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ArrowBig Baby Brown
Buffalo Mayor Tramples BEAST Publisher

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Big Baby Brown
Buffalo Mayor Tramples BEAST Publisher

We’ve been sitting on this story for a while, but now that it’s broken, we can tell it.

BEAST readers will remember the great Ottawa/Buffalo Mayoral prank story we ran during the NHL playoffs (A Prank of Two Cities,” issue #99). We called Buffalo mayor Byron Brown pretending to be Ottawa mayor Bob Chiarelli and proposed a wife swap bet on the Sabres/Senators series. The mayor let his wife handle the question. We subsequently called Chiarelli as Brown and offered to have the Sabres take a dive if Chiarelli could convince Dell Computers to send some tech jobs to Buffalo. Chiarelli went for the deal. All in all, it’s the freshly dethroned Ottawa mayor who came out badly in the end, having seemed to seriously commit to an astonishingly illegal international sports-rigging bribe. By contrast, Brown just seemed a hapless straight-man.

But it turns out our mayor is not hapless so much as he is vindictive and small. Two weeks and two days after “Prank of Two Cities” hit the racks, Corporation Counsel Alisa Lukasiewicz wrote a letter of complaint to the State Attorney Grievance Committee, asking that they “investigate, review, and prosecute to the fullest extent of the Committee’s authority” attorney and BEAST publisher Paul Fallon. Lukasiewicz recommends suspension and disbarment for Fallon’s supporting role in the Chiarelli prank—posing as Deputy Mayor Steve Casey in a few conversations with Chiarelli’s staff—as well as for “condoning” and publishing the fiasco.

The Buffalo News went one better, claiming the grievance letter accuses Fallon of “masterminding” and “devising” the pranks (“Lawyer, publisher probed in fake calls,” 11/20/06). Actually, aside from his last-minute supporting role as Casey, Fallon wasn’t involved in the conception or execution of the prank. And as usual, Fallon read the finished product, along with everyone else, after the issue was printed.

City of Buffalo LetterOf course, this is political retribution at its most shameless. As Dave Staba wrote in the Niagara Falls Reporter this week (“City attorneys make their own rules,” 11/28/06), “[the ethics board] might want to ask Lukasiewicz why she's spending her well-compensated time—she makes a base salary of $86,145—on exacting what can only be described as political retribution by preparing and filing a complaint that benefits no one but the person who appointed her.” Staba goes on to say that, “If Brown felt he was truly wronged by the article, there are legal remedies available, which he's more than able to hire his own attorney to pursue.”

This is true, but even a sitzpinkler like Brown knows that he has no actionable case in a civil suit. He has sustained no real harm from the joke, nor has Fallon gained anything. His strategy is to attack Fallon in the arena where he has the most potential influence over the outcome. A gaggle of Albany lawyers would have a lot more to gain by pleasing a power player like Brown than a first amendment gadfly like Fallon. And disbarring Fallon, Brown surely hopes, would cut The BEAST’s revenue stream, perhaps fatally. But we can’t help but imagine that there’s a lot of poorly suppressed laughter is going on these days in New York’s Appellate Division when these people finally get around to reading Exhibit A.

Of course, we’re not impartial observers, but doesn’t this political thuggery indicate an obvious conflict of interest? Lukasiewicz works for the city—she’s not supposed to be the mayor’s rottweiler. How, exactly, does the city of Buffalo benefit from this? It doesn’t. As Staba says, the only person who could possibly benefit here is Byron Brown himself, and the benefit is the most petty, malicious, diaper-wetting revenge imaginable. He’s the Vladimir Putin of pussies.

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