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Press Pass: Bringing transparency to state economic development

Prior to last week's indictments of some of the key players involved in state economic development projects, Charlotte Keith of Investigative Post had been reporting extensively on some of the questionable practices related to those projects. Keith shared her experiences with WBFO's Press Pass. 

It's easy to get lost when reviewing the levels of players who hold a role in state economic development projects. The Fort Schuyler and Fuller Road Management corporations act as real estate arms of SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and have helped to administer many of the state projects in Upstate New York. That would include the SolarCity plant in South Buffalo.

"It's kind of a curious situation where they are ostensibly private and have said they're private," Keith explained.

"For a long time (the corporations) held they didn't have to follow state transparency laws."  

That assertion made it difficult to review the bidding process that was handing out millions in state dollars. However, calls for greater transparency eventually produced results.

"Investigative Post and WGRZ filed a lawsuit against Fort Schuyler and then they sort of relented and starting posting stuff on their website," Keith explained.

"They've since been much more amenable to FOI (Freedom of Information) requests. But it kind of goes to the heart of this confusion over what their status is and what rules in particular they have to follow."   

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Jay joined Buffalo Toronto Public Media in 2008 and has been local host for NPR's "Morning Edition" ever since. In June, 2022, he was named one of the co-hosts of WBFO's "Buffalo, What's Next."

A graduate of St. Mary's of the Lake School, St. Francis High School and Buffalo State College, Jay has worked most of his professional career in Buffalo. Outside of public media, he continues in longstanding roles as the public address announcer for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League and as play-by-play voice of Canisius College basketball.