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Former Public Works Commissioner Admits to Taking Vacations at Vendors' Expense

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – Retired Buffalo Public Works Commissioner Joseph Giambra admitted Thursday that he took vacations paid for by companies doing business with the city. He pleaded guilty to three counts of receiving unlawful gratuities.

Giambra retired in December after working for the city for more than 30 years. State Supreme Court Justice Penny Wolfgang said Giambra will likely be fined but not jailed when he's sentenced in September. His attorney, Rodney Personius, said the publicity surrounding the guilty plea is punishment enough.

Erie County District Attorney Frank Clark says Giambra was not the only target of the probe. He said the investigation is continuing.

Mayor Byron Brown released a statement that notes the illegal trips took place before he took office. He said ethics guidelines are now in place that would prevent such travel in the future.