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Mayor Brown comments on FBI raid at City Hall

Mayor: "I haven't been contacted"
Posted at 5:35 PM, Nov 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-07 17:57:25-05

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — One day after a big raid at City Hall Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown is speaking. Mayor Brown met one-on-one with 7 Eyewitness News senior reporter Eileen Buckley about his reaction to the raid and how much he knows about the federal investigation.

More than 24-hours after federal agencies hauled away boxes of material from Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency (BURA) Mayor Brown took some questions, but said he was only knew search warrants were executed Wednesday.

Mayor Byron Brown offers comment on FBI raid at Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency.

"That’s all I know. I haven’t been contacted about the execution of these search warrants and have not been given any additional information about this investigation," Mayor Brown said. "It is my understanding that employees in that office were very cooperative and that information was taken."

The FBI, HUD, the Office of Inspector General and IRS conducted a “court authorized” Wednesday inside City Hall.

“How concerned are you that this is some kind of a financial indiscretion?” asked Buckley. “We will let the investigation proceed. We will see what the information is that is produced,” responded Mayor Brown.

“Have you been subpoenaed? “questioned Buckley. “I have not been requested to provide any information. No one has met with me on this topic. No one has reached out to me to have any discussion on this topic,” replied Brown.

The more than eight-hour raid Wednesday at Buffalo Urban Renewal agency, known as BURA, is chaired by the mayor and works directly with the office of strategic planning.

A City Hall source tells 7 Eyewitness News federal authorities started out Wednesday morning at the home of Brendan Mehaffy, the mayor's executive director of the office of strategic planning. But neither investigators nor the city is confirming that information.

“The work he does, he does with great integrity and professionalism and I would not have any concerns with about any conversations he is having with anyone,” remarked Brown.

“And have you spoken with him since this raid occurred?” Buckley asked. “I have spoken with him – yes,” responded Brown. “And anything you can tell us about the conversations?” Buckley followed up. :No conversation about this – um, talking of information - the execution of search warrant,” Brown replied. “Obviously there are a lot business and development matters discussed every day in this building every day and that was the nature of our discussion."

BURA receives about $19-million each year in from the federal government in anti-poverty funds. The federal money is used toward housing and community development. The Housing Division also receives federal dollars for housing rehab.

Federal authorities will not say what they are investigating or who might be a target in their probe.