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Brown says he has no info on nature of federal BURA probe

Nick Lippa / WBFO News

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said he does not know much about a federal investigation that swept into City Hall Wednesday.

Agents spent the entire day probing city records and eventually left with three cartloads of papers hidden under a blue tarp. Most of the papers came from what's described as a Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency storeroom on City Hall's third floor.

"I haven't been given any information about the investigation or the nature of the investigation," Brown said. "No one has spoken to me directly about the investigation and I have not been provided any additional detail."

Speaking to reporters Thursday, Brown said he is not being told anything about what the FBI, HUD and the IRS were looking for in city records.

"I wasn't told anything by federal investigators," he said, "found out that there were search warrants executed in an office of the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency and wasn't given any other information about the nature of the investigation."

What did the warrant seek?

"I don't know that specificity. I don't have that information. It was not provided to me," Brown said.

What is the nature of the probe?

"No idea whatsoever. Haven't been given that information and haven't sought that information," Brown said.

Brown did say that BURA does a lot of good work providing housing in the city, especially 2,000 units of affordable housing, as well as housing for seniors. Most of the millions of dollars spent through the agency is federal.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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