Breaking News
More () »

Pressure on Roswell Park and AKG to drop board member

A Buffalo Common Council member is advocating for Clover Group CEO Michael Joseph to be removed from the Roswell Park and Buffalo AKG boards.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — One of the biggest real estate developers in Western New York has been accused of racism, and now a Buffalo Common Council member wants the CEO, Michael Joseph, removed immediately from the boards of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Buffalo AKG Art Museum.

This comes after the in-depth reporting from our partners at Investigative Post that we featured on our Town Hall on Tuesday evening.

A former employee of the Clover Group is suing the developer for wrongful termination and has accused senior officers of racism.

The employee claims that Clover executives used the term "Canadians" to refer to Black people and that they would not build senior citizen housing in areas that had too many "Canadians."

Buffalo Common Council member Rasheed Wyatt saw the story, and on Wednesday, he put pressure on Roswell Park and the AKG to drop Joseph from their boards.

"I'm appalled, and as we approach the 5/14 massacre, and we talk about racism, these are some of the vestiges that affect our community," Wyatt said.

2 On Your Side met up with Buffalo Common Council member Rasheed Wyatt in front of the Jill Joseph Tower Senior Apartments in his district. According to the Clover Group's website, they are the company's only senior apartments in Buffalo. 

The rest are in the suburbs.

"I have been at this particular development numerous times working with the management company to address many of the issues as it relates to many who are African American in this building, and they've not gotten addressed, and so now I'm understanding why they haven't gotten addressed," Wyatt said.

Our partners at Investigative Post reported Tuesday that a former Clover Group employee recorded some of the company's executives using a code that referred to Black people as Canadians saying the company didn't want to build apartments where there are a lot of Canadians.

Clover's President and CEO Michael Joseph is not one of the people in the recordings, but the former employee says the people he recorded are enforcing company policy.

"You're the head of it, so you have to take responsibility," Wyatt said.

2 On Your Side reached out to both Roswell and the AKG on Wednesday afternoon for comment and have not heard back.

Clover Group issued a statement to 2 On Your Side on Tuesday. It read in part, "Michael Joseph has dedicated himself to extensive philanthropic activities that benefit others including the African American community."

Wyatt added: "Although I'm not in the position to demand his resignation, but I think to have Dr. Johnson saddled with someone who has a different viewpoint of the world and of the community as she does, they should not be there, and that's the problem that I have. The residents at this development, Jill Joseph, deserves the very best and it seems as though this company took this building over for whatever reason, but it wasn't for the best interests of the residents."

Michael Joseph is the chair of the board at Roswell because he was appointed to the board by a former governor.

2 On Your Side reached out to Gov. Kathy Hochul's office Wednesday afternoon to find out if there are any plans to ask Joseph to step down or remove him from the Board of Directors at Roswell. As of Wednesday evening, we had not heard back yet.

Before You Leave, Check This Out