Exclusive information: Investigation into money, politics and the 2017 race for mayor

December 07, 2018 09:37 AM

News10NBC is bringing you exclusive information in an investigation into money, politics and the 2017 campaign for mayor in Rochester. 

News10NBC confirmed that subpoenas are being delivered to multiple people this week. We are told the subpoenas concern money donated to and spent by committees set up for the re-election of Mayor Lovely Warren.


News10NBC received a statement from Warren Thursday evening. Read her full statement below.

"I have not received a subpoena. I have not been advised by the District Attorney of any Grand Jury Investigatory Proceedings, nor have I engaged in any wrongdoing. By law, all Grand Jury proceedings including investigations are private and held confidentially, so anyone discussing this matter publicly or with the media would be potentially violating the law. As an attorney and an Officer of the Court I respect that process and must also abide by it, so I will not speculate on any discussion surrounding a Grand Jury investigation - that conversation should most appropriately be directed to the District Attorney." 

News10NBC Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean spoke to the chair of the fundraising committee for Friends of Lovely Warren. That was the campaign re-election committee of the mayor. The chair's name is Tim Tompkins. He told News10NBC he got a subpoena Wednesday and it asked for records concerning campaign finance. 

"I'm going to turn over everything to the Honorable Sandra Doorley," Tompkins told News10NBC on the phone. 

Doorley is the Monroe County DA. 

News10NBC called Doorley multiple times Thursday but she never answered. 

But consider this.

Through the Freedom of Information Law, News10NBC was able to get the Monroe County Petty Cash Account Transaction Slip from one of Doorley's investigators.

Dated March 21, 2018, the slip says the investigator went to "Albany for investigative purposes."

News10NBC also got the district attorney's official calendar for August. On Aug. 14, it says "case discussions, 40 north Pearl Street, Suite 5." That is the address of the New York State Board of Elections. 

That is where James Sheppard filed an official complaint in 2017 against the mayor about her campaign finances. Sheppard ran against the mayor and lost. 

News10NBC contacted the New York State Board of Elections on Thursday. It said it had no comment. 

News10NBC called the mayor's communications office starting at 10:46 a.m. Thursday. At 3:42 p.m., News10NBC emailed the mayor's spokespeople, James Smith and Jessica Alaimo, and asked for an official comment. 

News10NBC followed up with phone calls to Smith and Alaimo at 4:01 p.m., 5:32 p.m., 5:33 p.m., 5:49 p.m. and 5:50 p.m. Those calls were not answered. 

News10NBC also contacted Rachel Barnhart who ran against the mayor in 2017 and filed a complaint about campaign finances. 

In a statement, Barnhart said, "As I've repeatedly said over the past year and a half, this conduct appears to be an unprecedented violation of New York's election laws. It doesn't matter if this alleged conduct impacted the outcome of the election. What matters is the integrity of our democracy."

News10NBC went through the list of big donors to the mayor's re-election committee Friends of Lovely Warren and a political action committee called Warren for a Stronger Rochester.

They either didn't take our call, said they didn't get a subpoena or said "no comment."

News10NBC called the top campaign people for the mayor's re-election. We reached the mayor's former campaign treasurer, Albert Jones. He said he was aware of subpoenas going around but said he had not received one. 

What happens next? That's a question we'll be working on, and we will let you know what answers we find. 


Berkeley Brean

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