- Associated Press - Thursday, May 28, 2015

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Federal and state law enforcement officers executed search warrants Thursday at the homes of three New York political figures, including a former deputy mayor and a former county Democratic chairman.

The FBI confirmed that authorities searched addresses that public records show are occupied by former Erie County Democratic Chairman Steven Pigeon, former Deputy Buffalo Mayor Stephen Casey and Christopher Grant, chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Chris Collins.

A person briefed on the investigation says it is centered on campaign finances and expenses. The person, who declined to release details, spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly.

Agents from the FBI, New York State Police and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office carried several cardboard boxes out of Pigeon’s waterfront Buffalo condominium Thursday afternoon after spending several hours there. Simultaneous searches were conducted at Casey’s East Aurora home and Grant’s Akron address.

“A criminal search warrant was served on Mr. Pigeon’s premises,” Pigeon’s attorney, Kevin Burke, said in the building’s lobby as a state trooper kept reporters from his client’s 10th floor residence during the search. Pigeon led the Erie County Democratic party for seven years, until 2002, and has worked since as a consultant.

“There’s no merit to it,” Burke said of the investigation, “and he’ll be vindicated once the facts come out.”

Neither FBI spokeswoman Maureen Dempsey nor Schneiderman’s office would comment on the nature of the investigation or say what investigators were searching for at any of the three locations.

“Chris Grant will continue to voluntarily participate in the investigation and I expect a quick resolution to this inquiry,” Collins, a Republican who was the Erie County executive before being elected to Congress in 2012, said in a statement.

Casey resigned as first deputy to Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown in July 2014 to work for a development company. A telephone listing for him was not in service.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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