn., is charged with four counts of attempted assault with a dangerous instrument, 1st, four counts of reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a controlled substance, and driving while ability impaired by drugs. Hussey is accused of attempting to run over patrons of the Northgate Free Methodist Church, 8160 Bank Street Road, Batavia, at 6:59 p.m. Wednesday. He was allegedly found in possession of methamphetamine. He was jailed on $25,000 bail, $50,000 bond.

Joseph T. Sieg, 23, of French Road, Depew, is charged with menacing, 2nd, DWI, aggravated unlicensed operation, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, and driving without inspection. Sieg allegedly threatened four people by displaying a knife during a disturbance on Telephone Road, Pavilion, at 9:28 p.m. Wednesday.

August 9, 2018 - 7:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, crime, notify, news.

collinspresseraug82018b.jpg

With barely a mention of the insider-trader charges he is facing, Rep. Chris Collins held what was billed as a press conference at the Embassy Suites in Buffalo on Wednesday evening and vowed to fight vigorously to clear his name.

He called the charges -- detailed at length earlier Wednesday in a 22-page Securities and Exchange Commission civil complaint -- "meritless" but offered no details on why he believes he has been unfairly charged.

With his wife, Mary Sue, standing placidly by his side, Collins held forth for nearly seven minutes on: his successes in business; his record as Erie County executive; his belief in the company at the heart of the insider trading allegations -- Innate Immunotherapeutics Ltd.; and his hope of finding a treatment for secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.

"I believe I acted properly and within the law at all times with regard to my affiliation with Innate throughout my tenure in Congress," Collins said. "I have followed all rules and all ethical guidelines when it comes to my personal investments including those with Innate. 

"I look forward," he added later, "to being fully vindicated and exonerated, ending any and all questions relating to my affiliation with Innate." 

After vowing that his name will be on the ballot for the NY-27 election in November, Collins walked off stage and refused to acknowledge reporters' questions.

The man prosecuting Collins, Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, a Trump appointee, was far more detailed in a press conference in New York City earlier in the day. Berman and other federal law enforcement officials talked for nearly 30 minutes about the scheme they allege Collins enabled by his failure to keep confidential information he was legally and ethically bound to not share with anyone, not even his son.

According to Berman, however, as soon as Collins received the devastating news that a clinical trial for a promising MS drug developed by Innate had failed, Collins -- while attending a Friday afternoon Congressional picnic at the White House -- repeatedly attempted to call his son, Cameron Collins, a major shareholder of Innate stock. When he finally reached him -- while Collins was still pacing on the lawn of the White House -- father and son spoke by phone for six minutes.

That unleashed, Berman said, a frenzied four days of insider trading as the "tip tree" allegedly headed by Collins, got to work passing on info and dumping stock as soon as each member of the tip tree found out about the failed trial. Cameron managed to unload more than $570,900 in Innate stock that would become nearly worthless once the results of the trial were finally released the night of June 26, a Monday, by Innate.

"Congressman Collins couldn't keep his crime a secret forever," Berman said. "The FBI asked to interview him. And instead of telling the truth, he lied. And so did Cameron Collins and so did Stephen Zarksy. By lying to the FBI, they compounded their insider-trading crime with the crime of criminal cover-up."

The tip tree allegedly involved Cameron's girlfriend, a CPA, her father, her mother, along with other friends and family members.

Cameron Collins' girlfriend, Lauren Zarsky, and her mother, Dorothy Zarsky, have already settled with the SEC, admitting to their role in the insider-trading scheme and promising to pay back their "ill-gotten gains." Lauren Zarsky will also be prohibited from working as a CPA before the commission for five years.

"Accountants who engage in illegal insider trading should not serve in the role of gatekeeper in our securities markets," said Stephanie Avakian, co-director of the SEC.

The investigation into the alleged tipping tree began, according to Steven Peikin, head of the enforcement division of the SEC, after regulators noticed the unusual trading pattern of Cameron Collins.

According to the civil complaint, Cameron Collins, who at one time owned 5.2 million shares of Innate stock, initiated dozens of trades in increments small enough to avoid depressing the stock price but at high enough volumes that he could quickly unload all of the Innate stock he held in a U.S. brokerage. 

"When members of the market abuse unit, a specialized group within the division of enforcement, uncovered suspicious trading by Cameron Collins they did not stop there," Peikin said. "As you heard, they identified well-timed trades by people close to him including his girlfriend, her mother, her father and her father's relative and a friend."

According to Peikin, numerous investigators with the SEC, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office worked on the case tirelessly for months, compiling a growing body of evidence that led them to Chris Collins, his son, the Zarsky family and their friends.

"(They) developed a thorough and compelling evidentiary record," Peikin said. "That record, which is summarized in the complaints, consists of e-mails and text messages, cell phone records, trading data, communications, including recorded calls with brokerage firms, IP log-on information and other (information). It reflects frantic efforts by tippers to convey inside information and traders to sell their shares before the company's negative news announcement."

Attorneys for Chris Collins tried to make the case Wednesday that Collins is not guilty of insider trading because he did not sell any of his own stock in the company. During his time on the dais at Embassy Suites on Wednesday evening, talking in front of about 30 reporters, Collins echoed the sentiment.

"When it became clear that the drug I and others believed in fell short of our hopes and expectations, I held on to my shares rather than sell them as a result," Collins said.

It's not part of the allegation against Collins that he engaged insider trading by selling stock, however. The allegation is that he initiated a tip tree that caused others to sell based on information he was duty-bound to keep confidential.

"Congressman Collins had an obligation and a legal duty to keep that information secret until that information was released by the company to the public," Berman said. "But he didn't keep it secret. Instead, as alleged, he decided to commit a crime. He placed his family and friends above the public good. Congressman Collins was a major investor in Innate and so was his son, Cameron. The congressman knew he couldn't sell his own shares for personal and technical reasons, including that he was already under investigation regarding Innate by the Congressional Ethics Office."

At the time Chris Collins was informed by the Innate CEO via an email that the clinical trials had failed, all of the stock held by Collins was tied up in an Australian brokerage. In May of 2017, Collins attempted to transfer his stock holdings to a U.S. brokerage, according to the civil complaint, but a mistake in the form delayed the transfer. Cameron Collins completed his own transfer between countries in early June. Once Innate knew it would be making a material announcement about the company, under Australian securities rules, trading of the stock was suspended. That rule didn't apply to the stock held by Cameron Collins once it was transferred to a U.S. brokerage or the other alleged members of the tip tree, so they were able to offer their stocks for sale as a penny stock on the over-the-counter Pink market under the ticker symbol INNMF.

The SEC takes a dim view of insider trading because trust is an important component of an open securities market. When traders buy or sell stock in a company based on information not available to the general public, it violates that trust.

"Insider trading is not just illegal," Peikin said. "It is also corrosive. It threatens investor confidence in the fairness and integrity of our markets. For our capital markets to retain their place as the envy of the world, the SEC and its law enforcement colleagues must be vigilant in policing against this misconduct."

Joshua Dent, president of Dent Wealth Management in Batavia, said that is exactly the attitude he expects from the SEC and it's critical to how he and his colleagues do their jobs. They need to know the securities they recommend to investors are being traded honestly and fairly.

"Stocks are traded on information and it's critical for that information to be accurate," Dent said. "Companies can get in trouble for falsifying that information to investors. At the same time, access to that information must be open to all investors or it gives some individuals an unfair advantage. Anything that causes investors to mistrust the fairness of the market is dangerous and threatens the integrity of the entire stock market."

While anybody who bought Innate stock at the time Cameron and others were selling may have lost money on the trade, it's impossible to say that they lost money because the alleged insiders were selling. The buyers were all willing buyers, Dent explained. They probably would have been looking to purchase stock in Innate even if the alleged insiders hadn't been trading. If they bought at the share price available -- about 45 cents at the time -- they would have lost their shirts by June 27 regardless of who was selling the stock. They traded on the information available to the general public and likely would have made those trades even without the alleged insiders trading. 

"There's no recourse for them because they could have bought the stock from anybody and they were willing to buy at that price," Dent said. "It's not necessarily about the victims as much as the unfairness that the Collins's were able to avoid losses and threaten the credibility of the market. The victims are basically all investors because if some people are able to receive and act on insider information and others cannot, then, as I said, it threatens the credibility of the stock market. The credibility of the stock market is based on the ability of investors to trust a fair exchange."

Chris Collins, Cameron Collins, and Stephen Zarsky each face 13 counts of securities fraud, wire fraud, and making false statements. If convicted, they each could be looking at five years in prison.

As a result of his arrest in Manhatten this morning, Collins is already facing consequences in the House of Representatives. Speaker Paul Ryan removed Collins from the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“While his guilt or innocence is a question for the courts to settle, the allegations against Rep. Collins demand a prompt and thorough investigation by the House Ethics Committee," Ryan said. "Insider trading is a clear violation of the public trust. Until this matter is settled, Rep. Collins will no longer be serving on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.”

During today's press conference in New York City, Co-director of the SEC Avakian addressed those tempted by insider trading.

"Here's a better inside tip for those who think they can play by a different set of rules: Access to this kind of information carries with it significant responsibility, especially for those in society who hold a position of trust, to act honorably and in accordance with the law, and do not lie to special agents of the FBI," she said.

Video: Chris Collins "press conference" in Buffalo on Wednesday evening:

CBS News carried the press conference about the charges against Collins live. In the video below, the press conference starts at about the 6:45 mark.

CBS News also obtained exclusive video taken at the White House on June 22 during the Congressional picnic. It shows Collins on the phone at 7:17. The email informing board members of the failed clinical trials went out at 6:55 p.m. Collins allegedly tried multiple times to get in touch with Cameron Collins and when finally did, they allegedly spoke to each other for about six minutes.

CORRECTION: Earlier we referred to the document used in this story as a "criminal complaint." The document in the possession of The Batavian at the time this story was written was actually from the SEC and is a civil complaint. There is also a federal indictment that The Batavian had not yet obtained when this story was written.

August 8, 2018 - 2:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, notify, news, batavia, Darien, pembroke.

Patrick Allen Thompson, 36, of Gabbey Road, Pembroke, is charged with third-degree assault, endangering the welfare of a child, and third-degree menacing. He was arrested following a domestic incident at an upper apartment on Gabbey Road in Pembroke at 9:53 p.m. on Aug. 5. Thompson allegedly assaulted another party, thereby endangering the welfare of the pregnant victim's unborn child. He also allegedly menaced the same victim by making a threat and following it up with physical injury. He was arraigned in Town of Pembroke Court and jailed in lieu of $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond. He is due in Town of Pembroke court at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 14. The case was investigated by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Andrew Mullen, assisted by Deputy Michael Lute.

Stephanie M. Burmeier, 33, of Payne Avenue, North Tonawanda, is charged with petit larceny and second-degree harassment. She was arrested at 6:10 p.m. on Alleghany Road in Darien after allegedly stealing merchandise from a souvenir shop inside Darien Lake Theme Park and Resort, then kicking one of the security officers who was attempting to detain her. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy James Stack.

Minnie M. Henry, 30, of Central Avenue, Batavia was arrested on Aug. 6 on a bench warrant out of Batavia City Court. On Aug. 6, Batavia PD responded to 41 Central Ave. for an open 9-1-1 (hang-up) call and the defendant was subsequently arrested on the bench warrant. She is now charged with resisting arrest because she allegedly physically resisted police efforts to arrest her on the bench warrant. The defendant was jailed on $5,000 cash or bond. Henry is due in court on Thursday (Aug. 9). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins, assisted by Officer Nicole McGinnis.

Noel Marie Wentworth, 49, of Pringle Avenue, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. She was arrested at 12:56 p.m. on Aug. 5 at Tops Friendly Market on West Main Street in Batavia after Tops' loss prevention personnel observed her allegedly stealing over-the-counter medication. She was issued a computer-generated appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on Aug. 14. The case was handled by Batavia Police Det. Eric Hill.

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