Kern, earned the street name of "Cat Shit" after stalking a number of neighborhood cats and watching them defecate. He then dug up the fresh feces and saved it until he had enough to decorate the walls of the local neighborhood housing office. Although some believe that acts like these are a bit extreme it does provide entertainment for those into scatological humor.
The Buffalo News, in a copyrighted article by James Heaney, appearing in the Sunday September 28th edition, reported that a Freedom of Information request (FOIA) was filed by The News. This publication, ALT, over the years has filed FOIA's requesting the release of similar information from the local U.S. Housing and Urban Development Office (HUD) only to be stonewalled by the local representatives. Steven T. Banko III, a longtime player on the political scene and former water boy to "Two Tall Tony" Masiello, graduated to the position of Field Office Director for the local HUD office after resigning from his position as chief apologist for Masiello in City Hall.
BMHA has a long and varied history of political cronyism crossing both sides of the political aisle. Clever accounting methods by present and past directors of BMHA may have served for the models for Enron, Tyco, World Com and a host of other corporate giants including their auditing firms. Jack Kemp and his American Enterprise Institute used HUD money to strengthen his political war chest and the lessons learned in that era were carried on with a vengeance.
It is disingenuous of Masiello to claim ignorance and for Banko to express surprise that the Great White Father in Washington has finally closed the tap for more funds for the BMHA and the City of Buffalo. Old audits of the BMHA books found discrepancies large enough for a company of Abrams Tanks to roll through with plenty of room to maneuver; but those reports were quickly filed in the circular filing cabinet under the see no evil label.
"Banko told Masiello that the city is doing a poor job managing the program and that required records are often incomplete or missing." Heaney also quotes Henry Taylor a UB professor and Director of Urban Studies "When you don't have somebody in charge, and when you don't have a strategy in place, this is what happens, 'he said of the city's housing program. "The buck stops at the person at the top. Tony is the mayor, and for whatever reason, these issues have never been addressed."
Mediocrity and ignorance serve as the excuses for this and past administrations in both the BMHA and the office of Mayor; however the true picture is one of malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance and borders on the criminal. Mr. Banko and Mayor Masiello should now demand that Sharon West, the Executive Director of BMHA and her director of Administration and Finance Cheryl MacMillan be removed from their positions and the Executive Board resign for failure to perform the functions of their office responsibly.
Maybe, just maybe the newly appointed control board will look at the real causes of our financial quagmire and demand that changes be made at the top before going after the unions and the little guys at the bottom of the pile. Yep! Dr. Taylor we agree that the "buck should stop at the person at the top. Tony is the mayor;" but being realistic we all know that "rolls downhill By Bill Logal
Richard Kern MSW, a controversial figure and long term critic of the City of Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority (BMHA) and the political structure of Buffalo City Hall, appears to have been correct in his allegations of mismanagement and fraud at this agency. Kern, formerly wrote for this publication (ALT), and though proclaiming himself a journalist is better known for being arrested after complaints from varied members of the Masiello administration.