Categories
PostNews

Springville man gets 35 years in prison for production of child pornography

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A Springville man who is a registered sex offender was sentenced to 35 years in prison for the production of child pornography, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Friday.

Charles Porterfield, 37, was convicted in 2011 of second-degree engaging in a course of sexual conduct and sentenced to five years in prison and three years of post-release supervision, while also being required to register as a sex offender, according to officials.

Officials said one month following the completion of his post-release supervision, Porterfield paid a 13-year-old girl to engage in an online sexual relationship, using the victim to produce images and videos of child pornography.

Porterfield was convicted on charges of production of child pornography and committing the offense as a registered sex offender.

Latest Local News


Man who threatened to blow up VA sentenced to time served





Man gets 35 years in prison for production of child porn





Who signed off on Buffalo hiring donor accused of crimes?





What to know about Canal Fest of the Tonawandas 2024





Friday Night Smackdown returning to Buffalo in November




Adam Gorski is a Buffalo native who joined the WIVB News 4 team in 2022. You can find more of his work here.

Categories
PostNews

Who signed off on Buffalo hiring a local political donor accused of federal crimes?

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – WIVB News 4 is learning more about how and why the City of Buffalo hired a local political donor who has been charged with federal crimes such as money laundering and wire fraud. It’s a story we first told you about and have been staying on top of for months.

Back in March, WIVB was first to report how the City of Buffalo hired Hormoz Mansouri, an indicted political donor. He and his firm were awarded a six-figure contract to be the consultant on two city park projects. The revelation led to Mansouri’s resignation and Mayor Byron Brown calling the situation “embarrassing.”

WIVB filed a public records request to find out how and why the hire was made.

New documents obtained by WIVB show who signed off on the contract to award Mansouri and his firm the EI Team a $166,000 contract to work on the two park projects. The documents also show who gave Mansouri’s company high scores in an evaluation process, even though he’s facing a 40-count federal indictment.

“Hormoz Mansouri from EI Team, we are the architect and engineer of record for the master plan,” Mansouri said in March during a meeting with residents on the Shoshone Park project.

Three years ago, Mansouri was charged by the feds with wire fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud & bank fraud and money laundering. He’s accused of lying on loan applications, inflating payroll expenses to get more than $3.5 million dollars in COVID-19 relief funds and routinely transferring money back and forth through numerous bank accounts to conceal the alleged scheme. Federal prosecutors say Mansouri brazenly paid more than half a million dollars to a casino using COVID funds. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the case against Mansouri resulted in the seizure of nearly $2 million.

But still, after a selection process, Mansouri and his firm were hired by the city last summer to be the consultant on the redevelopment of Shoshone and Trinidad parks. Once WIVB started asking questions about the hire, Mansouri and his company resigned from the park projects.

WIVB (in March): Would you say that this is embarrassing that the city hired a contractor/consultant who was under federal indictment?

BROWN: There’s no question that it is embarrassing, but again as I mentioned, the selection committee looked at the federal list of companies that are debarred, companies that are not allowed to bid on federal contracts and this company did not appear on that list.”

Instead, during the selection process, the EI Team pitched itself as a company with “an exceptional track record.”

Public documents show Department of Public Works Commissioner Nate Marton signing off on both the ‘Notice to Proceed’ and the contract with Mansouri. Documents on the city’s scoring criteria for consultants, show the city’s principal engineer Steve Buccilli and Deputy Commissioner for Parks and Recreation Andy Rabb giving glowing scores to the EI Team on the Shoshone and Trinidad park projects. Emails News 4 has received, showing discussions between city officials and the EI Team, make no mention of any legal issues Mansouri or his companies are facing.

“We did not have that information in front of us and kind of readily, readily available so we moved forward with the evaluation of the EI Team based on what we had in front of us,” Marton said.

Shoshone Park is in the University District, which city council member Rasheed Wyatt represents.

“People who heard the story they were just kind of shocked and I was shocked,” Wyatt said.

Since Mansouri’s resignation, the city has been in search of two new consultants. Even with no lead consultant, Wyatt said the redevelopment of Shoshone Park remains on track.

“A lot of the heavy lifting was done already,” Wyatt said. “That was the good news, there are still some other pieces that need to be worked on, but for the most part it’s still moving forward.”

The City of Buffalo has now hired two new companies to replace the EI Team on the park projects, nearly four months since their resignation. GPI will work on the Trinidad Park project, while Wendel Engineering will work on the project for Shoshone Park.

“We know that it’s not gone as smoothly as we had liked,” Wyatt said. “So again, I hope that we’re not going to have any more issues going forward.”

The city’s Department of Public Works said construction on both park projects is expected next year.

In terms of reforms moving forward, the city’s Department of Public Works said it plans on adding a questionnaire for consultants in the city’s bidding process. Federal prosecutors said Mansouri faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. He’s scheduled to go on trial this fall.

According to campaign finance records, Mansouri and LLCs named in the federal indictment have given Brown about $10,000 over the years. But Brown said in March this has nothing to do with the contract Mansouri received.

Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.

Categories
PostNews

What to know about Canal Fest of the Tonawandas 2024

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Canal Fest of the Tonawandas returns this Sunday and will continue for a week until July 21. Here’s your guide on all the events, activities, music and more taking place at the festival:

Where is Canal Fest?

The festival takes place on and around Main and Webster Streets in the City of Tonawanda and North Tonawanda, respectively. Click here to see the full map.

Events and Music

Sunday, July 14

Chalk It Up Street Art Contest

1:30-6 p.m., Main Street in Tonawanda, awards at 6:30 p.m.

Live Music: Louis Christopher Acoustic, 1-3 p.m. in the Canal Street Pavilion

Live Music: Tiny Music, 4-7 p.m. on the Sweeney Street Main Stage

Live Music: Blood Money, 8-11 p.m. on the Sweeney Street Main Stage

Monday, July 15

Live Music: Under Arrest Duo, 4-7 p.m. on the Sweeney Street Main Stage

Live Music: Ramblin’ Lou Family Band, 6-8 p.m. in the Canal Street Pavilion

Live Music: 90 West, 8-11 p.m. on the Sweeney Street Main Stage

Tuesday, July 16

The Charles Fleishman Canal Fest Parade

Starts at 6:30 p.m. at Minerva and Grove Streets in Tonawanda and ends at Webster and Goundry Streets in NT.

Live Music: Diamondback, 4-7 p.m. on the Sweeney Street Main Stage

Live Music: Firefighters Pipe & Drum, after the parade in the Canal Street Pavilion

Live Music: 5D Band, 8-11 p.m. on the Sweeney Street Main Street

Wednesday, July 17

Canal Fest Car Cruise

Staging begins at 3 p.m. at Gratwick Park in NT before cruise to Canal Fest Campus at 5:30 p.m. All participants must go to staging first.

Cruise night runs from 6-10 p.m. around Canal Fest

Live Music: Blvd Music Student Recital, noon-3 p.m. on the Sweeney Street Main Stage

Live Music: Harmony, 6-8 p.m. in the Canal Street Pavilion

Live Music: Phocus, 4-7 p.m. on the Sweeney Street Main Stage

Live Music: Stomp Boxes, 8-11 p.m. on the Sweeney Street Main Stage

Thursday, July 18

The Diaper Derby

Baby race where contestants must crawl and cannot walk. Begins at 6 p.m. on Tremont Street in NT or at Salem Church in Tonawanda in the event of rain. Click here for registration info.

Live Music: Rockabilly Steve and BR3, 4-7 p.m. on the Sweeney Street Main Stage

Live Music: Blood Money Duo, 6-8 p.m. in the Canal Street Pavilion

Live Music: Mo Porter, 8-11 p.m. on the Sweeney Street Main Stage

Friday, July 19

Talent Show of the Tonawandas

Noon on the Sweeney Street Main Stage

Canal Fest Bike Cruise

Gates open at 5:30 p.m. at Tremont and Main Streets. Bike cruise runs from 5:30-10 p.m. on Webster Street, with awards at 8:30 p.m.

Live Music: Jim Wynne Band, 4-7 p.m. on the Sweeney Street Main Stage

Live Music: TBA, 6-8 p.m. in the Canal Street Pavilion

Live Music: Maria Aurigema, 7-10 p.m. on the Webster Street Stage for Bike Cruise Night

Live Music: West of the Mark, 8-11 p.m. on the Sweeney Street Main Stage

Saturday, July 20

SIKA Challenge Cup

Teams of two have four hours to build boats on the Canal Fest campus with materials supplied by organizers. Boats are held together using only the SIKA product. Race begins at 6 p.m. in the Erie Barge Canal.

Canal Fest Disc Golf Doubles Tournament

9 a.m. check-in, tournament begins at 10 a.m. at Ellicott Creek Park in Tonawanda. Awards are given on Main Stage following the tournament.

Arts & Crafts Show – Day One

10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Main and Broad Streets in Tonawanda to Webster and Goundry Streets in NT.

Live Music: Terry Savastano Acoustic, 1-3 p.m. in the Canal Street Pavilion

Live Music: Urban Renewal, 3-6 p.m. on the Sweeney Street Main Stage

Live Music: Seventh Sign, 8-11 p.m. on the Sweeney Street Main Stage

Sunday, July 21

Arts & Crafts Show – Day Two

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Main and Broad Streets in Tonawanda to Webster and Goundry Streets in NT.

Live Music: Cami and the Fringe, 1-4 p.m. on the Sweeney Street Main Stage

Live Music: Matt’s Music Vocal Performance Team, 2-4 p.m. in the Canal Street Pavilion

Live Music: Denzel Ward & Cool Platinum, 7-9:30 p.m. on the Sweeney Street Main Stage

What else is there to do?

While events and concerts take place throughout each day, the festival’s midway and games in both NT and Tonawanda are open from 4:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. One-price bracelets for the rides cost $30 Tuesday through Friday and $35 on the weekend. Single-ride tickets are also available.

Food booths are open 5-11 p.m. on weekdays and noon-11 p.m. on weekends.

The festival’s beer tent, located on Sweeney Street in NT, is open from noon to 11 p.m. on the first six days of the event and noon to 5 p.m. on the final Sunday.

Face-painting and wood-turning demonstrations will also be featured daily throughout the festival.

You can see more information about Canal Fest on its website here.

Latest Local News


What to know about Canal Fest of the Tonawandas 2024





Friday Night Smackdown returning to Buffalo in November





Getaway driver gets 10 years for role in 2021 shooting





Expert in police use of force discusses Kensington fatal





Watch: Special report on the mental health crisis




Adam Gorski is a Buffalo native who joined the WIVB News 4 team in 2022. You can find more of his work here.

Categories
PostNews

Friday Night Smackdown returning to Buffalo in November

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Friday Night Smackdown is returning to Buffalo on Nov. 8, KeyBank Center announced Friday.

Wrestlers Randy Orton, LA Knight, Bianca Belair, Jade Cargill, Bayley and current Undisputed WWE Champion Cody Rhodes are scheduled to appear at the event. Doors to Smackdown are at 6:15 p.m., with the event starting at 7:45 p.m.

ESW event to celebrate life of wrestler Anthony Gaines

Tickets to Smackdown go on sale on July 26, starting at $30.

Categories
PostNews

Getaway driver sentenced to 10 years in connection with 2021 shooting

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A Buffalo man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role as a getaway driver in a shooting carried out by his twin brother, the Erie County District Attorney’s Office on Friday announced.

Officials said 52-year-old brothers Luis Martinez and Jose Martinez were escorted out of a Clinton Street tavern in Buffalo on July 3, 2021 and left together in a pickup truck.

About 15 minutes later, the brothers returned to the tavern in the pickup truck driven by Luis, and Jose fired multiple shots at several patrons standing outside the building, according to officials. After clearing the gun when it jammed, Jose shot a woman who was lying on the ground.

The victim was taken by ambulance to ECMC where she was treated for three gunshot wounds to her lower body.

Luis in May was found guilty by a jury of second-degree attempted murder, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and second-degree assault. In addition to 10 years in prison, he was also sentenced to five years of post-release supervision.

Jose received the same sentence as his brother after pleading guilty to a second-degree attempted murder charge in 2022.

Latest Local News


Getaway driver gets 10 years for role in 2021 shooting





Expert in police use of force discusses Kensington fatal





Watch: Mental Health 4 You Special





Kennedy announces $1.1 billion for railroad safety





Fluoride equipment added to Buffalo water after 9 years




Adam Gorski is a Buffalo native who joined the WIVB News 4 team in 2022. You can find more of his work here.

Categories
PostNews

Expert in police use of force describes how investigation will likely play out in officer-involved fatal shooting

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A retired police officer and expert of police use of force reacts to bodycam video, describing how he thinks the investigation will play out in a fatal Wednesday shooting on Kensington Ave.

Jerry Rodriguez is a retired police captain who also studies police tactics and use of force. He worries for the child in the incident, defends the officer who fired the shots, and discusses a gun that was later found in the vehicle 25-year-old Daevon Roberts was driving.

The bodycam footage released on Thursday shows the intense circumstances police officers were under. Police were conducting a traffic stop on Kensington Avenue Wednesday morning. Officer Ronald Ammerman initially pulled Roberts over for speeding and tinted windows.

After discovering that the license Roberts presented to police was invalid, officers opened the door to the vehicle. Then, Roberts drove off with Officer Ammerman hanging on to the car. After traveling a few blocks at speeds close to 60 mph it appears Roberts kicked at Ammerman, who fired several rounds and hit Roberts, as both fell out of the car.

“You saw in the video it was 0 to 60 at a very rapid succession,” said Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia. “I think the officer did what he had to do to survive.”

A 6-year-old boy was also in the passenger seat of the car, without wearing a seatbelt, as the situation unfolded. He ended up not sustaining any injuries.

Rodriguez says that the fact a 6-year-old was in the car might be a big factor when it comes to the investigation.

“I am concerned that the child was in close proximity to those rounds being fired,” said Rodriguez. “I notice that when he started firing at the suspect, the driver of the vehicle jumps out. But what happens? The vehicle continues to roll with no driver and the 6-year-old driver in the seat.”

Rodriguez also tells News 4 it is administrative policy nationwide to not shoot at or from a moving vehicle except under significant circumstances. He says he believes this was one of those situations because of how fast it escalated.

“Just about any officer in that same position would arguably have that same fear if they were sitting there holding on to a 60-mph fleeing vehicle and that’s why I believe the officer fired,” said Rodriguez.

According to the Buffalo Police Department, a loaded pistol was recovered under the driver’s seat of the car Roberts was driving. Rodriguez says that the loaded gun being in the car at the time of the incident will not be considered in the Attorney Generals investigation as it is unclear if it belonged to Roberts or not.

“The gun in the vehicle, unless the officer knew about it before he pulled the trigger, has no bearing on the rationale for shooting,” said Rodriguez. “What does play a very obvious role in this is that the officer clearly was in fear for his life in this situation.”

Rodriguez says the investigation will be extremely thorough to figure out what state of mind the driver was in that might have led him to drive off. They will also be taking a deep look into the actions of both officers to determine if their actions were justified or not.

Latest Local News


Expert in police use of force discusses Kensington fatal





Watch: Mental Health 4 You Special





Kennedy announces $1.1 billion for railroad safety





Fluoride equipment added to Buffalo water after 9 years





18 Love Canal class-action lawsuits dismissed




Trina Catterson joined the News 4 team in 2024. She previously worked at WETM-TV in Elmira, a sister station of WIVB. See more of her work here.

Categories
PostNews

Watch: Mental Health 4 You Special

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — On Thursday, July 11, WIVB News 4 released a 30 minute special on the importance of mental health in the region.

News 4’s Jordan Norkus and Kelsey Anderson spoke with Councilwoman Zeneta Everhart, UB Psychologist Andrea Greenwood and concerned grandparents Tammy and Dennis Drayton.

You can view the whole special in the video player above.

Categories
PostNews

Congressman Tim Kennedy announces $1.1 billion available for railroad crossing safety

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Congressman Tim Kennedy announced Thursday that $1.1 billion will be available as a part of the Railroad Crossing Elimination Program to improve railroad safety.

The RCE Program funds highway and pathway crossing improvement projects to strengthen safety and mobility. Eligible projects for the grant include grade separation, track relocation, and improvement or installation of protective devices, signals or signs.

A 29-year-old died in January of this year after her vehicle was hit by a train in North Tonawanda.

The funding comes almost two months after three people, 69-year-old David McMinn, 66-year-old Olive Geldart and 6-year-old Ra’Mari Geldart, were killed in another train accident in North Tonawanda.

“We all saw the tragic consequences of at-grade crossing collisions,Congressman Kennedy said in a statement. “I urge eligible applicants to take advantage of this program before funding is exhausted. From the placement of tracks due to our region’s unique geography to aging infrastructure, railroad intersections can be dangerous.”

Eligible applicants for the $1.1 billion include states, municipalities, Tribal governments, units of local government, public port authorities, and metropolitan planning organizations. Those interested in applying can click here.

Latest Local News


Kennedy announces $1.1 billion for railroad safety





Fluoride equipment added to Buffalo water after 9 years





18 Love Canal class-action lawsuits dismissed





Man admits to attempted murder in connection with arson





BPD releases footage of fatal shooting on Kensington




Kayleigh Hunter-Gasperini joined the News 4 team in 2024 as a Digital Video Producer. She is a graduate of Chatham University.

Categories
PostNews

Fluoride equipment added to Buffalo water after 9 years

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Buffalo Water is on schedule to complete new system improvements and restore fluoride by the end of the summer after 9 years.

On Thursday, the fluoridation process began as necessary equipment was installed near the filtration plant at the Colonel Ward Pumping Station. A professional diver arrived at the plant early this morning to install a flow meter that will help determine the proper amount of fluoride to add the water.

The topic of fluoride has caused conflict in the city in the past. In 2015, fluoride was taken out of the water without citizen knowledge. Residents did not find out until it was reported on in 2023.

Chair of the Buffalo Water Board OJ McFoy had said that the mineral was removed for an upgrade to the distribution system and blamed the pandemic for the 9-year wait. Following a class action lawsuit against the city’s Water Board, a city spokesperson said the fluoride would be back later that year, 2023.

Buffalo Water obtained state approval to proceed with new system upgrades earlier this year.

System programming and initial testing are expected to be completed this month. Additional work is expected to continue into August.

Latest Local News


Fluoride equipment added to Buffalo water after 9 years





18 Love Canal class-action lawsuits dismissed





Man admits to attempted murder in connection with arson





BPD releases footage of fatal shooting on Kensington





Former WWE announcer to partake in ESW rumble match




Kayleigh Hunter-Gasperini joined the News 4 team in 2024 as a Digital Video Producer. She is a graduate of Chatham University.

Categories
PostNews

18 Love Canal class-action lawsuits dismissed

(WIVB) – A judge recently dismissed 18 class-action lawsuits that alleged toxic chemicals from Love Canal had migrated into their neighborhoods, damaging property and made some people sick.

The lawsuit included dozens of residents who alleged a 2011 sewer excavation project near the landfill had released the toxic chemicals.

They sued 10 entities, including OxyChem, the City of Niagara Falls and its Water Board, and Glenn Springs Holdings, which monitors and manages the landfill.

The history of Love Canal: Reliving the nightmare (2018)

Supreme Court Justice Frank Sedita dismissed each case on the grounds that the plaintiffs’ claims were speculative.

Love Canal is among the worst environmental disasters in the country. It spurred the federal superfund program that aims to clean up toxic sites.

“We are pleased with the ruling, which we believe properly applied the law,” said Eric Moses, a spokesman for one of the defendants, OxyChem. “The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and US EPA have all determined through decades of extensive monitoring and testing that the landfill remedies, including at Love Canal, have been operating as designed and are protective of human health and the environment.”

The plaintiffs did file a notice of appeal.

Generated by Feedzy