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A former top aide to mayor pleads guilty to misusing federal funds for himself

A former top aide to Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown has been accused of misusing federal Housing and Urban Development funds for personal use. 

Timothy Wanamaker was the former executive director of the Office of Strategic Planning.  Wanamaker was also the former head of the Buffalo Economic Renaissance Corporation -- known as BERC.  

Wanamaker appeared in federal court Tuesday to accept a plea deal. 

U.S.Attorney William Hochul tells WBFO News Wanamaker  is charged with using a city credit card totaling $30,000 in  personal expenses.

"Mr. Wanamaker now admitted that he did in fact take money which was intended for the city of Buffalo for the use of economic development, what should have been used for those purposes and instead went to pay for personal expenses for himself and his family," said Hochul.

Wanamaker faces a maximum of up to 10 years in prison and will  sentenced  March 16, 2012.

"Unfortunately he cost the taxpayers quit a bit of money," said Hochul.  

Wanamaker was first hired by former Mayor Masiello and continued to work for Brown. 

Wanamaker left City Hall in 2008 for a city manager position in Ingelwood, California.   

WBFO News requested a comment from Mayor Brown.  City spokesman Mike DeGeorge issued a written statement:

"The city moved to dissolve BERC after irregularities were discovered.  Mr. Wanamaker is a former employee who served under two administrations and at this time, the city has no further comment."

U.S. Attorney Hochul said Wanamaker has agreed to cooperate with federal investigators as a probe will continue.

"There is still matters which will continue to be investigated, but I can't get into tremendous  details on those," said Hochul.