NYS Senator Antoine Thompson (D)
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- This is the first day on the job for State Senator Mark Grisanti's staff, but they found their Buffalo office empty of important files.
"There weren't many files left," Doug Curella, Grisanti's chief of staff, said. "Actually no files were left on constituents or not-for-profit organizations, so we're really starting from the bottom and working our way up. We really don't have anything to work with right now."
Curella said Grisanti sent a letter to outgoing State Senator Antoine Thompson asking that all relevant documents be secured during the transition. 2 On Your Side obtained a copy of a letter Thompson sent back, which read, "I am more than willing to make this a smooth transition for you and the people of the 60th District."
"(Thompson) said he would keep files secured for us, but that was not the case," Curella said.
2 On Your Side reached out to Mr. Thompson, who said he made himself available in the final weeks of 2010 to ensure a smooth transition. Although he would not acknowledge any files were "destroyed", he pointed out that he left behind his 2010 State of the 60th District manual as well as financial requests. Thompson said, "I think he's in a better position than I was four years ago, and I wish him well."
As for where the documents went, we found many of them filed into several garbage cans in the basement of the Mahoney State Office Building. Some were shredded.
"This is just another hurdle we're going to have to overcome, and the biggest problem is that constituents need representation, and if we don't have files on past issues that they have, it's just going to be difficult for us to really address their problems," Curella said. "And we're going to have to start from scratch, so we apologize to constituents for this."
2 On Your Side asked the Majority Office of the State Senate if there is a protocol for state documents during a transition of power. A spokesperson said someone will get back with us once they have consulted attorneys. This case could be handed over to the state Inspector General or the Attorney General's office for further investigation.