Buffalo BEAST - Buffalo's New Best Fiend
March 23-April 6, 2005 Issue #71
 Now in a Persistent Vegetative State
50 Most Loathsome People of 2004
The Controversial Article Everyone's Talking About
Tom Cruise Strikes Back
Revenge of the Nerd
MINIMALLY CONSCIOUS Facts are Bit Players in Schiavo Saga
by Allan Uthman
Democrats Prepare to Assume the Position
by Matt Taibbi
by BuffaloPundit
by Matt Taibbi
by Johnathan Matthews
by Dr. I.M. Simpering
Ten Commandments are Law, Arrest Warrants Issued
Metal Detector Fails To Stop School Shooting; Schools Consider Larger Detectors
by Josh Righter
BEAST Home Page
Buffalo in Briefs
Separated At Birth
Straight Dope
Kino Corner
Book Review
[SIC] - Your Letters
Ross & Steve's Bogus Journey
An honest person cannot look anywhere without seeing Baldy and Douchebag's faces plastered on every phone book, billboard, television and metro bus, or that damn radio commercial we can't get out of our head. You wake up in the middle of the night with that goddamn phone number going round and round... Really, we're almost psychotic in our hatred for these ambulance-chasing bottom-feeders, but there's good news coming down the pike: Seems these two have pissed off just about everyone in the legal community, by repeatedly stealing clients and steering them to usurious loansharks who charge up to 30%, advancing cash before their cases are even heard. State Supreme Court judges of the Appellate Division in Rochester are debating the case and it looks like the city's two most embarrassing lawyers will be disbarred. It's the sane thing to do. Then we can all take to the streets and tear down the billboards so we can see the sky instead of giant lawyer-heads everywhere, and then it's off to find Mesothelioma crusader James Sokolove.

Coffee and Jail

Back in issue #61, we ran a piece about Lon Coldiron, 38, owner of the short-lived "Coffee &" near the corner of Elmwood and Breckenridge, which mysteriously burned to the ground last October. Okay, well, it wasn't really mysterious at all, not according to arson investigators who say Coldiron set two fires on the first floor and waited on the roof to be rescued in the early morning hours of October 21. At the time, Coldiron claimed an unknown man had been calling the shop saying he was going to burn it to the ground, a really good story nobody believed. It was the worst arson job we've ever even heard of, much less witnessed, and the best part is the fact that Coldiron took out three insurance policies on the place just weeks before (allegedly) doing the dirty deed. One of his dogs died in the fire, so along with arson we hope there's an animal cruelty charge. On the bright side, "Coldiron" is a great name for a convict. Spot Coffee could not be reached for comment, but you can assume they're still happy about the new parking lot down the street.
Batting a Thousand
Hats off to 42-year-old Cretia Adams, a Johnson Avenue woman and local entrepreneur whose house was raided two days in a row for drugs. Narcotics detectives took notice of the crack den after spotting a sophisticated surveillance system which allowed the gang to cook rocks while keeping an eye on the street. After the first arrest, Adams posted bail and predictably went right back to the kitchen. The second raid netted half an ounce of crack and drug paraphernalia. Guess you really can't teach an old dog new tricks, but we admire the lady's dedication to her profession.

Pork Sandwich

County Legislature Chairman George Holt, Jr., is having an extremely bad week. The guy is getting mired in scandal so fast that it's tough to keep up.

First, he thought he could slip a $3 million no-bid contract to an inmate-monitoring firm from the backwaters of Louisiana into the mess of a budget that got passed at two minutes to midnight on December 8.

You can find the details on that-scandal number one-in another article in this very issue. Now onto scandals number two and three (voter outrages to run concurrently): So Holt gives $150,000 to Group Ministries on Jefferson Avenue. Then Group Ministries turns around and gives $50,000 to All Pro Hoops. All Pro Hoops is run by Holt's son, Lamar. He's a math teacher from Sugar Land, Texas, but he comes up to sunny Buffalo once a year to put on the All Pro Hoops Camp, a one day affair where kids, for a $170 a pop, get to meet unknown players and coaches. Then Lamar cashes the check and high tails it back to Texas and his teaching job. That's your tax dollars at work. This kind of "pass-through" spending, essentially charity money-laundering, is business as usual in local politics, promises to the contrary notwithstanding. Boys and Girls club has been used the same way, and also to give money to All Pro Hoops. Swanick and Giambra have thrown some of their pork into the basketball camp as well, and judging by Barry Weinstein's press release from last June, "Weinstein Announces All-Pro Hoops Scholarships," he's involved, too.

So you've got pork, you've got patronage, you've got nepotism. But it gets worse: Texas-based All-Pro Hoops lost its charter to do business in Texas because it didn't pay its taxes-in 2003. but for two years, it hasn't bothered the county hogs one bit. Similarly, the senior Holt hasn't paid the sales tax bill for his restaurant, Mattie's Texas Hots, since 2003 (scandal nuber three). This from one of the guys who was pushing the sales tax increase a month ago. Now Holt, the latest county crook under siege, is blaming the negative press on racism and painting himself as the victim, thus answering the question on everyone's lips: does the guy have any shame?

Giambra Denies Bass Pro Allegations
Rumors Called "Ridiculous"

County Executive Joel Giambra's recent and controversial Florida vacation was not paid for by Bass Pro, according to his press secretary.

In response to questions about the unattributed allegations, Giambra's press secretary, Jeffrey Hammond, flatly denied the rumor that the outdoor store, which is slated to open a new location in downtown Buffalo as part of a revitalization project involving at least $66 million, paid for Giambra's travel, hotel, and other expenses while vacationing in Orlando, calling the accusation "ridiculous."

Some critics of Giambra, who has sunk to a new low in polls during Erie County's current budget crisis, remain unconvinced.

Compounding such skepticism is Giambra's apparently coincidental change of heart on the Bass Pro project immediately following his Florida trip.

Prior to his vacation, Giambra was seen as a possible roadblock to the Bass Pro deal. A Buffalo News report from February 17th, the day before he left for Florida, stated that "[Giambra] will not sign the memorandum of understanding to set the deal in motion until he knows how the county's financial condition will affect its ability to issue bonds to back the project."

However, despite the fact that the county's bond rating has decreased significantly, from "A+" to "A-" and now to "BBB," a post-vacation Giambra set aside his misgivings, citing "alternative financing strategies that will allow us to honor our commitment."

Buffalo Mayor Anthony Masiello, the driving political force behind the Bass Pro deal, first embraced the idea after a trip to Springfield, Missouri, orchestrated by Rich Products president Bob Rich, Jr.

Several calls over the last three weeks to Bass Pro's Florida headquarters about the allegations were not returned.

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