BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A political consulting firm started by the former First Deputy Mayor of Buffalo, Steven Casey, has been ordered to pay $8,283.59 in restitution, a $400 assessment fee and a $69 fine.
Rodney Personius, the attorney for LSA Strategies, says the firm only has $69.01 in its bank account, meaning after paying the fine, the consulting agency would have just one cent to its name. In paperwork, Personius wrote the firm “will be defunct at the conclusion of this proceeding”.
According to the United States District Attorney’s Office, LSA admitted to committing wire fraud. They could have been fined up to $500,000, however sentencing guidelines called for a fine to range between $15,000 and $30,000.
Casey, who worked in Buffalo’s City Hall from 2006 to 2014, started the firm in 2012.
That year, prosecutors say LSA Strategies came up with a plan to defraud a candidate who was running for a New York State Senate seat in Buffalo. That candidate was Chuck Swanick, a former Erie County Legislator.
“I think it’s just a sad day for us in Western New York and in government and politics,” Swanick said after the sentencing.
According to court paperwork, Casey arranged for campaign mailings for Swanick’s campaign to be produced by a printing company in Western New York. Prosecutors say Casey, without informing Swanick, asked the company to increase each of its invoices and kick that money back to himself and LSA.
“Casey led (Swanick) to believe that he was working for (Swanick) on a voluntary basis,” prosecutors wrote.
U.S District Court Judge William Skretny, who issued the sentence on Wednesday morning, referred to the situation as a sad case.
“It gives politics, if you will, a black eye,” Skretny said.
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Chris Horvatits is an award-winning reporter who started working at WIVB in 2017. A Lancaster native, he came to Buffalo after working at stations in Rochester and Watertown. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.