BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — There will be no Erie County Board of Ethics investigation into a $60,000 grant awarded to the Italian Cultural Center.
Last month, News 4 reached out to Erie County about a complaint we received. The complaint pertains to a potential conflict of interest, saying County Executive Mark Poloncarz provided the grant to the cultural center last year while in a relationship with its executive director.
Poloncarz’s press secretary, Peter Anderson, responded with the following:
“The Italian Cultural Center of Buffalo is a well-established nonprofit that has won awards for its cultural programming and is a Western New York institution. The truth is that Democrats and Republicans came together twice to approve the capital funding in question. First, the bipartisan Capital Projects Committee unanimously approved funding to 36 arts and cultural organizations – including the Italian Cultural Center, which was among the smaller awards made. Next, the legislature unanimously approved awarded contracts to these organizations. Erie County’s ethics laws in no way require elected officials to disclose who they are dating but rather are focused on ensuring officials cannot enrich themselves via the use of public funds. What took place was a personal matter and will not distract Mark from continuing to grow Erie County’s economy, cut property taxes even further, and ensure vital services are there for our residents.”Peter Anderson
The Board of Ethics says its following its attorney’s advice in not investigating the matter, citing county ethics laws that involve spouses and families, instead of girlfriends.