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Brian Davis finally fesses up

Ineptitude in city government is a given. But corruption, in the form of an honest-to-goodness plea or conviction is rare, rare, rare in City Hall.

That makes Common Council Member Brian Davis' plea today to criminal charges that he pocketed campaign contributions and used them for personal purposes and then lied to the state Board of Elections about it particularly scandalous.

Brian davis I picked the brains of some old-timers and while mayors Steven Pankow and Chester Kowal were indicted in the 1950s and 1960s respectively, they were never convicted.

The no-show job scandal during the final term of Mayor Frank Sedita in the early 1970s did not result in legal action.

The Parks Department scandal in the late 1980s and early 1990s under Jimmy Griffin resulted in Parks Commissioner Bob Delano going to jail, and the mayor's brother Tommy served time for property tax fraud in Florida, but neither episode landed hizzoner in court.

So, it's been more than a half-century since an elected official in Buffalo has been guilty of a crime - in the eyes of the legal system, anyway. Think about that, given how screwed up City Hall has been for, well, forever, or at least since Grover Cleveland was in office?

The only thing I find surprising about Davis' fall from grace is how quickly it happened.

I reported in April that he was a deadbeat, followed up in May with a report that he had doctored his credentials, and BAM! -- six months later he's plead guilty to charges that are probably going to lead to his removal from office.

Suffice to say, District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III didn't waste time.

Although Davis took a deep breath today and pleaded guilty, it doesn't mean his legal troubles are necessarily over.

He's also still got the FBI sniffing around the One Sunset scandal, in which he played a role, first helping to secure city funding for the project and later writing a check to cover the rent Brian Davis that bounced.

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City Hall | One Sunset
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