JAMESTOWN – The City of Jamestown’s longtime mayor was politically connected to the firm representing the city and BPU in the annexation of a substation in the Town of Ellicott.
According to New York State Board of Elections Financial Disclosure reports, Bond, Schoenek & King PLLC donated a total of $1,500 to the “Friends of Sam Teresi” campaign in recent years.
In an interview with WNYNewsNow this week, Teresi said the donations did not influence the selection of council.
“I obviously don’t have my financial records in front of me, but Bond, Schoenek & King has done a lot of work for the city over the years, and their attorneys are personal supporters and friends of mine, and again, I don’t think that the amount was too high, or out of line, and quite frankly if the suggestion is that we are going to begin a process like this because of a hundred dollar campaign contribution it is pretty ridiculous,” said Teresi.
“I’m not sure I had a fundraiser in 2018,” said Teresi. “We will have to go back and check that.”
When asked if the mayor considered the donations to be ‘quid pro quo,’ he said absolutely not.
“No, not at all, absolutely not, if people are suggesting that a for a couple of five-hundred-dollar contributions somebody can be bought to initiate a process like this, it is pretty naïve and jaded on their part.”
The mayor said after the firm lost the first annexation attempt, officials decided to continue to retain Bond, Schoenek & King because it was easier and more cost effective.
“We are continuing to work with them moving down the road, as opposing to changing very expensive horses in the middle of the stream, and bringing out a new law firm that would have to go back to square one when Bond, Schoenek & King has already gone through this process with us and much of the work has been done by them on our behalf, and we won’t have to spend a heck of a lot more money to reinvent the wheel, so to speak,” said Teresi.
Teresi also explained that the majority of his campaign contributions over the years were in small increments from everyday people in the City of Jamestown.
At the start of 2019, the city’s and BPU’s legal fees from Bond, Schoenek & King exceeded $400,000 in the annexation case.