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Press Pass: Millions spent on vacant property demos in Buffalo

Hannah Demolition, received many demo contracts in city
Photo from Google Map Street view
Hannah Demolition, received many demo contracts in city

The City of Buffalo has spent more than $73 million in the last 12-years to demolish 5,800  vacant buildings -- many were homes. 

The Buffalo News reveals details in a series of articles launched Sunday called  "The Wrecking Crews". 

WBFO & AM-970's Eileen Buckley sat down with Buffalo News reporter Dan Herbeck to discuss the findings in today's Press Pass interview.

"We think the readers of the Buffalo News should know how their tax dollars are being spent on this program," said Herbeck.

Herbeck said as he and his colleagues researched the number of homes demolished in the city in more than a decade they found millions of dollars has landed in the pockets of demolition contractors---one in fact--that has a shady past.

Monday's Buffalo News article profiles one contractor -- Albert Steele--his company, Hannah Demolition, has received a bulk of city business.

"If you ride through a lot of the neighborhoods on the East Side of Buffalo you will see house after house marked for demolition," said Herbeck.

Mayor Brown did not participate in interviews for the Buffalo News series. But WBFO & AM-970 News asked him for his reaction to the findings.  

Brown defended the city's demolition program calling it a success.

"Unfortunately demolition of vacant properties that was unsalvageable was necessary," said Mayor Brown.  "They depress the values of other properties in those neighborhoods."