We've talked about Niagara County Coroner James Joyce before, stating that the county was right in creating a board of inquiry to probe Joyce’s connections with massage parlor owners ‘Alan’ Tsui and his wife, ‘Lisa’ Chong. Joyce apparently has chosen to avoid the inquiry by retiring, instead opting to take a nearly $30,000 a year pension from the state.
With his retirement, the board of inquiry will be terminated. The question is, why? If Joyce participated in illegal or even questionable practices while he served Niagara County, do we not still have the right to know that? Does walking away absolve him for anything he may have done wrong? Joyce had previously raised red flags when his relationship with an individual who turned out to be an FBI plant trying to get Niagara County officials to take bribes in the late 1980s was investigated. Now he's claiming ignorance, not knowing that these "massage parlors" were fronts for sex rings.
Chong, by the way, was convicted of human trafficking. It was James Joyce that had arranged to have former Sheriff Tom Beilein's picture prominently displayed in one of the massage parlor windows, obviously to present an image of police protection.
Every elected official in Niagara County is required to fill out some type of financial disclosure form, but the envelope is only opened in the event of an investigation. With Joyce's retirement, and subsequent skating of answering questions related to his relationship with the owners, we will never really know if he personally benefited from those relationships - unless he voluntarily releases the documents.
Retired State Supreme Court Judge Ronald Tills resigned his post as a hearing officer because of his alleged role in taking a local massage parlor worker across state lines for purposes of prostitution, but that does not mean he didn't face charges. If you've committed a crime, resigning from your job should not be a way of getting out it.
Continue with the inquiry. We have a right to know.