Accusations Fly: New York Democrats Under Fire for Lavish Football Suite


Allegations of Misuse of Government Positions for Personal Benefit

A formal complaint has been filed with the New York State Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government, alleging that Governor Kathy Hochul and other New York Democrats improperly used their government positions to secure access to a luxury suite at a Buffalo Bills game last season.

Exclusive Access to “I Love New York” Suite

Governor Hochul, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes were present in the “I Love New York” suite at Highmark Stadium on December 17, 2023. The suite, controlled by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESD), is typically used to promote New York’s economy.

Charitable Donations Claimed, but Concerns Remain

ESD has filed a report stating that charitable donations were made to offset the value of the seats in the suite. However, David Grandeu, the lawyer who filed the complaint, argues that this is a “thin veil” and that the suite was clearly used for personal use rather than to discuss official matters.

“Abuse of Power” Alleged

Grandeu’s complaint accuses the officials of “abus[ing] their power to generate a valuable perk for themselves and the lobbyists that accompanied that was not available to everyday New York citizens and taxpayers.”

Hochul’s Office Defends Actions

Governor Hochul’s office has defended her actions, stating that she followed all protocol and that personal funds were used to cover the cost of the tickets. Hochul’s spokesperson claimed that the suite was used for discussions on economic growth and infrastructure with members of the Amherst Chamber of Commerce.

ESD Confirms Lobbyist Presence

ESD has confirmed that Heastie’s office requested the use of the suite and that lobbyists were in attendance. The agency claims that guests were “notified of the rules regarding lobbyists’ attendance and public reporting requirements” ahead of the game.

Economic Discussions or Personal Enjoyment?

A.J. Baynes, CEO of the Amherst Chamber of Commerce, corroborated Hochul’s claim that there were serious discussions about infrastructure projects. However, Grandeu remains skeptical, arguing that the charitable donations point to a “personal favor” being granted.

Ethical Standards at Stake

The complaint raises questions about the ethical responsibilities of public officials and whether they should use their positions to secure perks for themselves or their associates. The outcome of the investigation will be closely watched, as it could have broader implications for the use of government resources.

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