BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Stunning allegations of fraud have been made against Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown’s Administration in a civil lawsuit that has been unsealed in federal court in Buffalo.
The allegations come from a former City Hall official.
For some context – this civil lawsuit was first filed in federal court in 2019, but it was sealed at the time. This lawsuit has now been unsealed.
And, court documents say the U.S Attorney’s Office has declined to intervene in this matter, but federal prosecutors will not say why. The lawsuit was filed two weeks after the FBI conducted a raid of City Hall.
Video of that raid back in 2019, shows FBI agents leaving City Hall with three large carts of material — agents were focused on Buffalo’s Office of Strategic Planning and the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency, which is involved in development projects across the city.
This civil lawsuit was filed by Nona Watson, a former executive director of BURA. She details there was an alleged “steering scheme” by Mayor Brown and Brendan Mehaffy, the executive director of Buffalo’s Office of Strategic Planning to get well-connected real estate developers city projects.
Here’s Mayor Brown’s brief response after Monday’s State of the City address.
“Ms. Watson’s civil case was voluntarily dismissed, you know, that says all you need to know about that issue,” Brown said.
Watson also says in her lawsuit against the city that she was retaliated against and fired for raising concerns about how federal money was used to cover city expenses, such as payroll, with no checks and balances.
Harvey Sanders, the attorney for the plaintiff has voluntarily dismissed this civil lawsuit. Watson’s attorney says Watson still stands by the accusations she made in the lawsuit, but could not afford financially to take on the city, after the U.S. Attorney’s Office said it would not intervene.
Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.