November 15, 2018

City Denies Appeal for Information on Officials’ Outside Income

Author: Rachel Barnhart The City of Rochester denied our appeal for the sources of outside income for elected officials and the deputy mayor. The sources of income were redacted for many officials on the annual financial disclosure forms we obtained through open records. The city claimed revealing the sources of outside income would “constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” …

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November 9, 2018

Robach and Funke Have a Choice to Make

Author: Rachel Barnhart The Democrats now control the state senate, leaving Republican state senators in a tough spot. They won’t be at the table during the 2022 redistricting process, and some of them will inevitably be drawn out of office. The GOP drew favorable lines for their members in 2012, which resulted in Rochester, a heavily-Democratic city, being represented by …

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November 8, 2018

Greenlight’s Former Backers Included Well-Known Rochester Businessmen

Author: Rachel Barnhart Greenlight Networks announced in April that billionaire Thomas B. Golisano’s Grand Oaks LLC would acquire the company. Before the sale, Greenlight was secretly-backed by several high-profile Rochester businessman who sued to block the transaction. The ownership group included developer Robert C. Morgan, Conifer Development founder Richard Crossed, Genesee Regional Bank founder E. Phillip Saunders, Kenyon Capital Holdings …

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November 2, 2018

City Won’t Release Lake Ave. Appraisals

The City of Rochester has denied our open records requests for the appraisals of 1540 and 1560 Lake Avenue. City Council recently approved purchasing the property for $2.3 million to build a police station and neighborhood service center. Council legislation indicated the land was appraised for $1.5 million before cleanup of contaminants. The legislation also said it would be worth …

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October 31, 2018

City Heavily Redacts Financial Disclosure Forms

Author: Rachel Barnhart Six and a half months after they were due, the city has provided financial disclosure forms required of all elected officials, senior managers and board appointees. The city released the forms in response to Rochester for All’s Freedom of Information request. The forms contain information for the 2017 calendar year. The city redacted all information pertaining to …

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October 29, 2018

How RHA Keeps RHC Activities Secret: Denying FOILs

Author: Rachel Barnhart For the past year, Rochester for All has been filing open records requests with Rochester Housing Authority and Rochester Housing Charities seeking to gain access to their books and board minutes. Specifically, we wanted access to the payroll and all contracts. We began asking questions because an RHA employee gave us a copy of the Capital Connections …

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October 23, 2018

Web of Conflicts at Rochester Housing Authority

Author: Rachel Barnhart Update: An hour after we published this story, the U.S. Attorney revealed it had charged Moses with lying to the FBI. The case involves the very questions Rochester for All raised earlier this year. We still need to open the books on Rochester Housing Charities to know the full extent of how this entity was used. Our …

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October 23, 2018

New Location, More Questions

Author: Rachel Barnhart The city announced its long-planned theater project will move from Parcel 5 to the Riverside Hotel site. The hotel would be demolished. Moving the theater project down the street doesn’t answer questions about funding. In fact, the project has become bigger and more complicated. The mayor was unable to say how much the project will cost and …

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October 20, 2018

Taxpayers Funded Big Portion of Conifer’s New Digs

Author: Rachel Barnhart Local officials joined Conifer Realty in April 2015 to cut the ribbon on its new office space at Gleason Works on University Ave. No one knew just how much the city funded the project – until now. Through open records request, Rochester for All discovered the city gave Conifer a $250,000 loan-to-grant and $300,000 loan. The project …

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October 19, 2018

Council Approves $2.3M Lake Ave. Land Buy

Author: Rachel Barnhart City Council authorized the $2.3 million purchase of property on Lake Ave. and Ridge Rd. to be used for a police substation. Only Councilwoman Jackie Ortiz voted no at Tuesday’s meeting. Rochester for All raised questions about the appraisal and uncertain cleanup costs of the former Piehler Pontiac site. The three-acre property is assessed for $361,000. Kodak …

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