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Search warrants target key political organization

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Grassroots Buffalo.com
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A series of state and federal raids yesterday targeted the Grassroots political club and its founder, Maurice Garner. The group is best known for developing the careers of Mayor Byron Brown and State Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes.

While the FBI says it served sealed search warrants at three locations, including Garner's home, spokeswoman Maureen Dempsey says there will be no comment on the target of the searches or what was being looked for. Because there were other agencies involved,  the Internal Revenue Service, State Police and the state Attorney General's office, it's possibly something to do with the long-running investigation of long-time political operative Steve Pigeon, also the target of past warrant searches.

Mayor Brown's office released a statement in response to media inquiries:

"My focus continues to be serving all of the residents of Buffalo, as we continue to move our City forward and make progress. Earlier today, I learned about events that were occurring through news reports. I have no additional information, and I have followed a policy of not commenting on investigations. I refer those questions to the agencies conducting those investigations. My focus on serving our City remains my priority."

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.