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Giambra Seeks Independent Counsel in Furniture Probe

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – Erie County Executive Joel Giambra says he's planning to ask the county attorney's office to hire outside counsel to pursue a court hearing in the office furniture controversy.

An audit by County Comptroller Nancy Naples found that the county was overcharged by $500,000 for furniture purchased from Buffalo Office Interiors. Giambra says if Naples does not seek outside counsel, he'll direct the county attorney to do so.

"I'm anxious to get this into the court process," Giambra said. "I think it's important that we have an impartial, unbiased tribunal looking at this case. Whatever decision they make, this administration will stand by it."

And he said that includes seeking repayment of the $500,000. Buffalo Office Interiors is owned by Giambra friend and financial supporter James Spano.

Giambra reiterated Monday that he does not believe the county was overcharged and that his administration followed county procedures in its purchase of furniture from the company.