The Daniele Family Companies have published statements suggesting that opponents of the Whole Foods Project are connected to the bribery charges against Assemblyman Joseph Errigo. These claims are false, irresponsible, and offensive.
Neither Brighton Grassroots nor Howie Jacobson had anything to do with the U.S. Attorney’s allegations against Assemblyman Errigo. If the Daniele Family Companies had looked into the facts at all, they would know that Brighton Grassroots did not even exist when the alleged conduct occurred. The criminal complaint filed yesterday by the FBI states that the illicit activity began on September 4, 2017. Brighton Grassroots was not even formed until March of 2018, six months after the alleged conduct started.
Moreover, recent news reports have confirmed that the charges were part of a sting operation by the FBI to target public corruption involving members of the New York State Assembly, including representatives from the Rochester area. The FBI’s apparent goal was to catch an Assemblyman introducing bogus legislation in exchange for cash. To make the offer believable, the FBI wanted the targets of their investigation to believe that the legislation involved the controversial Whole Foods development in Brighton. Evidently, the FBI thought the Whole Foods Project — which provided substantial benefits for the Developer but no real benefit for the community — would be believable bait for a sting involving public corruption. This highlights what has been clear from the beginning: that this oversized project, which would worsen already terrible and unsafe traffic conditions, should not proceed.
Recent press reports support the conclusion that the proposed legislation, and the allegations related to it, had nothing to do with the Whole Foods development or its opponents, but were instead orchestrated by the FBI as part of its criminal investigation.
Despite these facts, the Daniele Family Companies have engaged in mudslinging and recklessly spread innuendo and disinformation about the opponents of the Whole Foods development. We demand that they publicly apologize to Mr. Jacobson, Brighton Grassroots, and the citizens of Brighton, for falsely tying them to these offensive allegations. We also call on community leaders, including Supervisor Moehle and the Town Board, to denounce these defamatory attacks and to demand a return to civility and honest public discourse. The people of New York deserve nothing less.