Democrat Mark Poloncarz's campaign for county executive Tuesday criticized Republican opponent Chris Collins for "lining his rich friends' pockets" after a Sunday story in The Buffalo News revealed a politically connected law firm collected more than $740,000 as counsel to the Erie County Industrial Development Agency while contributing more than $60,000 into Collins' campaign coffers.
“Chris Collins has used the ECIDA as his own political playground, allowing his wealthy friends to pay and play,” said campaign spokesman Peter Anderson. “The process by which Harris Beach was 'chosen' was shameful and disrespectful to the taxpayers of this county. His 'pay-to-play' ways don’t work for Erie County; the only people he's concerned about are himself and his big campaign donors.”
Anderson said Poloncarz has proposed consolidating all of the county IDAs into a "one-stop-shop" for economic development that would encourage development.
The Collins team last week said it sees no problem with the spike in IDA legal costs with Harris Beach.
"The county executive believes Harris Beach is a tremendous value, and we are pleased they are doing more work, because it's a sign that we are making real strides rebuilding the local economy," said Grant Loomis, a Collins spokesman.
— Robert J. McCarthy