Allegations of Corruption
The Buffalo News has reported that Brown may have interfered with a police investigation in 2007. The allegations stem from an incident in which it is alleged where Brown ordered police to free a possible friend of the mayor, Leonard Stokes, who had been arrested for possessing a stolen handicapped parking tag. The Buffalo News also reported another scandal involving Mr. Stokes, and Mayor Brown. The scandal involved a $160,000 loan given to Mr. Stokes from the City of Buffalo, to open a restaurant in Buffalo. Further controversy arose when it was discovered that Michelle Baron, VP of the city backed corporation which gave Mr. Stokes, who had no previous experience operating a restaurant, the loan, was involved in securing the loan with a faulty business plan. Evidence also points to Mayor Brown green lighting the loan.
In June 2009, Commissioner Tanya Perrin-Johnson wrote a series of e-mails that were sent to about 20 employees in her department directing them to work on the mayor's re-election campaign. The Office of Special Counsel has begun an investigation to determine whether the e-mails represent a violation of the federal Hatch Act, which, among other things, prohibits employees involved in federally funded programs from using their authority to influence political campaigns. As a result of the probe, the Common Council last year decided to delay her reappointment as commissioner until the investigation concluded. She had been serving in an interim capacity. On April 8, 2011, Commissioner Tanya Perrin-Johnson resigned her position.
A March 9, 2010 Buffalo News Article outlined Mayor Brown's political relationship with Rev. Richard Stenhouse . The article details the over $5 million dollars Rev. Stenhouse received to develop affordable housing on Buffalo's east side. The article goes on to suggest much of the money was wasted due to incompetence and inexperience. Rev. Stenhouse is the pastor for one of Buffalo's largest Congregations the Bethel AME Church, and an ally of Mayor Brown.