Former Top Aide to Buffalo Mayor Pleads Guilty to Theft

9:40 PM, Nov 30, 2011   |    comments
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Timothy Wanamaker

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A former top aide to Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown has pleaded guilty to theft from programs receiving federal funds.

WEB EXTRA: Read the Plea Agreement in the Wanamaker Case

Timothy Wanamaker, who was Executive Director of the City of Buffalo's Office of Strategic Planning from 2004 until 2008, admitted that while serving as Buffalo Economic Renaissance Corporation (BERC) President, he improperly used a credit card provided to him by BERC for official business for a wide range of non-work related expenses.  Specifically, Wanamaker admitted using the credit card to pay for such personal expenses as lodging, car rentals, entertainment, and other costs accrued by his family and guests.  The costs arose during trips to such locations as San Francisco, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., and Miami.  Wannamaker and the Government estimated that the misappropriated money amounted to approximately $30,000.

BERC - a recently disbanded City agency - at the time was responsible for promoting economic development with funds obtained from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Wanamaker left Buffalo to become city manager in Inglewood, California in 2008, and left that job in 2010.  He is scheduled to be sentenced in March.  He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

2 On Your Side contacted Mayor Brown's office to get a response to the guilty plea.  The mayor's spokesperson emailed this statement:

The city moved to dissolve BERC after irregularities were discovered. Mr. Wanamaker is a former employee who served under two administrations and at this time, the city has no further comment.  Michael J. DeGeorge, Spokesperson


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