When the Pigeons Come Home To Roost

Rochester, NY July 10th, 2016- Buffalo political operative Steve Pigeon has problems.

He’s been indicted on bribery and corruption charges for suspicion of underhanded political activities, backdoor dealing and peddling influence.

But really, who cares? After all, Buffalo’s political wrangling makes Rochester’s squabbles look like a kid’s sandbox spats.

Well we should care -- because, as North Coast has discovered, the Pigeon’s talons are deep into Rochester’s political elite. And, it starts, apparently with Mayor Lovely Warren.

Research shows that his connections go back a long way – to before Warren was elected Mayor. According to a report in the Buffalo News:

“Pigeon helped raise money for Lovely Warren, the Rochester City Council president on her way to becoming mayor of the Flower City. He helped Warren’s primary campaign and hosted [an October 31, 2013] fundraiser for her at Chef’s Restaurant that was slated to attract Mayor Byron Brown, Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes and other allies.”

As my grandmother used to say, if you hang around with skunks long enough, you’re going to start to stink.

But Warren isn’t the only one who might get caught with her hand in the Pigeon’s cookie jar.

One of her top advisors, Arnold Rothschild of the Rochester Broadway Theatre League is also feeding at the Pigeon’s trough. During the years of Irondequoit’s Medley Center debacle, Rothschild was knee-deep in it all because of owner Scott Congel’s plan to give Rothschild a new theatre for free. And, it turns out that the chief political strategist for this bowl of scrambled eggs was … you guessed it, Steve Pigeon.

But there’s more. 

A few issues ago, North Coast reported on another scandal in town – this time involving COMIDA’s ethics investigator, Eugene Caccamise, former President of the Bricklayers Union. 

Caccamise, it seems – who was a major Warren donor as well – is under investigation by the FBI for possible improprieties in donations to … you guessed it again. Steve Pigeon.

Said Caccamise, “My guys needed work, and when I gave to Pigeon, they started working”. This donation -- $25,000.00, is being cited as an example of  “Pay to Play” corruption. 

Troubling – yes, it is, but even more troubling when you examine Caccamise’s donations to Warren. Questions are being raised about whether Warren, Caccamise and Rothschild are all closely tied to the noose that is tightening around Pigeon’s neck.

One thing is sure – the Pigeon’s troubles have all come home to roost. 

~ Sidney Reilly is a freelance writer who lives in Rochester. You can contact Mr. Reilly at sidneyreilly1917@gmail.com