Five years ago, Cleveland developer NRP Group sued Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown, claiming that the mayor pulled the plug on a $12 million dollar housing development because his friend wasn't given a job on the project.
That friend -- the Rev. Richard Stenhouse -- is an influential East Side minister who the mayor allegedly wanted to perform community outreach on the project.
“Make Stenhouse happy or the deal will not go through," Brown is alleged to have said to local attorney Steven Weiss, according to an affidavit filed recently in federal court in Buffalo.
Weiss’ affidavit goes on to say that the mayor told Weiss that he was "Sick of seeing those f------ white developers on the East Side with no black faces represented."
Brown has denied the allegations from the start.
His lawyers say he never signed off on the project because of public policy concerns -- that he didn't like the rent-to-own nature of the housing that NRP wanted to build in the Masten and Cold Springs neighborhoods.
"Nothing he [Weiss] said in the affidavit has any relevance to the basis for our motion for summary judgment," U.S. Attorney Michael Battle said by phone Thursday.
Stenhouse reached a settlement with NRP in 2012, but he has maintained that he never made any demands for special treatment.