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I-Team: Despite stealing money from UB, former VP Black will keep state pension

Voters can change law in November
Posted at 5:25 PM, Sep 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-08 10:54:28-04

A membership to the Saturn Club.

Yankees tickets.

Broadway shows.

Longtime University at Buffalo vice president Dennis Black 's lavish lifestyle came at your expense.

“Money out of every taxpayer's pocket here in Western New York and across the state,” Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said.

Even if Black is sentenced to jail time in January, he will still receive his taxpayer-funded pension. That's because of a loophole in the law that State Sen. Chris Jacobs is hoping to close this November.

“What this will do is strip the pensions of politicians, elected officials, other government officials who commit felonies in New York State,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs hopes his bill will deter the next Albany politician -- or college administrator -- from robbing the public till.

“[They] may think twice if they're gonna lose that and it's a significant loss of a state pension they're going to receive if they had played by the rules and obeyed the law,” he said.

When Black resigned suddenly last year from UB, he was receiving a yearly salary of $280,000 -- in addition to the $320,000 he admitted to stealing from student accounts over a nine-year period.

According to the Empire Center for Public Policy, that means Black -- with nearly four decades in the system -- could collect a pension of more than $187,000 per year -- something that -- until a new law is passed -- cannot be taken away.

Jacobs said, “A lot of people think that's unfair. Taxpayers say, ‘Wait a second, we're not going to subsidize you if you're going to commit a crime like that.’”

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the amount of money Black stole from UB.