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Crime

Mayor Lovely Warren's husband pleads not guilty to drug and weapons charges

Timothy Granison, left, with head covered, leaves the Monroe County Jail after his arraignment.
Timothy Granison, left, with head covered, leaves the Monroe County Jail after his arraignment.
Timothy Granison, left, with head covered, leaves the Monroe County Jail after his arraignment.
Credit Max Schulte / WXXI
Timothy Granison, left, with head covered, leaves the Monroe County Jail after his arraignment.

Timothy Granison, the husband of Mayor Lovely Warren, was allegedly part of what prosecutors called a "mid-level" drug ring that they said peddled powdered and crack cocaine in and around Rochester.

Granison, 42, was arrested and charged Wednesday with two counts of felony criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, including the intent to sell, and felony criminal possession of a firearm.

He was one of seven people charged in what law enforcement officials described Thursday as an extensive sting that was seven months in the making and involved wiretaps, including on the Woodman Park home that Granison shares with Warren and their daughter.

Granison pleaded not guilty to the charges Thursday in Rochester City Court and was released on his own recognizance. The other defendants were to be arraigned later in the day.

https://youtu.be/m_TL6gIPxl8

Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley, who addressed reporters with representatives from the State Police at her offices following Granison's arraignment, would neither confirm nor deny whether the mayor knew of or was involved in the alleged drug ring.

"We're not done charging yet," Doorley said, who described the probe as involving her office, the State Police, and the Rochester Police Department. "We're not done with this investigation."

Granison appeared in court via video conference from the Monroe County Jail, where he had been held in custody since being apprehended on Wednesday around 4:20 p.m. during a traffic stop.

Timothy Granison, lower inset, appeared for his arraignment virtually from the Monroe County Jail.
Credit Pool photo/Democrat and Chronicle
Timothy Granison, lower inset, appeared for his arraignment virtually from the Monroe County Jail.

State Police Major Barry Chase said Granison was pulled over on suspicion that he had drugs and weapons and that officers found 31 grams of cocaine in his car.

Law enforcement officials said the entire sting yielded two kilograms of powdered and crack cocaine — roughly four-and-a-half pounds — with a street value of $60,000, and three firearms, and more than $100,000 in cash.

"I think it's very significant," Doorley said. "We would deem this to be mid-level suppliers and if you think about the amount of cocaine that we were able to seize . . . that's significant."

Shortly after Granison's arrest on Wednesday, State Police conducted a raid on his home and six other properties, including one on Frost Avenue owned by his brother, Kevin Granison.

State Police at the Woodman Park home of Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren early Wednesday evening.
Credit Max Schulte/WXXI News
State Police at the Woodman Park home of Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren early Wednesday evening.

Police said they found a handgun and semi-automatic rifle at the house on Woodman Park, where they described Granison's and Warren's daughter being home alone.

Chase said police took Granison home after his arrest and allowed him to enter his house to call his daughter outside before executing their search.

Granison was scheduled to appear in court again on June 21, a day before the June primary elections in which Warren is facing a challenge for the Democratic ticket from City Council member Malik Evans.

STUNNING TURN OF EVENTS

The raid of her home and the charges brought against her husband were a stunning turn of events for Warren, who is seeking a third term amid being under indictment for alleged campaign finance fraud and grappling with fallout from her administration's handling of the death of Daniel Prude.

A mayoral spokesperson issued a statement late Wednesday as the search of Warren's home was concluding saying that the mayor was just learning about the raid and that she was hoping to learn more details in the coming hours and would have something to say on the matter on Thursday.

Mayor Lovely Warren talks about plans to explore the possibility of using projected marijuana tax revenue to pay reparations to the city's Black and brown residents on Friday, March 26, 2021.
Credit Max Schulte / WXXI
Mayor Lovely Warren talks about plans to explore the possibility of using projected marijuana tax revenue to pay reparations to the city's Black and brown residents on Friday, March 26, 2021.

In her remarks to reporters, Doorley took pains to dismiss any suggestion that the raid on Warren's home and the arrest of her husband were motivated by politics. She explained that Granison only became a suspect at some point into the seven-month probe.

“I'm sure there are going to be people out there who think that this is politically motivated. It was not," Doorley said. "Timothy Granison was not the original target of this wire investigation.

"Approximately seven months I met with members of law enforcement, we had a target, we began to go up on phones, as we do with a wiretap investigations," she went on. "During the course of the investigation, Timothy Granison became apparent to us as being a plyer in this narcotics ring, and it was at this point that we followed the evidence. Simple as that.”

Monroe County District Attorney and State Police Major Barry Chase describe the charges brought against Timothy Granison and others on May 20, 2021.
Credit Gino Fanelli / CITY
Monroe County District Attorney and State Police Major Barry Chase describe the charges brought against Timothy Granison and others on May 20, 2021.

The six other people arrested in addition to Granison were: Namon Brown, Dkeidron Dublin, Ernest Gamble, Lytrice Jackson, Jason Siplin, and Jason Siplin Jr.  Police said the bulk of the cocaine seized in the raids was found in the possession of the elder and younger Siplins. 

NEW ARRANGEMENTS FOR ARRAIGNMENT

Granison was arraigned before Canandaigua City Court Judge Jacqueline Sisson, who was assigned to handle the case to avoid a potential conflict of interest. He had been scheduled to be arraigned before Rochester City Court Judge Melissa Barrett, whom Warren appointed to the bench in 2018 to fill a vacancy left by the departure of Leticia Astacio.

At the arraignment, the prosecuting attorney, Greg Park, indicated that the Monroe County District Attorney's Office intended to present the case to a grand jury.

John DeMarco, the defense attorney for Timothy Granison, speaks to reporters outside Rochester City Court after Granison's arraignment on May 20.
Credit Max Schulte/WXXI News
John DeMarco, the defense attorney for Timothy Granison, speaks to reporters outside Rochester City Court after Granison's arraignment on May 20.

Granison's defense attorney, John DeMarco, said his client would be prepared to testify at that proceeding, which is confidential, as are all grand jury proceedings.

Granison has a criminal past, something that the mayor has been open about during her years in politics and has used to illustrate how people can find redemption and a second chance in life.

He pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery in 1997 and was sentenced to five years of probation for his role in a gun-point robbery of The Source jewelry store in Rochester on West Ridge Road in March of that year.

Granison was 18 at the time and resided then at 287 Frost Ave., which is the home of his brother and one of the properties targeted in the raids Wednesday.

He was caught driving the getaway car carrying two accomplices in the robbery who were said to have "terrorized customers" inside the jewelry store. His accomplices were sentenced up to 15 years and 25 years in prison.

Here is video of the entire arraignment proceeding in court Thursday:

https://youtu.be/-KY8favnwZc

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EARLIER STORY:

State Police conducted a criminal investigation Wednesday evening at the home of Mayor Lovely Warren.

Troopers cordoned off the house at 93 Woodman Park, where Warren resides with her husband, Timothy Granison, and their daughter, around 4:30 p.m. and rerouted motor vehicle traffic for more than two hours before removing the tape shortly before 7 p.m..

Major Barry Chase addressed reporters at the scene as the tape came down.

"We're conducting a criminal investigation at 93 Woodman Park in the city of Rochester," Chase said. "I will confirm that it is the residence of city of Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and it's an ongoing investigation. We'll have more for you as soon as we can."

During the investigation, state troopers could be seen removing items from her home, specifically a blue plastic container and several black bags.

Justin Roj, the mayor's spokesperson, released a brief statement at 6:55 p.m. that read: "The mayor is just learning about the events that unfolded this afternoon and has no more information than the rest of the community. She hopes to learn more details this evening and will have a statement tomorrow.”

NYS Troopers outside the home of Mayor Lovely Warren on Wednesday evening.
Credit Max Schulte/WXXI News
NYS Troopers outside the home of Mayor Lovely Warren on Wednesday evening.

Warren is in the midst of running for a third term in office and is facing a challenge from City Councilmember Malik Evans for the Democratic ticket in the primary elections scheduled for June 22.

She is currently under indictment on felony campaign fraud charges. That case is pending in state court. The Associated Press reported that a representative for the Monroe County District Attorney said Wednesday’s police activity at Warren's home was not connected to that case.

And the Democrat and Chronicle reported late Wednesday that the mayor's husband was the focus of the search, citing two, unnamed "high-level sources." 

Mel Brooks, a neighbor of Warren's on Woodman Park, expressed shock and sadness as the events unfolded and suggested that her husband was the target of the investigation.

"I kind of wish it wasn’t the mayor’s house," Brooks said. "The things that have been going on and with her husband and whatnot being in trouble.”

Granison has a criminal past, something that the mayor has been open about during her years in politics and used to illustrate how people can find redemption and a second chance in life.

He pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery in 1997 and was sentenced to five years of probation for his role in a gun-point robbery of The Source jewelry store in Rochester on West Ridge Road in March of that year.

Granison was 18 at the time and was caught, along with two accomplices who were said to have "terrorized customers," as he was driving the getaway car. The accomplices, Joseph Cotrell and Zachary Holmes, were convicted and sentenced to up to 15 years in prison and 25 years in prison, respectively.

Warren had been scheduled to be interviewed by phone by CITY at 5:15 p.m. for an upcoming story on the mayoral race.

Her campaign manager, Wandah Gibbs, called the reporter a few minutes before the agreed upon time, informing him that she was working to get the mayor on the line.

The phone went dead, but Gibbs called back moments later and said something had come up and that she would try to reschedule

David Andreatta is Editor of CITY Magazine--with reporting from CITY’s Gino Fanelli.

This is a developing story. Check back for more information.

Copyright 2021 WXXI News

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