Investigative Post (Buffalo)

[The Investigative Post is the only press venue in Buffalo dedicated to watchdog journalism. We’re pleased to present some snippets of recent coverage of the India Walton/Byron Brown mayoral race. The issue at hand, simplified: Incumbent Mayor Byron Brown lost the Democratic Party primary. New York has a ‘sore loser law’ passed in 2019 that specifically forbids someone who lost a primary from adding themselves to the ballot after the fact. Brown’s lawyers appealed this law, and the judge ruled in his favor. However, that judge turns out to have close ties to Brown, creating the appearance (at least!) of corruption.
RootsAction and Progressive Hub will be following this race closely, and will be sending a team to cover the election in November.]
– Progressive Hub

The state of the lawsuits, a Brown campaign commercial

Yesterday, the state’s court of appeals issued a stay on New York State Supreme Court Justice Paul Wojtazsek’s order, handed down last Friday, instructing the Erie County Board of Elections to put Byron Brown’s name on the Nov. 2 ballot as the “Buffalo Party” candidate for mayor of Buffalo.

Lawyers for Brown’s and Walton’s campaigns will argue the matter before the state’s Fourth Department Appellate Division next Thursday, Sep. 16 — one day before the elections board must mail out finalized ballots to military voters, by federal mandate.

Board of Elections to appeal federal court ruling

The Erie County Board of Elections will appeal a federal judge’s order instructing the board to put Byron Brown’s name on the Nov. 2 ballot on a newly created “Buffalo Party” line.

The board will not appeal a state judge’s affirmation of the federal judge’s ruling. Both decisions were handed down Friday.

Judge Sinatra’s conflicts

On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge John L. Sinatra, Jr. ordered the Erie County Board of Elections to put Byron’s Brown’s name on the Nov. 2 ballot as a candidate for Buffalo mayor.

That’s bad news for India Walton, who beat Brown in the June Democratic primary. On Friday afternoon, Walton called Sinatra’s decision “a travesty and a mockery of justice.”

It’s good news for the judge’s brother, real estate investor and developer Nick Sinatra, the Republican developer who has been a political patron of the mayor for more than a decade.

Walton complained that Judge Sinatra should have recused himself, due to his brother’s support for and close working relationship with the Brown administration.

Indeed, Nick Sinatra and his companies have donated at least $11,755 to Brown’s campaigns, most recently $1,000 on June 7, according to state records.