Joy of Gioia
has long been noted that once a certain level of wealth has
been attained, party affiliation becomes a tertiary concern
to cutting the kinds of deals that build dynasties. One such
local family dynasty, the Gioia family, was recently profiled by Buffalo News Ass-Kisser-in-Chief,
Tom Buckham. Buckham
has a long career of publishing flattering articles on Tony
Gioia, so much so that he would
probably be the number one candidate to write an authorized
biography, if indeed there was a market for such tripe.
any event, the article focused on how peculiar it is that
the family’s patriarch, Tony, is a staunch Republican while
his brother Robert is a Democrat. Until recently the senior
Gioia was a courtier of the current
president, while his brother Robert was closely allied with
former NY State Gov. Mario Cuomo, once upon a time. In fact,
the difference in party affiliations may have actually furthered
the political fortunes of the family in the long run.
poured money into construction at the Roswell Park campus,
but that investment came at the precise time that demands
for bed space plummeted. Cuomo’s investment in Roswell and
his appointment of Robert to the Board of Niagara Frontier
Transportation Authority signaled the beginning of the family’s
involvement in elite community institutions.
a brother who was a prominent Democrat may have actually helped
Tony Gioia pursue an agenda at Roswell
Park that ultimately leveraged political power at the expense
of the institution itself.
fund raising arm of Roswell, the Roswell Park Alliance, gave
Tony Gioia a vehicle for political
patronage and an entree into the boardroom leadership level
of health care. This catapulted him into the chairmanship
of Kaleida Health and set in motion
a privatization process of Roswell Park from which it will
probably never recover. Once the top cancer
research facility in North America, a recent study by U.S.
News & World Report had Roswell barely cracking the top
fifty. As half of all research programs at the facility
were being slashed, Tony Gioia had
the privilege of squiring George Bush Sr. around the campus
as part of a political fund raiser for Dubyah.
lounging around with other rich folk as George W. Bush’s Ambassador
to Malta, Tony and wife Donna are back in town and are apparently
looking for more trouble to get into. It looks like brother Robert has once again given him a head start: Robert
is part of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership’s consulting team
to the County Control Board, which despite promises of being
a “control board lite” is already looking into making major structural changes
to county government without waiting to be asked.
Gioia’s chairmanship of the new
Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. virtually guarantees cronies
on both sides of the aisle a piece of the action on the waterfront.
The most important people in our political process are not
elected officials, and as a rule are more concerned with building
business relationships that will benefit them, their family
members, and in the case of some political players like the
Gioias, their empires.
this country loses its skepticism over inherited wealth and
generational transfer of political power, it should come as
no surprise that communities such as Western New York are
in the process of abandoning the democratic process in favor
of “fiscal stability authorities” ruled by power barons and
1 -- Power? Authority?
Brief 2 -- "Swan" Song