Schneiderman discusses WNY corruption cases

In this June 10, 2009 file photo, Steven Pigeon walks in a hallway at the Capitol in Albany. The Democratic political operative from Buffalo has been charged as part of a corruption probe that has led to the resignation of a judge. 

BUFFALO — It's been more than two years since long-time Democratic political power broker G. Steven Pigeon pleaded guilty in federal court in Buffalo to a charge of conspiring to illegally soliciting a $25,000 campaign donation from a foreign source to a New York state official running for re-election.

The charge carries a maximum possible prison sentence of 5 years and a potential $250,000 fine. 

But after several adjournments of his sentencing date, Pigeon remains a free man. 

Why his sentencing has been delayed is a mystery. Multiple motions have been filed with U.S. District Court Judge Richard Arcara to postpone the proceedings, but all of those requests have been sealed from public view. 

Pigeon had originally been scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 25, 2019. But in filing a request to adjourn that sentencing date, just days before, Pigeon's defense attorney, Justin Ginter, asked Arcara to keep the reasons for the request secret because "the information set forth therein is subject to a protective order in the case that should not be made available to the public."

The requests for additional adjournments continued throughout 2019 and 2020. Pigeon is now scheduled to appear before Arcara for a status conference Jan. 27.

The former Erie County Democratic party chair admitted that while working as a political consultant and lobbyist he represented a foreign client, identified in court papers as Company A. Federal prosecutors said the CEO of Company A, identified in the court papers as  Person A, was a Canadian citizen.

In early 2014, despite knowing that it was illegal to make a foreign donation to a state political campaign, prosecutors charged that Pigeon solicited Person A to make a $25,000 donation to the reelection campaign of a New York state elected official.

The campaign declined to accept the illegal contribution, but prosecutors said Pigeon then arranged to have the contribution laundered by an American citizen. 

Pigeon has also still not been sentenced for his guilty plea to state criminal charges involving the bribery of a sitting state supreme court justice. The judge in that case also remains free after pleading guilty to state bribery charges.

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