April 4, 2008

Board Of Inquiry

Several Niagara County Legislators have submitted a resolution for the next Leg meeting asking for a Board of Inquiry into what role Coroner James Joyce had in his business dealings with certain individuals who are now under federal indictment for allegedly running massage parlors as fronts for prostitution activities in both Niagara and Erie counties. While we do not know if the county should or should not move forward with the Board of Inquiry, we do find the reaction to the resolution calling for the inquiry from one Legislator laughable.

Dennis Virtuoso (D-Niagara Falls) stated that Joyce's role "had nothing to do with his position as a coroner. It was another outside interest that he had.” Here's the problem with that statement: Joyce had taken those individuals who've been indicted to political functions and asked public officials to become involved with their business ventures. Joyce had also personally partnered with the individual on business dealings. In essence, it appears that he did use his role as a politically connected coroner to advance his personal business interests.

Virtuoso also stated that the case didn’t bear on Joyce's county duties. While that may be true, I would imagine that Joyce wasn't pitching his offerings while on-call, his nearly 30 years in office certainly afforded him the opportunity to gain significant political influence.

Even Niagara County Sheriff Tom Beilein, who had posed for a picture with Joyce's indicted friends, stated that he did so because Joyce had vouched for the couple. Beilein, after learning that the photograph was hung in a prominent place in their Wheatfield massage parlor, had the photo taken down.

Now, we've given Virtuoso credit before. He is the consummate politician who is very effective in his role as Minority Leader. But don't sit there and tell us that this had nothing to do with his role as coroner, Dennis. This time, it just won't fly.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Joyce is screwed. He already admitted in the article yesterday that he was pais by the massage parlor owners to introduce them to elected officials and look for financial incentives for their business. That is Joyce's own self-admission, confirmed by Beilein and Anello.

Take a look at the State Commission on Public Integrity and you will see that this is a clear violation of the state lobbying law, a very serious crime.

So matter or not Joyce knew about the hookers, he is in deep by his own admission.

I bet the state starts a lobbying investigation in the next 30 days.

Fawn Leibowitz said...

Could we, for just a moment, imagine what Virtuoso would be saying if this were a Republican elected official who was being targeted by the Feds? Holy Christ, he'd be asking for every investigative body on the planet to look into it, he'd want the person to immediately resign, and all of the blame would ultimately fall on George Maziarz. God forbid someone on your side of the aisle actually take responsibility for their own actions, Dennis.

dark knight said...

I thought the same thing anon did when I read the paper. Joyce's lawyers should have never let him talk to the press. He has clear public integrity violations and will no doubt be removed from office for lobbying for a client and not registering in Albany.

Larry S said...

Virtuoso needs to learn when to come to the defense of his colleagues and when to stay out of it. When Joyce goes down for this, Virtuoso's support is going to come back to haunt him.

Joyce definitely has a problem here. If nothing else, there are serious ethical problems with his actions. I'm assuming that's what a board of inquiry will investigate, as opposed to the legal angle which the federal investigators will look at.

rob clark said...

So I see we are on to the next "witch hunt". The man does have a right to make a living. And untill proven otherwise he has done nothing wrong.

As most of you here already know from earlier postings I myself did recieve a donation from this group. It was for a golf tournament. I was asked to fill in for a person who could not make it. They seemed like people who you could trust. They gave me $100.00 for my campaign 2 years ago. They never asked myself, or anyone in attendance that day for anything. They were just interested in local politics. ( unfortunetly I can see why now.)

Mr. Joyce has said that his dealings with this couple were with other ventures. How is it that politicans like BRUNO,SILVER,or the Vice President DICK " I DONT CARE IF THE WAR EVER ENDS" CHEEANNY ( however the hell you spell his last name) can get away with this stuff on the side. Is it right, probably not. But I can already see this becoming a GOP Grand Standing Nightmare.

I hope they remember that Joyce is one of the few of us Democrats that is willing to work "across party lines". Its time for all of us to move this county forward.

Anonymous said...

I can hear Becky yelling Yippie from here.

gop shill said...

Rob, I'm calling you out right now on this. People take campaign donations unbeknowst from bad people. You simply return the contrubtion and move on. I believe you are 100 percent clean in all of this and shouldn't even have to answer.

But you are dead wrong. Bruno and Silver make outside livings. Bruno is being investigated on his.

Joyce admited in the paper that he was hired to help the firm with local politicians. Good for him, he has every right to earn that money.

But if you're going to enter that field, you'd better damn well know the rules.

First, he broke the law by not registering as a lobbyist and registering his client. And it was Spitzer who tightened up these laws.

Second, he probably has ethicial violations for lobbying a government in which he was an elected official. That's a no no.

You can shill for your side all you want, but you can't change these facts that as others pointed out, Joyce admitted to.

Larry S said...

You know, Rob, you've got some serious balls accusing anyone of grandstanding when your boy Virtuoso is the king of grandstanding. Deny that.

Anonymous said...

Nixon lives

Anonymous said...

if we are going to investigate things let's look at Harris Beach and the money they suck dry from this county!

Anonymous said...

I agree. And since Kyle Andrews is the only legislator in Niagara County who works for Harris Beach, let the investigation start with him.

rufus said...

All we ever hear the Dems say is that Harris Beach is a Republican law firm and the last post says Democrat Legislator Kyle Andrews worsk for them. Is that true and accurate? I had never heard that before.

More importantly, what's up with Democrats and hookers. Spitzer, Joyce, Rivera taking campaign contributions from the ring, the sheriff's picture hangs in the massage parlor...this is getting ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

If Kyle Andrews works at Harris Beach, doesn't that pose a conflict of interest? Who knew he worked there? I assume Dennis Virtuosos knows.

rob clark said...

gop shill.... good points. I was unaware on what Spitzer changed.
Larry S....I won`t deny that. I won`t deny the fact that Dennis V. has proven he is his own man, and he proves it. But lets face the facts here the GOP Majority does as its told. Some good, some bad.

Larry S said...

Rob, Dennis is his own man? Then why does Dan Rivera walk into every caucus they have? Is he telling him to comb his hair? NO< he's giving him his damn marching orders. Get over yourself and take the damn blinders off!!!

Tim Taylor said...

Despite Joyce being under federal investigation, Dennis Virtuoso says, "It had nothing to do with his position as a coroner. It was another outside interest that he had."

That quote is indicative of how amazingly arrogant Virtuoso is. He even believes that he is above federal investigators.

You're going to wear this one, Dennis. You just don't know when to shut up.

sick & tired said...

All you desktop lawyers should go back to reading class. The State Commission on Public Integrity web site plainly states that one must register as a lobbyist if they are attempting to influence la making, rule making or regulation making. There is no evidence that Joyce engaged in rtying to influence any of these activities. So scratch that one from the talking points list.

As for a County Board of Inquiry, the Feds are apparently looking into the whole affair and as of yet there is no indication that Joyce misused his office per se, although it does appear that he used his political goodwill to introduce the pimps to certain movers and shakers. Its seems premature and a stretch to start an ill-defined County inquiry. At this point, with no clear indications of potential misconduct in his office, it would seem a bit premature and it would amount to no more than a fishing expedition.

Of note is the FBI's recent request to state investigators to hold off on pursuing certain Spitzer related allegations because of their ongoing investigation into Hookergate. Why wouldn't the same considerations be given in Joyce's case?

That said, people are more than reasonable to question the judgment of Joyce and how he picks and chooses his business associates. Here's a politico who has apparently, not once, but twice been roped into introducing around town "business people" whoa were not really legitimate business people. The first was an FBI informant and now these alleged human slave traders. Doesn't Joyce have the sense to at least know who he's vouching for?

Bad judgment?
Certainly.

Criminal misconduct?
Still don't know enough.

Board of Inquiry?
This should be deferred unless or until there is some real definition of what is to be investigated or more information is elicited that implicates official misconduct, as opposed to poor judgment. And unfortunately, one cannot be thrown out of office simply for their poor judgment.

Anonymous said...

S&T, Joyce admitted he took them to Anello's office to get financial backing.

That's procurement lobbying. He's in trouble.

Anonymous said...

Sick & Tired,

Thanks for being the first (and only post)from either side of the aisle here that has made any sense.

Anonymous said...

Rob Clark,

Did you give the money back or do you still have the dirty loot in you pocket like dear old Dan?

Anonymous said...

Oh please. Once again this blog turns into nothing but a forum to bash Democrats ... kind of like the new LCTV.

Larry Castellani said...

You know what? I’m starting to understand local politics. You spend half your time executing witchhunts against your opponents in the other party. If your Republican you spend half your time, at least during Leg sessions, ignoring any claims the public has on your obligation and influence. The rest of the time you spend shoring up the self-interest machine in the name of big business, getting your party in office and raising money to do it all over again. In the meantime the County slides slowly into economic and cultural oblivion. The public is successfully ignored, reviled and finally excluded. Then we wait for the coup that will usher in the age of mindless regimented fascism. I’ve been making it all too difficult. I’m really sorry.
Please forgive me.

sick & tired said...

http://www.nyintegrity.org/law/lob/guidelines.html

Desk top lawyers,check it out.

First, "procurement" is what government does for goods and services. Not what was done by JJ. Perhaps there was a grant involved but that is specifically exempted by the law.

From the reports, it appears as though Joyce was mainly involved in promoting the issuance of a permit or variance for the 3rd St. brothel in NF. Also an activity that is specifically exempted by the law.

So again, whatever else one can say about JJ, so far, it does not appear that he's broken any laws.

But, I hope the Board of Inquiry is televised. Now that's something I'd watch on LCTV!

rob clark said...

anonymous......No I didn`t give it back. Who would I give it to? I haven`t seen the shop owners in almost 2 years. What good would it do if I gave the $100 to the "employees" of the ring. They wouldn`t see it. The Government would probably keep it. I`m willing to bet that they are probably doing better than most of us right now. Its terrible what they must have had to go through.

By the way if you are trying to say that I take marching orders, then you don`t read the papers much do you.