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Worst Kept Secret

All political operatives are assholes, but it’s still fun when one of them proves it.

After Kevin Helfer’s failed bid to become Buffalo’s next mayor, his campaign wanted to show some of its most important backers that their support was appreciated. So Helfer’s campaign manager, Chris Grant, sent out the following email:

Sent: Thu Nov 17 14:56:27 2005

Subject: Night Out

Hey everyone:

Tomorrow night, Kevin would all of us like to meet up at Colter Bay at 5:00 for drinks and cocktails. Stay as long as you like.

If you see someone not on this list that we may have forgotten from the campaign, please forward this onto them. We would like to have as much of the team as possible there.

Looking forward to seeing everyone there.

Chris Grant

This email was sent to Helfer supporters such as Carl Paladino, Chris Jacobs, Dennis Ryan, Steve Calvaneso and a number of others, many of whom had recently contributed significant sums of money after being convinced that the race was close.

One of the recipients of the email replied with this: “Only if Marty isn’t invited!!!!!!”

That’s six exclamation points! What could cause one to resort to such maniacal emphasis? “Marty” is the Helfer campaign’s political strategist Martin Cusack. Marty is the husband of soon-to-be-former county legislator Elise Cusack and a long time Republican political consultant. His most prominent political role of late has been footman to fearsome Congressman Tom Reynolds. Reynolds is the quietly evil local politician who wins the prize for having his nose farthest up the Bush/Cheney/Delay syndicate’s ass.

So why would a Helfer supporter want to disinvite Marty from the post-game commiseration? It appears that at least one person on the list suspected that Marty’s case for the race being close was based on faulty intelligence. Apparently it Cusack who convinced Helfer supporters to part with their money even in light of the Zogby polls predicting a Brown landslide victory.

A week after the first Zogby poll came out saying Bryon Brown had a 40-point lead, the Buffalo News ran a piece by Bob McCarthy on October 30, 2005 titled “Helfer may be down but he’s not out.” In it, he says the Helfer “campaign is now contacting key members of the community to dispute The News poll. It claims Helfer trails by only 13 percent, that the city’s white vote is statistically tied, and that he leads in several Council districts. Those are the kinds of things politicians say late in a campaign when unfavorable poll numbers dry up fund-raising.” We’re told that the “polls are wrong drive” was spearheaded by Marty Cusack and he was able to keep the funding coming in as McCarthy reports in the same article. “Now Helfer is back. He’s got some fresh coin to fuel his new ads. He’s had new exposure on two televised debates and received a big boost from the Buffalo Niagara Partnership’s endorsement on Wednesday. That, say business sources, will result not only in a one-day news story, but more campaign dollars, too.”

A week later the second Zogby poll came out and it still had Helfer down by 40 points. The News’ McCarthy did another story on November 6th titled “Mayor’s race a potential ‘blowout’; Brown holds a wide lead in latest poll and Helfer camp calls race ‘dead even,’ but voter turnout may be a key factor.” The story is basically McCarthy quoting Cusack making the case for a close race. As it turned out Zogby was right and Cusack was full of shit. But it’s politics and they’re all full of shit. Marty was just doing his job and Helfer supported Cusack being invited to the party with this email:

Subject: RE: Night Out

Sent: Friday, November 18, 2005 12:03 PM

Come on, he got me within 40, didn’t he?

He deserves to be there.

I still feel like it’s dead even.

Kevin

That day, November 18, the Buffalo News had run a piece by Donn Esmonde, “Deft Hand on Data Wins Mayoral Race.” Esmonde told the story of Byron Brown’s campaign strategist Steve Casey and the extraordinary job he did for the Brown Campaign. Maybe that’s what caused Marty Cusack to send the following email to the group of Helfer supporters:

Subject: RE: Night Out

Sent: Friday, November 18, 2005 2:37 PM

Utilizing my sophisticated Bar Coding (John & Dennis - this not a bar in south buffalo) I knew we were 40 points down well before Steve Casey did.

However, I still had the money people believing we were dead-even.

So the drinks are on the campaign.
Marty

Oh no you didn’t, Marty. It’s one thing to vigorously make your campaign’s case, but to tell supporters they were conned? To brag about it? That makes you a class A dickhead and a very poor strategist. Good luck getting another job around here. We hear that some of Helfer’s supporters are considering suing Cusack for deliberately defrauding them. When is that Cellino guy due back again?


Joltin’ Joel

Curiously, The Buffalo News’ political reporter Bob McCarthy did his shameful best to breathe some life into the desiccated corpse that lately passes for Joel Giambra’s political career this past Sunday. In a piece entitled “Giambra on the Road to Resurrection,” the News’ political hack waxed nostalgic about Giambra as a once “brash young pol,” barnstorming around Erie County, spreading his political message of “regionalism and other topics.” McCarthy lionized Giambra for standing apart from partisan politics (especially now that he has been officially excommunicated by the Republicans) and went as far as to say that Joel was now advocating “a national health care plan similar to Canada’s.” McCarthy seems to be applauding a politician willing to stand up to the two-party system. This is odd, given that it is the two-party chokehold on politics that elevated a craven thief like Giambra, and that the same vile organism feeds parasites like McCarthy.

What on earth is McCarthy trying to prove with this saccharine homage? We think it’s a setup. Spineless worshipers of the political status quo like McCarthy love a good corruption story. This is especially true when it’s about kicking an outsider, somebody who isn’t part of the club anymore. Problem is, nobody gives a shit about Giambra, and what fun is it to kick this man when he’s down?

Remember the county furniture scandal? McCarthy has probably been tipped off that the feds aren’t done with old Joel and his pals. It appears there could be a federal grand jury considering evidence that the US Department of Justice and the FBI have been accumulating on this score. Word has it that the FBI recently subpoenaed records from Niagara County regarding their furniture purchases from the same company at the heart of the Erie County scandal, Jim Spano’s Buffalo Office Interiors. Let’s see, Niagara County paid $1,000 for the same desk that cost Erie County $2,500 from the same company. The bright side for McCarthy is that when Giambra is indicted and the scandal is big news, it will be the independent, quasi-socialist Giambra, not the Republican raider Giambra, who will be burned at the stake in the Buffalo News. With cover like that for the local GOP, it won’t be long before we’re hearing about a sex scandal involving Giambra. After all, the News has been alternately sodomizing and fellating him for years.

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

   
 

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