Recently the Buffalo News published an article about the law firm of Hodgson Russ getting $4 million in legal work over several years through the City of Buffalo, more than all other law firms with government contracts combined. Former Buffalo News reporter Jim Heaney added his thoughts on this topic as well.
I also wrote a blog post about this issue and Adam Perry an attorney at Hodgson Russ and the focus of the Buffalo News article did not like it. Mr. Perry contacted me by telephone and stated that my post was “libelous” in that it accused him of improper activities and questioned his competence and abilities as an attorney.
Mr. Perry also stated that I should have disclosed several things that were not mentioned in my post:
1) That I applied for the position of City of Buffalo Human Resources Commissioner and was interviewed by a committee which included Mr. Perry. I was not hired for the Human Resources position.
2) That I listed Mr. Perry as a reference for a job that I applied for and obtained due to my score on a civil service test at Erie1 Boces. I honestly do not recall listing Mr. Perry as a reference for this job, perhaps I did I just don’t recall.
3) I applied for the legal counsel position at the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA), where Mr. Perry serves on the board of commissioners and was not hired.
4) I applied for an attorney position at Hodgson Russ one year ago and was not hired.
Mr. Perry specifically mentioned items number 1 and 2 above and stated that he was part of other positions that I applied for. After we hung up I had to think about what other positions he was referring to. Mr. Perry indicated that perhaps my blog post was retaliatory for not getting hired for some of the above positions. I assured Mr. Perry that my post was not retaliatory and that it did not criticize the abilities of Mr. Perry or Hodgson Russ. If anything I think my post was more critical of the Mayor and the process or lack of a process for awarding legal contracts.
If Adam Perry receives a call for legal work, I don’t expect him to say no or to question whether other firms were solicited. The Mayor and the Corporation Counsel’s office has the responsibility to ensure that equal opportunity is being provided for government contracts by soliciting law firms through Requests for Proposals.
I have worked with Adam Perry and like him as a person. He puts in a lot of hours with his law practice and attends many political and community functions at night. I do not have any personal feud or complaint against Adam Perry or Hodgson Russ. My complaint is that government business should be open and available to all law firms and it clearly is not. There are many other attorneys and law firms in Western New York that are as skilled as Adam Perry and Hodgson Russ, but politics, friendships and campaign contributions provide access that others do not get. Tax dollars are not supposed to be dispensed based on politics, friendships and campaign contributions but they clearly are when one law firm gets more business then all others combined.